The May issue of the newsletter for Advance, an organization that connects the global Australian Diaspora, interviewed Australian expatriate Fiona Lawrie, who has lived half her life in Asia, primarily working in the area of environmental sustainability, before deciding to return back to Australia.
Lawrie talked about the benefits of having cross-cultural networks, what she enjoyed most about living and working in China and whether or not she has gone home for good. When asked what she enjoyed the most about living and working in China, she commented:
Every day is different. You might start out with a plan but that can change completely as things change quickly. The pace of change is incredibly fast and that is even more exciting with the whole world watching.
As for the challenges associated with repatriation back to Australia, Lawrie made the following observations:
The return to Australia for expatriates is more challenging than people may think. You don’t simply drive home from the airport and settle into Australian life within hours. It takes time to build new friendships, find new restaurants and develop hobbies! I have found new friends upon my return have been fellow sinophiles or expats from overseas who are making Australia home.
Finally, Lawrie gives this advice to Aussies looking to live and work abroad:
Do it! Living overseas is a wonderful experience as it gives you a new way of thinking that is global. This is becoming more valuable to employers too, who I believe are increasingly looking at Asian literacy in their recruitment decisions.