Berakit-rakit ke Hulu Kemudian Terombang-ambing di Lautan (Pengalaman Mencari Pekerjaan di Australia)

Hi guys,


As I’ve promised earlier, I’m going to share my corporate job hunting experience in Sydney, Australia. The purpose of this post is to answer questions on how possible it is to land a corporate job in Australia through a working holiday visa.Β When I write this post, I have yet landed any corporate jobs successfully in Australia and am still actively looking for opportunities through professional recruiters or directly to companies. Due to cultural backgrounds and nationalities, my experience might be more relevant to people with Asian backgrounds from developing countries. Wait, why Asian backgrounds? Are the employers here racist? No, it’s not about the race. It’s just about the culture. We Asians are usually less vocal in expressing and defending our ideas.


Back in Indonesia, I worked in consumer goods companies in sales department. I was lucky to have worked in 2 large global companies and with AMAZING people. I learned a lot from my AWESOME managers and mentors in these companies and couldn’t be grateful enough to have worked with them. Β My job was my passion and I enjoyed it so much. So, WHY on earth did I decide to leave the job? Because ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to work and live abroad. So, I took the chance and the biggest risk by coming to the land down under.


With my super AMAZING team, mentor and manager ^o^

I arrived in Sydney on 1st February 2017. Even before arriving in Sydney, I already started applying for corporate jobs online and have received constant rejections. However, also before arriving in Sydney, I had been contacted by headhunter for job opportunities already.

The first company that gave positive response to my job application was a large UK based FMCG company. I applied online and received an email to an online numerical test. After I completed the test, the company did not contact me until I arrived in Australia and gave them my new phone number. So, after 2 weeks of my arrival in Australia, I got my first face to face interview with a company.

How does the job interview look like in Australia?

In general from all the interviews I have been so far, it’s basically similar to the job interviews I have gone through with FMCG companies in Indonesia. They’re asking detailed questions on technical things. Of course they give common questions as well like my career plans in 5 years, my organisational skill (how I manage priorities), my achievements at work, the most difficult task I have come across and my strengths/weaknesses. They also ask lots of behavioral questions on how I handle certain situations because they want to see how independent and strong I am in expressing my ideas and defending my thoughts.

How many interviews and what kind of companies I have been interviewed with?

2 face to face & 1 phone interview with 2 FMCG companies; 1 interview & business presentation with market research agency; 1 interview with marketing activation agency.

Kenapa semua belum berhasil? Yang ini saya sengaja tulis dalam bahasa Indonesia karena saya nggak mau hiring managers nya baca tulisan ini. Lol!

Di FMCG company pertama saya berhasil di interview pertama tapi gagal di final interview. Di interview pertama, mereka fokus bertanya soal teknis pekerjaan dan pengalaman yg sudah saya lakukan di Indonesia. Interview hanya berlangsung sekitar 30 menit dan besok sorenya saya sudah ditelpon lagi untuk interview final. Sayangnya, di final interview saya gagal, karena menurut mereka saya kurang strong dalam mengutarakan pendapat dan meng-handle challenge dari senior. Seperti yg kita tahu, biasanya di Indonesia kalau orang yg jabatannya lebih senior biasa akan menghadapi orang yg selevel utk bicara, diskusi atau debat pendapat. Nah, di Australia ini walaupun kita masih junior, kita harus kelihatan berani dalam berpendapat dan ber-argumen walaupun lawan bicara kita adalah orang yg jabatannya sudah lebih senior dari kita. What I admire from the hiring process in this company was that the hiring manager still gave me a phone call to give feedbacks on my interview, even after I failed the interview. She first asked how I felt about the interview and then gave me clear understanding on why they decided not to proceed with me.

