“Best Ice Cream in the South Bay”
Paradise in Hermosa Beach may be a little hidden away (two block down from the main pier) but it is so worth it. They make their ice cream fresh everyday. There are always new and interesting flavors!
They offer the traditional scoop in a cup or a cone along with amazing shakes and sundae! Go! It’s so good.
When you first become an expat and you have finally moved into your new place you might feel a bit isolated and a very long way from home to adjust. There are a few things we have picked up over time to help you adjust a little bit faster. Make your home feel a bit more like home by adding a few little personal touches.
Some places won’t let you put art up but there are a lot of alternatives that you can try out to make it yours.
They are super cheap and they are everywhere. If you are in London you can get basic ones from The Reject Shop or £2.00 store. If you are in the US try Big Lots, Target or any of those cheaper stores. If you want to step it up a bit, Ikea and any major design store will have some great options. We also have a few that you can order on Amazon below.
Getting photos printed is so cheap and easy. Suddenly your bare, alien room or apartment feels a lot more like home.
Add a little something from home. I love Australian native flowers, there is just something about their smell or the rustic kind of look. Clearly it wasn’t easy to get them in London but I did find a few pine cones which I arranged for a decoration over Christmas and they ended up staying in the house. The reminded me of hiking at home and I love that.
Yes, make, female, monkey. Flowers are easy and they work.
Get yourself a vase. Every town has their own style and season for flowers. If your house is bare they will bring so much life inside. The best part about seasonal flowers is you can change them, colour, style to suit whatever you end up buying for the house. You will be amazed at how much life they bring.
That’s a start to get you going on your home. The best part about these ideas is that they are completely unobtrusive so no matter what kind of accommodation you are in you can add a few bits and pieces of your own to instantly make the place yours.
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So you are moving… international freight can be very confusing and intimidating. Take a deep breath… we will get through this together.
Moving to the UK is an exciting experience but all of a sudden you realise you have too much stuff to take? Your airline says you can only take a certain weight and that’s not going to work for you. Come on, you have that amount of shoes alone!
Our advice, think about it first, do you really need to take it with you? It is very expensive. Most of the time when you price it out it is more affordable to purchase your goods new or 2nd hand (more on that later).
We do know that some things can not be replaced and there are some things you just can’t live without.
If it is just one or two boxes of books and things you love but know if something terrible happens the world won’t collapse, consider sending with a freight company. If you need it fast think more like UPS and FedEx but remember it’s going to be pricey. Air freight is always more costly than shipping however, it is also much faster so it really depends on what your budget is like.
If you are over just by a suitcase or two it is generally cheaper to add another few suitcases onto your flight.
International Freight companies
If you do need freight sent from your home to the UK we suggest using a freight company. The reason for this is that they know exactly which paperwork is needed to make sure that your stuff does not get stuck or lost.
Here are a few suggestions. Each of them will provide you with a free quote.
These guys have a top rating on Yelp for international freight companies so you know you have your fellow travellers reviews.
View their consumer affairs report
What to look for when you are selecting a freight company
Make sure that they have the correct accreditation
Make sure that the moving company is part of the following organisations. This basically means that they carry responsibility for getting your stuff to you.
IAM, OMNI, LACMA, FEDEMAC or FIDI
Before you ship there are a few things you should consider
How long shipment will take – sea freight can take several weeks, even months.
Insurance costs and documentation – make sure the company that you ship with has all of the correct information to deal with customs so that your belongings do not get held up.
Customs – does the company you are hiring deal with Australian Cutoms laws and prepare all carne’s and shipping documents
Insurance – check in on how much the insurance is to protect your belongings during shipping as this can all add up.
Read current reviews – this industry changes quickly so be sure to check for recent reviews and company recommendations
It is important to get quotes. It is difficult for us to give numbers because we don’t know exactly where you are sending your stuff from and how much so our recommendation is to get three quotes and pick the bestsellers.
