Girl goes to Oz on a Working Holiday Visa – temps and meets a cute guy at work, fast-forward 7 years and she’s still here! We catch up with expat, Rosanna Malowney, 29, originally from West Yorkshire, to find out more about the journey she’s taken to be able to call Melbourne home.
Why did you decide to move to Australia?
Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to live in Australia. My father’s sister lives in Perth and I was lucky enough to visit a few times as a child and fell in love. I finally decided to fly over on a working holiday visa.
When did you make the move and how long did it take you to get set-up with a home and job?
This is my second time ‘moving’ over, the first time as a backpacker in 2010 – it took me about 10 days of looking to get temporary work and about three days to find a house share. The second time I moved back with my Australian husband in 2015, I think it took a little bit longer, maybe 4-5 weeks to find a job. Luckily enough we had family to stay with, but as soon as our first pay packets were in, we found a place in about three weeks.
How did you meet and get together with your husband?
I met Evan back in 2010. I initially moved to Perth as I had family over there and thought it may have been easier to move somewhere where I had security. I lasted about a month, before being contacted by a friend of mine from university who was in Melbourne. I had been very lucky to see a lot of Australia but never Melbourne, so I thought sod it and jumped on a plane.
After temping for about three weeks, I met a lovely guy – really friendly. To me it was just the Aussie way, they love a good yarn. Then he asked me to his friend’s gig so I went along and then that was it. I scuppered all of my future plans to return to the UK and do my Masters degree, but I wouldn’t change my decision for the world.
From there it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as I was on a working holiday visa I had to get it extended for a year. In order to do this, you have to work in a regional area. This often means farm work, for me it was living on an Orchard in Shepparton and packing fruit – apples and pears mainly. Shepparton is about 3.5 hours north of Melbourne and it’s a relatively small town with not much going on. I had to work for 88 days (yep, I counted each day) before I could extend my visa. I also spent many a Sunday night on the train/in the car working out how many more times I’d have to do the journey. As with all things, it came and went pretty quickly and my visa was approved within a week of applying. We then got engaged a few months later (yes so we were together 11 months).
Shortly after Christmas, Evan and I decided that we were going to get married in the UK. What a great excuse for him to see Europe and experience life if the UK! After all I had become homesick, being away nearly two years and not travelling back to see any friends or family. The visa process to get Evan into the UK on an engagement visa was lengthy but worth it, I have to say the worst part about it was after we were married. He couldn’t work until he had his marriage visa, this took a long 7 months to come through. Suffice to say, he was not enthralled with England and was pretty keen to head back home. We ended up staying in the UK for just over 2.5 years, we mainly stayed so long to pay off debt accrued whilst Evan was out of work. We applied for my partner visa about 9 months before we left the UK, after doing research we found that due to the high volume it would take a long time to process. It certainly wasn’t a cheap process either, all in all we have spent about 7,000 GBP on visas.
That brings us back to Melbourne, where we have been for the past two years, absolutely loving life here. I would definetly recommend to anyone who has an Australian partner to visit England before you make any grand plans to move back there, this will also subside the home-sickness. I have to admit being back for two years I only have the faint tug of missing my friends and immediate family, but these days with FaceTime and Skype I’d say I probably see them more, or just appreciate them a bit more.
How was it obtaining your visa? Did you use a migration agent? What type of visa did you apply for?
Working holiday visa, super easy! All arranged via STA Travel, I didn’t even think about it. The Partner visa was a lot harder, well not harder, lengthier let’s say. I applied for this visa without an agent as I knew my relationship was genuine and looking through blogs I could see that we had a lot of evidence to support the application. The hardest thing was the waiting, I think we waited about nine months from submission of documents to approval.
What do you do for work?
I work for a digital marketing agency as a Production Assistant.
Was it difficult to find a job?
I don’t come from a digital marketing background but there are a lot of jobs around. Like anywhere, they want you to be young and have heaps of experience. Just a matter of doing the leg work and making the right contacts. My previous role in the UK was a Project Manager for FMCG – specifically packaging design, I really struggled to find jobs in this area.
What’s the best thing you’ve found about living in Australia so far?
I would say the food (remember, I’m based in Melbourne), such an eclectic mix of cultures and amazing quality.
What’s your favourite way to spend your weekends?
Weekends are the best! A great weekend would be heading to the Mornington Peninsula for a hike, heading to a winery for a late lunch. Back to the city in the evening to catch up with friends for dinner and drinks. Sunday would be a leisurely brunch and then head to the beach. Finally finishing off with a Sunday session at one of the many craft breweries!
What’s the hardest thing you’ve found about living in Australia?
Obviously the distance and time difference is pretty hard.
Have you travelled around Australia at all? If so where has been a highlight?
Yes! So many highlights but the Bay of Fires, Tasmania on a sunny winter’s day with no-one else around was pretty spectacular.
Do you hope to stay in Australia permanently or is your move just for a while?
Permanently, I still have the travel bug but Melbourne will always be home.
What’s the one thing you miss about home?
What’s the best thing about moving to Australia?
And what’s the worst?
Price of alcohol.
If you had to give anyone who is moving to Australia a bit of advice what would it be?
I would say, save more money than you think. Everything seems really expensive on the pound, especially the beer (because it is!), don’t expect to walk into a job, the job market isn’t too great down here, be realistic. On a more positive note, make the most of all the wineries, breweries. Drink all the hipster coffee and eat all of the amazing food!
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Interview by Sandy Dhaliwal
Images by Rosanna Malowney