The second FMCG company that interviewed me by phone was a US based company. It was for a position in Brisbane. After 20 minutes of talking about my experience, she realised that I only hold a work and holiday visa. The company doesn’t sponsor so it had to finish there 😦


Di perusahaan berikutnya yg merupakan market research agency yang datanya paling dipercaya di retail & FMCG industry di Australia, saya harus melakukan case study dan presentasi hasil case study nya menggunakan power point. Presentasi hanya berlangsung sekitar 15 menit namun secara total durasi interview selama 1.5 jam. Mereka fokus bertanya soal pengalaman kerja saya dan cara saya mengerjakan case study tersebut. Mereka juga bertanya bagaimana jika client meminta saya mengerjakan berbagai project dalam waktu singkat dan tidak memungkinkan utk dikejar semuanya. Dengan bodohnya saya jawab akan saya iyakan semua karena saya biasanya tidak pernah menolak pekerjaan. Dan benar saja, beberapa hari kemudian headhunter yang mengenalkan saya ke perusahaan ini mendapat feedback dari interviewer saya yg mengatakan kalau mereka tidak akan melanjutkan proses dengan saya karena saya tidak mampu meng-handle client yang demanding.

Perusahaan berikutnya yg mewawancara saya adalah sebuah marketing agency. Durasi interview hanya sekitar 20 menit. Disini saya gagal karena saya tidak bisa menjawab pertanyaan: personal development (not career related) goals within 12 months? Personal achievements (not career related) that you’re most proud of? I was too focused thinking about my career experiences and achievements that I didn’t expect such questions. Saya tahu kalau pertanyaan2 ini yang membuat saya gagal karena di akhir interview, mereka mengatakan kalau mereka suka dengan orang yang punya kehidupan di luar pekerjaan.

Apa yang saya pelajari dari job interviews yang sudah saya lakukan selama di Australia?

  1. Be independent and vocal. Don’t hesitate to express your ideas and thoughts in forums and in front of people of more senior positions. Also be prepared to defend yourself and your own ideas.
  2. Be sensible about taking the tasks. If the timeline is too tight for all the tasks, manage with customers or your manager to give more time in order to give better results.
  3. Relax! Your career is just a part of your life and you still have some other parts to enjoy and have fun!

Jadi sebenernya apa sih yang penting untuk bisa dapetin office jobs di Australia?

EXPERIENCE EXPERIENCE and EXPERIENCE, guys! Belum pernah ada company yg interview saya menanyakan saya kuliah dimana, mereka cuma mau tahu saya punya gelar bachelor’s degree. Saya pernah tanya dengan seorang profesional headhunter yang meng-interview saya apakah kuliah master di Australia akan membantu saya utk mendapat employer yang mau men-sponsori saya kerja disini? Dia bilang tidak juga. Karena dengan master degree biasanya itu hanya akan membantu saya mendapat gaji lebih tinggi. Tapi soal employer mau sponsor saya atau tidak, itu semua tergantung company dan government policy yang berlaku.

So, what’s next? What am I doing now and what if I don’t manage to land a job with sponsorship here?

Well, just let it happen. Right now I’m still actively looking for the job that I want while working at the Italian restaurant. I quite enjoy doing this job because I get to learn barista skills and also look forward to learning how to make cocktails, I guess πŸ˜‰ I just wanna do and learn things I can’t learn in Indonesia. I am also improving my English of course, since I work with Italians, French and take care of customers in the restaurant. Kadang2 masih ada aja professional headhunters yang telpon saya untuk approach saya. Sayangnya banyak yg tumbang di tengah jalan karena memang susah mencari company yg sponsor di bidang pekerjaan saya, yaitu di sales. Kemungkinannya adalah mencari temporary jobs tapi bidang sales biasanya adalah permanent jobs. Jadi susah juga deh. If I don’t succeed landing the job here, I think I’ll make another leap to another continent and get my master’s degree, as I planned initially πŸ™‚

Kira2 begitulah perjalanan saya yang masih juga belum berakhir. Jujur, saya agak lelah guys. Saya sempat menyesali keputusan saya untuk datang kesini kalau mengingat kehidupan dan pekerjaan saya di Jakarta. But surprisingly, I also learn a lot from my casual jobs here! Somehow my experience working in the restaurant helps me know myself better and I want to improve myself here and there! Dan apa yg terjadi di restoran juga mengkonfirmasi alasan2 perusahaan2 tadi menolak saya. Tapi ini akan saya ceritakan di postingan berikutnya. Karena udah malem yah ini. Sudah waktunya bobo karena besok siang saya kerja lagi sampai closing jam 10 malam 😦

