Allow me to share some of my insights as a long term migrant to these great shores.
1. Australia can be an expensive place to live and you need to look closely at your budget and savings beforehand. Living in the suburbs rather than the City is cheaper and having a car, whilst expensive, is essential.
2. Christmas will never feel like Christmas, especially if you are accustomed to sitting by a fireplace type of chilly Christmas. On the up-side the Australian custom of having Christmas on the beach with family and friends is an equally joyous occasion. Mind you seeing Santa stroll down the beach in Speedo’s still gets a bit of getting use to.
3. Visiting home (the old country) will become more of an ordeal. Australia is a long way away from many an old country. Getting to Europe for example is a 24 hour experience. Sometimes it is just easier to have a chosen relative or two come and visit you here in Australia instead.
4. There will be culture shock, lets face it Australians are a unique lot. Differing family interrelationships, deciphering the Aussie language and the work for the weekend mentality.
Shopping hours need getting used to with late night shopping once a week.
On the other hand, when you need something professionally done — like in the evening, on the weekend or during the holidays — you can forget about it.
And, of course, there are other bits of culture shock, like adjusting to holidays in the opposite seasons (and how locals prepare and celebrate… Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy, Oh Oh Oh!) and dealing with the now popular Aussie meet-and-greet of cheek-kissing (I like my personal space).
5. Taxes will become a complicated annual event, believe me even the ATO have difficulty understanding their own rulings. My advice get a Tax Agent to take care of it from day one.
For expats from America, taxes are a double pain. If you continue to keep your citizenship, you will have to file taxes in the USA forever, claiming income being made overseas and dealing with special rules and regulations (that hopefully keep you from having to pay the IRS).
I am sure that there are many other things one may not have thought about before coming here but the best part is that Australia is truly the lucky country. Welcome!
Benito Miranda Sierra, Australian Citizen formerly from Spain.