Moving to the Other Side of the World, Part 3: Settling in Australia

I have now been in Australia for two weeks, and things are going amazingly well. I arrived via the Overland train from Melbourne. It does take 10.5 hours but time goes by quickly. I definitely recommend it for those who do not like flying or driving long distances.

I have settled in my apartment, obtained my student ID/discount card (oh how I love being a student again!!), met with my supervisors at the university, and explored the library already. I have had absolutely no problems with the paperwork or university bureaucracy, which is a miracle. The day after I arrived I was able to obtain my student ID right away as well as receive my login credentials for the university system and e-mail. Then I signed my lease at the accomodation office and received the keys to my apartment. I managed to get the electricity in my name within 2 hours and since the unit is internet ready, I simply plugged in my ethernet cable and set up a pre-paid account for the data usage. I don’t have a landline or cable TV because I would never use them.

I am less than a 5 minute walk from campus, and a 2 minute walk to the post office, grocery store (open on Sundays!!), bakery, fruit & vegetable vendor, etc. There is a bus stop across the street where I can hop on a direct, and sometimes express, bus to the CBD of Adelaide every 15 minutes (and thanks to my student ID, one two-hour trip is only 81 cents!) My apartment is very quiet as I was lucky enough to be in the building that is not on the street, but back in the corner by the parking lot.

I have received my bank card and PIN so I no longer have to use American dollars (thankfully, since the exchange rate is not so good). Here’s a timeline of what opening by bank account was like:

  • One month before leaving France: Opened account online and transferred money into it
  • Two-three weeks later: Received first bank statement and welcome letter in France, stating which identification documents would be necessary n Australia
  • After arrival: Went to a bank branch that was not my own (remember, I arrived in Melbourne and then came to Adelaide later on), gave them my passport, signed two papers, got my telephone/online banking set up, ordered my debit card and could start withdrawing money immediately. I did not need any actual proof of my address in Australia – I simply told them what it was, and they printed out an official paper just in case I did need to prove my address (such as buying a cell phone on contract.)

Then I went next door to the cell phone store and bought a pre-paid phone. I only needed to tell them my address and show my passport. I could not believe how incredibly easy everything was. So there you have it. Housing, bank account and cell phone are completely taken care of, as are utility hookups in my apartment. Now I’m just finishing up some shopping for little things for the apartment.

I haven’t been experiencing much culture shock, but I have noticed that I automatically behave or think how I used to in France because I’m more used to the French way than the American way. The first time I went grocery shopping, I started to get ready to bag my own groceries and then realized the cashier was already doing it for me. I had second thoughts about ordering the debit card while at the bank branch in Melbourne because I was afraid that it would not be delivered if my name wasn’t on the mailbox at my apartment in Adelaide. But just like the US, your name isn’t always on the mailbox and the post office just uses the number. While at the large shopping center, I started looking to see how much change I had so that I could use the bathroom and then remembered that they were free to use.

Other things throw me off a little: cars driving on the left, not receiving mail on Saturdays, data caps on home internet, most stores closing at 5pm on Saturdays (I understand closing at 5 on Sunday, but why so early on Saturdays?) Not having a car is probably the only “problem” I have, but I would really only need one for bringing home larger items that I can’t carry. Fortunately my colleagues are helping me out on the weekends.

I am doing rather well and the weather is lovely. It’s good to know that this winter is “unusually cold,” which at 15° C / 59° F is a nice spring day to me. It hasn’t really set in yet that this is as cold as it will get all year. That is perhaps the best part so far! Besides the cute animals, of course.

First Impressions of Australia

I arrived in Australia a week ago today! These were my first thoughts: This is winter? Everyone speaks with such an adorable accent. It’s not that expensive. After two pleasant flights with Etihad Airways that seemed to go by extremely fast (I highly recommend them!), I arrived in Melbourne last Tuesday night. Customs went smoothly, […]

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Moving to the Other Side of the World, Part 2: Relocating to Australia

As I mentioned earlier this week, moving to Australia seems to be much easier than moving to France. However, I moved to France to work temporarily through the Teaching Assistant Program in 2006 and I am going to Australia as a PhD student, so the comparisons aren’t exact. Nevertheless, here are my experiences: France Visa: […]

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Moving to the Other Side of the World, Part 1: Leaving France

I’m moving to Australia in one week! I’m almost completely packed and have taken care of most of the paperwork with regards to leaving France. Since David (and yes, Canaille) are staying in France and moving back to Annecy, I don’t have to take care of everything or even move everything right now – though […]

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Comparative Grammar of French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Available as PDF

I have finally finished scanning the 1868 book Comparative Grammar of French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Languages by Edwin A. Notley that I first mentioned in April. It is 412 pages total and available to download in PDF format. The original 19 x 13 cm book is set up with two columns on the left […]

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New Language Tutorial on Latin

Thanks to Brandon, Latin is now featured on! The Romance languages derived from Vulgar Latin, the major spoken language(s) of the Roman Empire. Classical Latin is what is taught at universities and written in books today since most of Vulgar Latin was never written down. The Appendix Probi is an interesting list from the […]

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The French Language of the Pays de Savoie

The area where I live in France is called Savoy and it used to be a part of the Italian Kingdom of Sardinia. In 1860 it was annexed to France and split into two départements: Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Together they are known as the Pays de Savoie in French and they make up 2 of […]

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Enter the Brainscape Spanish Mobile App Twitter Giveaway

I previously reviewed Brainscape’s website and mobile apps and gave away promo codes for their French Vocab Genius app. Now I’m offering another free product giveaway, but this time it is for Spanish learners: the Brainscape Spanish app! Brainscape Spanish for iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad is a new app that uses the Intelligent Cumulative […]

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Six Countries in Fourteen Days: Vacation 2011

I had a great time on my vacation this year. We visited six countries – Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Greece & Turkey – and I took over 600 photos! This was also my first time on a cruise, which was a neat experience that we will definitely be doing again. I started by taking the train […]

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Greek Isles Cruise Update

Hello from Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas ship! We are at sea today and we have already visited Kotor in Montenegro; Athens, Santorini, and Mykonos in Greece; and Kusadasi and Bodrum in Turkey. Tomorrow we have a stop in Split, Croatia, and Friday morning we will be back in Venice, Italy. I have plenty […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.


The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

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