Meanwhile, this is the song that best represents my current life journey: The Fools Who Dream

Good night guys (^_^)


Cari Kerja di Aussie: Berakit-rakit ke hulu, berenang-renang ke tepian…

Hey guys,

Well, ini pertama kalinya saya nulis blog ini dalam bahasa Indonesia. Alasan saya nulis post ini dalam bahasa Indonesia adalah karena postingan ini akan bernada sedikit negatif tentang pengalaman selama working holiday di Australia (terutama Sydney, karena saya baru pernah tinggal disini aja). Dan saya nggak mau calon employer disini membaca keluhan soal pengalaman saya selama mencari kerja di Sydney. Dan sejujurnya, saya pun punya sedikit rasa menyesal datang WHV kesini 😦

Wait! Nyesel? Pengalaman negatif? Bukannya tinggal dan kerja di Aussie enak banget gitu? Kotanya bersih dan rapi, gajinya tinggi, transportasinya teratur? LOL! Yah, tadinya saya kira juga begitu sih. Tapi ternyata, semua memang gak seindah impian! Sejujurnya saya pun gak pernah terlalu banyak ekspektasi tentang Sydney. Dalam bayangan saya, Sydney itu kota metropolitan yg crowded dan modern seperti Singapore or mungkin juga NYC or LA (walaupun saya gak pernah ke NYC dan LA). Saya cuma membayangkan gedung2 nya modern dan langitnya sepertinya cerah πŸ™‚


View from Sydney Tower Eye

Tapi pada kenyataannya, langit di Sydney tidak selalu cerah. Begitu juga dengan job hunting disini. Ternyata semua jauh lebih sulit dari apa yg sudah saya bayangkan. Sekarang saya tidak mengerti bagaimana dulu saya bisa membayangkan bisa kerja keras dan mendapat gaji $1000 per week. Atau at least, bisa menabung $2000 per month. Kalau tau sesulit ini, mungkin saya tidak akan pernah meninggalkan pekerjaan impian dan karier saya di Jakarta utk mencari kerja casual disini. Tapi di post ini saya nggak akan cerita soal alasan saya kesini. Itu akan saya tulis di post berikutnya. Karena di post ini, tujuan saya adalah utk membagikan pengalaman sulitnya (dan pahitnya) mencari pekerjaan dan kerja di Sydney. Β Bukan utk discourage teman2 yang sudah planning utk datang WHV, tapi untuk memberikan gambaran yang (hopefully) cukup realistis dalam pencarian pekerjaan dan pastinya $$$.

  1. Chinese food restaurant, Mascot

Saya mendapat job pertama ini dari housemate saya. Dia engkoh2 berumur sekitar 40 tahun dan sudah lama tinggal di Sydney. Dia kenal banyak orang di sekitar Mascot dan ngenalin saya ke boss restoran Chinese food ini yang ternyata orang Chinese-Vietnamese. Gaji pertama saya $15/hour dan saya kerja part-time disini. Sayangnya saya cuma kerja seminggu disini karena tiba2 boss saya SMS saya dan bilang kalau saya tidak cocok kerja disana. Yah, saya memang geraknya agak lamban sih kalau dibandingkan dengan orang Vietnam. Selain itu, di awal2 kedatangan saya di Aussie, saya cukup berjuang untuk membiasakan telinga saya dgn Aussie accent. Jadi sering kali saya minta customer mengulang-ulang pesanannya berkali-kali karena saya gak paham mereka ngomong apa (^_^”) . Disini saya merasa nilai IELTS saya yg 7.5 (di bagian speaking) jadi seperti 3.5 (T_T)

So, first lesson guys: jangan kaget kalo kamu tiba2 dipecat sama boss via SMS!

