I've just returned home (Australia) after spending 6 weeks in the UK (South Shields mainly as this is where I'm from) but I did travel around a bit. I have to say that this trip back to my roots was a real eye opener for me and certainly clarified a few things. I realised that I'm far more Australian now than I ever imagined I would be or ever wanted to be! I was whistling the national anthem while shopping in Newcastle without realising it!! I've lived in Australia for 24 years having migrated with my folks at the age of 16. As I've said in previous posts it was personally hell on earth for me when I first arrived and I would get home sick all the time....missing everything that was familiar and especially my friends and family. Thankfully I stuck it out and honestly feel that I made the right decision about staying here.
In all honesty I was shocked at the state of the UK. The sadness and struggle in people and the general negativity was depressing at times it was as if there was no hope or light at the end of the tunnel.
Many ppl on this site often knock Australia (it's perfectly natural when you first arrive and I was certainly no different) for not being this or that and many have negative thoughts about the place and some of it is justified. However, I will agree that Australia has become very expensive over the last 10 years which is something I'd not noticed until I returned to the UK....I do think the mighty dollar played no small part in this. Housing did seem far more affordable in the UK but that could be down to the fact that the economy is so far down the tiolet that the arse has fallen out of the market + lets not forget the strong Dollar. Many mention the superior health system in the UK and I agree it does out shine the Aussie model but I wonder for how much longer this will be the case with the savage cuts the current government is about to unleash on the British people. It scared the crap out of me and I was a mere tourist! Another aspect that gets compared to is the "nightlife" etc....sorry but it's just not the same with many of the pubs etc now empty and struggling to survive....I was saddened to see so many pubs that have been in my town for 100+ years on the bones of their arses with 4-10 people in their premises on a friday night! :( Many people are staying home as it's cheaper and safer than going out at night.
Another misconception is that there's nothing to do here. However, I think the main reason that people feel this way is that everything in the UK is so concentrated with people all squeezed into a small area and things are all very close making things far more accessable. Australia has everything that the UK has to offer but I think it suffers due to the distances you need to travel as everything is so spread out...I really was shocked at how close everything was compared to when I used to live there....things that I thought were a million miles away were actually about 5-10 miles away ha ha (Not sure if I'm explaining this very well)
I spoke to many friends and family who were interested about what it was like to live in Australia as they were thinking of making the move but weren't 100% sure. I was honest about what it was like. We have our own problems and complaints and that it isn't easy making the move there. I certainly didn't sugar coat living in Australia. But if someone asked whether I made the right decision to live there the answer was always "yes" and "no" I wouldn't come back to the UK to live.
If anyone has even the slightest doubt about making the move then DON'T DO IT!! You need to be 150% committed if you want to make it work and give yourselves at the very least 2 years living here!!! It is incredibly stressful and can put marriages and family under enormous pressure. Never ever underestimate homesickness and the sadness you will feel due to missing family & friends....trust me I know because I experienced it.
I'm not trying to scare or put any one off from living here because in my opinion it's an AWESOME place to live (whether you agree or disagree with me is neither here nor there as this is only my opinion) I'm just trying to stop people from wasting their hard earned money + the HUGE stress of migrating here only to have an unreal expectation of what your new life will be like.
Australia is not perfect and has many faults of it's own + many problems that are no different to the UK. I'm not going to say that it's an easy place to settle for many, though some do settle quickly, but I think LONG term Australia is the better option. I certainly would never say don't return home but I would strongly advise that anyone thinking of doing this to think about the reasons why you are going and try to make the decision to return home a decision of the head and not one of the heart because it could be a very expensive exercise. Easier said than done I know.
As some may point out it could be where I was situated ie the North East + the extremely cold weather didn't help the general mood!!! But it seemed no different in the other parts of the country I visited. At the end of the day it's just my opinion of what I saw and experienced.
Come to Australia with an open mind and remember that it's abit like being reborn.....If you embrace the country for what it is then I honestly think you will realise you've made the right decision if not now then in many years to come. :) I know I do.
All the best and thanks for listening to my ramblings.
ps My holiday made me realise that I miss friends and family far more than the place itself.