Make sure that the cost quoted includes delivery to your new property. Some companies will quote you to the UK dock and you are expected to transport your goods from there, don’t get caught in that trap, it will become very expensive very quickly.
What you need before you ship
Pick up address
All information for international shipment
A list of all you are sending
Make sure that all of your electrical goods are compatible with your new home. Take a look at our
Make an extensive list of what you are sending. We also recommend taking photos in case your belongings are lost or damaged. This will help in your international freight insurance case if one happens.
We will always recommend insurance when discussing international freight in these cases as a precaution. There are a lot of parties involved in the process and opportunities for problems so make sure that you are covered.
Be aware that you can bring in and what you can’t. Be aware that this can change so make sure you are keeping up to date with the latest information.
This is the list given by FedEx.
Sell it before you leave
If it is furniture that you are thinking of moving it is going to be incredibly expensive. Consider selling your things at home and using the money to buy when you arrive. Consider selling on Craigslist.
Here are a few good places to start if you need something quickly.
London works on a lot of 2nd hand furniture. There are people moving in and out constantly so there are always options on Gumtree. There are also a lot of 2nd hand stores around, google your area for 2nd hand shops when you arrive. I guarantee you will find some!
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Answer: Small, medium or large long black.
I have a lot of international friends and the number one comment I get is where do I get a ‘normal coffee’ in Australia.
American coffee, the normal cup of jo isn’t readily available in Oz because people tend to drink espresso-based coffee drinks.
The closest and most available answer is – order a ‘long black’. A long black will come served as a shot of espresso paired with hot water in a mug or large cup.
Starbucks do the the ‘American coffee’ cup of jo but the stores are not hugely popular in Oz and so are mainly only in the tourist areas.
The Australian coffee culture is very different to the US culture in that most of our morning coffee’s are based on espresso so it is difficult to find
Half and half does not exist in Australia. Sorry for those half and half lovers. Instead put in whole milk or as the Aussies say “full cream” milk. You can also order 2% or light and no fat which is skim.
Half and half – the closest you are going to get to this is by going to a grocery story (supermarket)
Australian Coffee Options
If you are curious about what Aussies like there is a huge coffee movement in Australia. Most people drink espresso of some form. If you want to embrace the culture jump on board!
When you go into a coffee shop, you will be asked if you would like small or large and sometimes extra large (the tall, grande etc isn’t really a thing in Oz). Small is the size of a ‘short’ cup at Starbucks and large is the size of the ‘tall’ cup at Starbucks.
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Becoming an expat can sometimes be tough, particularly if you follow your partner across the world and leave the rest of your life at home.
As an expat you can often be stuck looking for work, missing your friends or struggling with home sickness. It is not easy and it feels like you are stuck. Here’s a few things to help you get through those annoying cultural differences and early months.
It really doesn’t matter what it is but do it regularly. If you like the gym, sign up for the gym. If you are a runner, find a safe running path and do it. If you like classes, find them. If you are not earning and are worried about spending money build this into your budget. You and your partner will both benefit from it.
Exercise is not only good for you but it gives you a rhythm and allows you to feel a sense of achievement. It also helps you to fight depression which can catch up to you easily if you suffer from home sickness. You can often make friends through the gym or at least see a few constant friendly faces.
2. Take up a new hobby
If you like art galleries or museums take a look at a few of these around town. If you like painting but have never really had time to do it find a class near you. A hobby is a great way to take your mind of things and before you know it you will be part of a new community! If you have moved to a country where you do not speak the native language go to language lessons, there you will meet a lot of other people having a similar experience.
There are volunteer organisations in every major city who need your help. As an expat, they are the perfect place to spend a little time. Not only will you be helping people less fortunate than you are but you will meet some incredible people along the way who are willing to give a little of their time to help others. The
have avenues to volunteer all over the world and are always a great place to start.
4. Organise a social event through work
Organise something social through work. It doesn’t have to be big, maybe a few drinks after work, dinner or a lunch to get to know people. Remember that a lot of your colleagues have their own pattern and some of them will be looking for something new to try, often you can make friends from friends through connections at work.