2. Salad restaurant, Kogarah

Lagi-lagi saya dapat job ini dari teman setelah jobless selama 2 minggu. Kali ini saya dapat dari teman di grup WHV Sydney. Karena owner nya orang Indonesia, saya cuma SMS, kemudian boss nya kasih tau jam kerjanya dan suruh saya langsung datang utk training besok paginya. Kali ini even gaji saya turun jadi $13/hour, guys! Dengan jam kerja cuma 25jam per-minggu. Tapi saya nggak punya banyak pilihan waktu itu, karena dengan pengalaman kerja minim, resume saya nggak pernah dapat respon dari employer.

Kerja di resto salad ini bener2 mengguncang batin saya karena salah satu teman kerja saya bener2 gak asik orangnya. Sialnya, dia itu adiknya owner restoran ini. Gimana gak asik nya? Yah, dia nggak pernah senyum sama saya. Dan kalau saya lupa cara ngerjain sesuatu lalu tanya lagi, dia akan bilang: “kan udah pernah diajarin? harus berapa kali diajarin baru ngerti?” Saya bener2 gak habis pikir, kenapa owner resto yang super baik ini bisa punya adik perempuan yang super bitchy kayak dia???

Setelah kerja selama 6 minggu disana, akhirnya saya berhenti. Berhentinya pake drama donk biar seru! Jadi ceritanya jam 11.30 pas deket2 lunch time, saya disuruh ngisi botol2 dressing salad sama si adiknya owner itu. Nah, saya kan belum pernah kerjain ini sebelumnya. Jadi saya nanya ke kitchen hand, dimana tempat salad dressing nya? Tiba2 si adik owner ini datang ke kitchen dan bilang ke saya dimana tempat dressing nya. Terus dia juga bilang gini: “Kalo mau tanya apa2 tanya nya ke gue aja. Tanya ke kitchen hand percuma karena dia jg gak tau apa2”. Saya yang udah kezel karena udah dari pagi dijutekkin sama dia akhirnya capek juga. Saya jawab dia: “udah kelar marah2 nya? Kalau masih mau marah2 lagi gue pulang aja deh. Gue berenti aja sekalian biar lo ga usah marah2 terus”. Dia cuma bilang: “gue bukannya marah2. Tapi lo udh 1.5 bulan kerja disini masih ga tau apa2. Kalo lo mau pulang ya pulang aja. Gue tinggal telpon koko bilang lo pulang”. Yah begitulah akhirnya saya langsung ambil tas lalu keluar dari resto.

Please donk, sis! Kalau mau dapat karyawan yang zuper pinter dan kerja cepet yah jangan kasih gaji $13! Kalo gue udah pinter juga gak mau lah digaji $13 perjam!Β Saya juga sering denger pengalaman gak enak dari temen2 WHV yang baru datang dan dapat teman2 kerja yang sesama Indo. Hello temen2 sesama Indo yang suka bully anak2 baru yang belom berpengalaman! Tolong yah ngaca, kalian juga awalnya gak langsung pinter kan? Kalian disana sama2 kerja apa udah jadi boss? Kalo masih sama2 kerja jadi babu, gak usalah bully2 temen2nya. Emang kalian merasa hebat cuma karena udah dateng beberapa bulan ato beberapa tahun lebih awal dari temen2nya?

Tapi walaupun dengan berbagai pengalaman pahit, saya tetap bersyukur bisa kerja 1.5bulan disini. Karena disini saya akhirnya membiasakan telinga saya dgn Aussie accent dan nama2 minuman kopi di Aussie. Selain itu saya juga belajar buat jus, smoothies dan menggunakan POS system & EFT Pos. Semua ini yang sering diperlukan utk melamar kerja resto/cafe di Aussie.

Setelah quit dari resto salad, saya jobless selama 2 minggu. Selama itu saya terus kirim2 resume via email ataupun walk-in. Dari begitu banyak resume yg saya kirim, saya cuma diundang ke 2 trial: yg pertama di cafe di daerah Ashfield dan yang kedua di Bourke Street Bakery. OMG! Saya PENGIN BANGET kerja di Bourke Street Bakery ini karena kerjaannya gampang cuma jadi counter hand di bakery aja! Selain itu, bisa di training jadi barista juga! Saya trial 2 jam di bakery ini. Di akhir trial, manager nya cuma bilang kalau Senin atau Selasa depan (karena hari itu sudah Jumat), HRD nya akan call saya utk kirim roster. Yeah, Bourke Street Bakery memang lumayan bonafide, guys! Tapi ternyata hari Minggu itu saya dipanggil utk trial di Italian resto yg kemudian langsung terima saya apa adanya dan segera kasih saya roster utk 33jam per week.

