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Andrea Nelson

“I would say try the expat experience, just go for it.”

Hi there, my name is Andrea and I am originally from Northern Ireland, and I have been an expat for 16 years.

I wanted to be a flight attendant and I moved to Dubai. I studied in Dubai for four years and it was fantastic. I ended up in Ahu Dhabi, which was very close to Dubai, and I stayed there for 7 years. I met my husband who is American. A few years later I had my son who is actually coming on 5.

Where we are right now, which is beautiful Newcastle, and it’s in New South Wales in Australia. The biggest challenge of moving to Australia out of all the places that I moved to is the fact that it’s on the other side of the world.

People are amazing here and they’ve been very friendly, and there’s also a lot of expats that I’ve met here from places like… I have friends from Germany, South Korea, England, and actually another girl from Northern Ireland as well.

It’s very important when you’re an expat, when you move to a new place, you have to socialize. You have to try and get out there and meet people, and that’s what I did here with my son. As an expat you really have to put yourself out there and meet friends.

I think the hardest part about being an expat out of everything, the biggest challenge is that you miss out on family gatherings

I would say try the expat experience, just go for it. Because the way… the way I looked at it when I was 21: if I really, really didn’t like it I could just go back home. That was my attitude. If I don’t do it, I’d regret it.

I would say if it’s a place that you’re not familiar with, you know just research it, research and ask people. Join Facebook groups, join apps. They said it’s not always going to be happy, great days. You’re going to have your ups and downs but reach out to people and talk and open up and just realize that you’re not alone.