5. Find other expats
There are always expats looking for people to hang out with so keep an eye out online for people in your area. Do make sure that you check in with a friend or call your friend from home if you are meeting strangers – safety first.
Finally, don’t get down on yourself. Making friends and setting in takes time and while it can be frustrating, know that not many people get these opportunities and try to make the most of it or you will look back on your time as an expat and wish that you did.
If you like this and want more take a look at our article on!
Photo credits: Photo Curtis Macnewton
You have moved to the USA and now you need to access your money. Here’s how to apply for a bank account when you get to the US.
Before you leave home, double check if you bank has an association with an American bank. Some banks with international offices allow you to apply to open an account before you leave if you are with a bank that has a presence in America. There are a few banks that have international relationships with American banks such as , , and
If you have not arrived an online application will probably be denied so do your re before you go but apply by going into a branch. This is mainly because America relies heavily on credit history and as an expat you have to begin.
Unfortunately, opening a bank account in the U.S. is quite difficult but with a little patience and the right paperwork we can help you get get moving.
Do some re about the area you are going to as bank regulations change state to state but as a general rule you will need the following to apply.
What you will need to apply for a bank account (for most banks)
Social Security number for those who haven’t got one see our video on how to apply for a SSN see the article below (video coming).
An addressand take along your lease agreement if you have one
Any additional immigration documents that you think will assist your case such as bank documents from your banks at home
Employment details such as letters of employment and salary
A little bit of cash
If you are a student bring along your enrolment forms
Note that most banks ask you to fill out an application form but depending on where you go, they might walk you through it.
Let’s talk a little bit about credit history. A large amount of the US economy still works with checks, ( most rent is paid via check) and credit however, no matter how good your credit score is at home it will not help you at all in the states, you will need to start from scratch.
After you open a bank account here in the US, ask the bank manager how long you need to wait to apply for a credit card. Apply for a credit card as quickly as you can. This is generally about a month from when you open you account.
When you do get your credit card use it regularly and be sure to pay all bills on time as you do not want to damage your credit record.
Let’s take a look at a few of the larger banks so you can get your head around the current options. Note these change constantly so do consult with an agent at the bank.
Which bank is best for me?
This is the biggest bank in the US. They are useful because they have a range of ATM’s and store fronts across the country.
They have a free student account that’s available for five years you have to be between 17 and 24 to qualify so it’s great for international students.
Their business account is $10 per month but is waived if you have more than $1,500 in the bank.
Basic account – $12 per month – the fee is waived if you deposit at least $250.00 per month.
Students – Free if you are under 23. There is no student account with the Bank of America this is the standard ‘Basic Account ‘
Students – again they do not have a specific student account
They do have some nice perks like having officers throughout the world along with coupons for things like event and movie tickets.
Basic / Bank account – $10.00 per month – waived to $5.00 if you are aged $17 to 24.
Perks: visa debit card and free online payments
If you are not someone to go for the big guys, the Bank of Internet USA
The USA has ATM’s drive up ATM’s and branches where you can draw out cash. They also have the ability to give cash out during a transation if you use your card using the ‘cash back’ feature at larger stores such as major grocery stores.
Note, most banks will charge a fee if you do not use your bank’s ATM.
ATM and human bank teller fees
Withdrawing money from an ATM is free in the U.S. if you use one of your bank’s ATMs.
However, many banks will charge a fee if you withdraw money from another bank’s ATM. Other banks only offer a limited number of free withdrawals per month.
How do I transfer my money from home?
You can use your bank to transfer funds however, we love Transferwise. They are competitive because they are an online company that deals with exchanging money rather than sending it. For example, if someone in Australia is going to the UK and someone in the UK is heading to Australia, rather than do the exchange they just swap. The money is transferred into a transferwise banks account and then transferred to the new party. This means that it can save you a lot in transfer fees.
For more information, see our article here about using .
Feature photo by on
There are a range of opportunities for expats in Australia and while some of the industries are small there are also a lot of interesting travel, life work balance and experiences to be had in Australia.