3. Italian Pasta & Wine bar, Sydney CBD

Thank God akhirnya saya keterima kerja di resto ini. Sekarang saya sudah jalan 4 minggu kerja dan saya paling happy kerja disini! Kenapa? Karena lokasinya, jam kerjanya, teman2 kerjanya, job desc nya dan yang pasti gajinya! (^.^)


Me in the uniform

Karena ini Italian resto, semua chef nya udah pasti Italian! Siapa yang gak tau kalo cowo Itali itu ganteng? Hahaha.. tapi yang paling penting sih karena mereka friendly and chatty! Mereka sering ngajak saya ngobrol dan bercanda karena saya satu2nya wait staff Indo disana (even saya satu2nya Asian). Selain chef2 nya, salah satu supervisor saya (cewek Itali) juga sangat friendly dan asik diajak ngobrol dan bercanda. Selain itu, dia sering bilang “good job!” ke saya. Kalau negur karena saya salah, selalu dilakukan dengan cara memberi training dan bukannya mengkomplain. Dia selalu bilang, “I’m not complaining about you, I’m just giving suggestions on how to do it”.


The Resto

Secara job desc, dibandingkan dengan job sebagai all-rounder di resto salad, kerja di Italian resto ini jauh lebih menyenangkan dan mudah karena efisien! Kenapa menyenangkan? Karena disini saya belajar ilmu barista! Sejak hari pertama saya kerja, saya langsung ditraining jadi barista. Memang order kopi di resto ini tidak terlalu banyak karena lokasinya yang di food court mall, membuat orang hanya sempat datang di waktu lunch. Setelah saya merasa cukup percaya diri, saya langsung diperbolehkan melayani orderan kopi dari customer. Kenapa saya bilang kerja disini mudah dan efisien? Karena supervisor saya most of the time during peak hours hanya minta saya stay di counter utk take order dan jadi kasir. Sedangkan pekerjaan preparing food and salad di back counter akan dia handle karena chef2 itu lebih terbiasa berkomunikasi dalam bahasa Itali supaya lebih cepat. Intinya 1-2 orang khusus handle counter dan 1 orang di back counter. Tujuannya supaya yg di back counter tau orderan mana yg sudah diproses/dikirim dan yg belum. Jadi nggak ada pekerjaan yg overlap ataupun missed!

More lessons learned! Sedapat mungkin kerja sama Western employers karena standard salary yg lebih tinggi dan biasanya mereka lebih “laid back”. I mean, how could I forget this basic theory after years of working in western companies? πŸ˜€

Yah so far baru segitu pengalaman saya disini, guys. Belum banyak karena saya memang selama ini masih butuh spare time 1 hari weekday utk interview corporate job (yang akan saya share di post berikutnya). Tapi sepertinya saya sudah akan cari second job disini utk full time casual dan save money utk studi saya di negeri lain πŸ™‚ Saya belum merasa lebih betah di Sydney daripada di tempat tinggal saya sebelumnya, Taipei karena banyak alasan yang tidak akan saya ungkapkan satu-persatu disini. Semoga tulisan saya hari ini berguna buat teman-teman yang baru merencanakan utk datang WHV kesini. Ingat, bukan utk discourage tapi utk lebih mempersiapkan mental teman-teman sebelum kerja keras disini πŸ™‚

Have a good day and God bless (^_^)v Continue reading

Working Holiday Australia – How Much You Need on Your First Arrival

As I’ve promised earlier, I’m gonna write another post on how much budget you need to bring for working holiday in Australia. Since the living cost, especially rent fee, varies across cities, this is probably most suitable for people who want to land in Sydney as their first point of arrival. Although in the visa requirement we are all required to have AU$ 5,000 in our bank statement, many of working holiday visa makers, as far as I know, don’t actually bring that amount of money on their first arrival, including me!