One thing to keep in mind before you start is to make sure that you have the correct
for your job. We do have a visa section that will assist with many questions and several great links for the best websites and places to apply.
Australian visa types
There are two popular visa’s available:
Temporary work – also known as the work skilled visa (subclass 457)
Skilled independent visa (subclass 189)
There is also the popular working holiday visa (subclass 417)
For more visa information and great websites take a look at the Australian
on Angry Expat website.
Top 10 websites for your job Australia
Use the hyperlinks below to link to the recommended websites for your job Australia or make sure when you type in the that you use the .com.au add on or it will take you to the US site.
– this is the government website
– for freelance / odd jobs
There are sections in the local newspapers such as:
The Sydney Morning Herald
The Financial Review
Put a call out on Facebook
If you are part of a particular industry, join groups from that industry in your city, for example ‘Journalists in Sydney’. These are great tools to get the locals ‘ear to the ground’ information about your industry. A lot of people now post jobs on facebook before they place them on job websites because it is free and they are generally groups where people will recommend others so it feels more intimate.
When you do get a job in Australia, to get paid you will need a tax file number. Take a look at our
Australia works like most other countries but generally this is the way that it goes.
Apply for the job – in most circumstances this can be done online by sending through your CV or resume and a cover letter. Unfortunately if you are applying to a large company they do not always contact you when you are not successful in the first round.
Wait for interview to be scheduled
CV – Take a hard copy or two to the interview of your
Dress code – depending on your industry, more dressed up is always the priority
Be prepared for a series of questions ranging from your previous work to something more obscure to test the way you think and work with a team
If you have any reference letters or recommendations always use these – you can never be too underprepared
Facebook have a great group called Working Holiday Australia with thousands of friends https://www.facebook.com/AustralianWorkingHoliday/
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Moving to the USA, the land of opportunity will be an incredible adventure, however, it’s not always easy to get your head around how to set up everyday needs. We have covered the process in a step by step checklist to ease the process for you.
Each point has a full blog for further detail so hit the link for more detail on each point. Let’s get you started.
Before you move
– to live and work in the USA you will need a valid working visa – take a look at our visa section here for more information on which visa would be best for you.
Insurance – make sure you have coverage
When you arrive
– there are many places that offer phone cards in the US. If you know you are going to be here for a while but you cannot be granted with US credit (because you haven’t built a credit score yet) go to a company such as AT&T which offer the service to carry over a prepaid number to an account later on.
and accommodation– this does not need to be your home address, it can be a hotel or a temporary place you are staying. You will need it for your entry card when you arrive in the U.S.
– you will need one of these to get paid by your employer in the USA
(you will need utility bills as proof of address for a lot of things so the sooner the better)
After the first six months
When you have settled in there will be a few extra things that you need to take into consideration.
Making friends in a new city
Take a look at transferring money with .
Opening a bank account as an expat is relatively straight forward. If you are currently with a bank that has branches in Australia such as HSBC or Westpac contact your bank about setting up in Australia.
Bank accounts are necessary in Australia if you intend to work as employers tend to pay as a direct transfer to an Australian bank.
Step 1 – Decide on a bank
Step 2 – Make sure that you apply within six weeks of arriving or you will need to present more forms
When you have decided on your bank you can begin the application process at a branch, over the phone or online. From there, you will need to provide identification depending on which account you intend to open.
Finding a branch
Most major malls have branches or local shops but just log onto your preferred bank and for your closest branch using your post code.
Most country towns have at least two options so if you know that you are moving to a country town it pays to double check as banks charge a fee for using an ATM from a different bank.
Opening an account
Can I open an account on line before I arrive?
Good news, you can start the application process for most major banks in Australia online (there are four major banks that allow you to do it – Commonwealth, ANZ, NAB and Westpack). You can apply within twelve months of you arriving.
All you need to do when you arrive is provide the 100 points of ID and you are on your way (explained below).
Savings or checking account
In some places your normal and main account is called your ‘current’ account but in Oz it is called a savings account.
Example ID check
You need a certain amount of ‘points’ of ID as they call it. Most banks ask for 100 ‘points’ of ID.
Birth certificate, passport or citizen certificate – 70 points
Driver’s licence, shooters’ licence, public service ID card – 40 points
A card with your name on it such as a credit card, debit card, library card or a store card with your name on it – 25 points
Utility bill – 25 points
Which Bank is best for me?
As we mentioned if you are moving to a rural area check which banks are available in your town. Here is an overview of a few of the banks and what they offer in Australia so you can get your head around which options are best for you.
NAB (National Australian Bank)
Note that there are no accounts designed for students.
Good for business bank accounts
ATM’s: Over 4,000
Smart Access account which is best for expats.
There are several ways to transfer but we highly recommend . See our article on. Transferwise is fantastic service as there are no overhead bank fees involved so it’s generally much cheaper. Most major Australian banks are working directly with Transferwise.
Using your card
Australia is tech savvy when it comes to banks. Cards working on a chip or contactless system. Most people use the ‘tap and go feature’ on their cards to make simple food and quick everyday purchases. In Australia it’s called ‘contactless’.
If you are using your card in store to make a payment it is called EFTPOS in Australia. It will need a pin or signature at the time of purchase. Most cards issued by Australian banks such as visa debit can be used to make online purchases but do not have the credit feature.
Visa payWave and MasterCard® PayPass™ are almost standard now in Australia and can be made to make payments for things under $100.00 at a time. There is no signature, swipe or pin required, you simply hover your card over the machine and go.
Note that it is fairly rare to sign these days even credit cards are using pins to be aware if you do have to sign for things with your card you may want to carry a pen to avoid a hold up.
You can generally make cash withdrawals using EFTPOS when you make a purchase at the store.
A lot of stores allow customers to use Apple Pay these days. Install a card on your phone in the ‘wallet’ app and off you go. I love this feature as it sends you updates every time your purchase and you don’t have to carry a wallet.
There are thousands of ATM’s available around Australia. Most banks have an ATM attached and almost every pub in the country has a small independent ATM in there (for when you get stuck on Saturday night).
Note that withdrawals and transactions from your bank ATM are generally free however, withdrawals and transactions from other banks incur a fee of around $1.00 to $3.00.
Cheques are hardly used in Australia anymore. Instead we use online transfer systems such as BPay, internet banking or PayPal to pay things like rent or larger sums of money.
Managing your accounts
Most banks have apps that can be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet to keep an eye on your bank account. This is a really nice feature to have particularly for those little things like transferring money to friends after a dinner. They will email you a receipt on the spot so you can send it to your friend.
The online services are fantastic and very fast. I love the friendly interface of Commonwealth and ANZ . They have always been the most tech savvy but the others are not far behind.
Which Bank is best
This is a question of choice and what suits yours needs best. The biggest are , , ,
but there are also most international banks such as
and . All offer slightly differing accounts but they all charge approximately the same fees and offer the same service provided you use their ATM machines and branches. One bank to consider, and the largest bank is the Commonwealth bank. They have the largest network of branches and ATM machines around Australia because if you are travelling around you get charged to use another banks ATM so it might make sense to use a bank which has ATM machines in all the places you are travelling to, plus the Commonwealth allow you to use Bankwest machines free as well. If you are sticking to the main cities then all the banks have ATM but you may struggle to find your own banks as you travel or in rural areas.
Moving Down Under to Australia can sometimes feel like you have moved to the moon. Don’t worry, you are not that far away. Here’s some help with setting up.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
WITHIN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS
Once you have yourself set up there are some things you might want to consider in the following six months like how to sign up for a gym or how to make friends in a new city. If you are not a native English speaker, you might want to brush up on your language skills with some English classes.
Here are some more blogs you might be interested in.
– learn a language fast if English isn’t your native language
Credit: Photo – Vita Vilcina – https://unsplash.com/@vivivi
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