So, how much do we actually need to bring when we first come here? Hmm, before giving you the answer to that question, I think it’s best that you answer this question yourself first:

What kind of accommodation do I want to stay and where?

This is a very crucial question since accommodation will contribute to a significant (if not most) part of your first expense. Some people want to live in the city and some others don’t mind living at outer CBD area. Some people need to have a private room while some others don’t mind sharing with a few friends. It all depends on your preference and of course, your budget. Now, here’s the budget you’re looking at when you make your choice.

  1. Private room, shared bathroom – CBD area –> min. approx. $300-400 pw
  2. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> min. approx. $200 pp/pw (per-person/per-week)
  3. Room share (3-5 person), shared bathroom – CBD –> approx. $125 – 150 pp/pw
  4. Private room, shared bathroom – suburb –> min.approx. $200-250 pw
  5. Room share (2 person), shared bathroom – suburb –> approx $120 – 150 pp/pw

My room in Mascot

List of CBD area: Ultimo, Darlinghurst, Central, Chippendale, Pyrmont, Surry Hills, Haymarket, Redfern, Newtown, Darlington, Glebe, Potts Point.

List of suburb areas preferred by backpackers: Mascot, Ashfield, Marrickville, Leichardt, Eastern Suburbs (Bondi, Maroubra, Coogee, Randwick, Kingsford, Kensington) .


Residential area in Mascot

Check on Gumtree and Flatmates to browse for accommodation. Some people also find accommodation through Facebook group, including me.

So, have you made up your mind yet? Don’t forget to budget the deposit you need to give to your landlord upon moving in. It’s usually 2-4 week of rent and refundable when you move out, given you’re well-behaved, of course!

SIM Card


Now, when you arrive in Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport, you can immediately get your prepaid SIM card on the way to the exit. There are Optus and Vodafone’s counters that sell and help you activate your SIM card. I bought the Optus one for $20 (which worth $40 recharge voucher). With $20, I get a new phone number, 6GB internet data, unlimited calls & SMS to Australian phone numbers, and 90 mins international calls to selected 20 countries (the sales assistant will explain to you everything on this) for 28 days use.

First transportation to your new house

Ok, you’ve got that SIM card and now you have these big and small luggage and bags. Are you sure you can take bus or train with all these luggages? I couldn’t! So, I decided to take Uber instead. In Australia, you can only pay Uber with card (debit/credit). You don’t have your debit card yet, so it’s best to keep your old credit card active and use it in such emergency. I took Uber from the airport to my rent house in Mascot (near Rosebery) for $17. If you think you can carry all your bags and take the bus, the bus stop is not far from the arrival gate. Just ask some officers in the airport where it is. They’re very helpful.

Public transportation

OK, how about transportation budget during your first exploration days in Sydney? The transportation in Sydney quite expensive. For detailed information on Sydney transportation, check out:Β Β . They don’t charge you for the new card, just how much money you want to deposit in the card. I put $50 for my Opal card balance, which lasted for a bit less than 2 weeks. I don’t hang out everyday, so I don’t spend too much on this. But if you hang out everyday, you’re probably going to spend around $40 a week for transport.

Groceries shopping

After you put all your luggage in your room, you might want to to a little bit of groceries shopping. My first groceries shopping at Woolworths cost me about $40 for rice, veggies, fruits, Greek Yogurt, canned fish, etc. And I also did a little shopping at Daiso for some household tools. Daiso’s one price for everything in Australia is $2.80.


My first groceries shopping in Australia

Here are some groceries’ price examples:

Rice (1kg) : start from AU$ 2

Sugar (1kg) : AU$ 1.00

Chicken egg (6pcs) : AU$ 2.99

Milk (2 Litres) – homebrand : AU$ 2.00

Pasta (500 gr.) : start from AU$ 1.00

For more info, check out Coles & Woolworths websites.


To wrap up everything I’ve mentioned above, here’s the list of expenses on your first days in Sydney (with examples on value):

  1. Accommodation : Β $800 (2 week deposit + 2 week rent)
  2. SIM card : $ 40 (for 28 days)
  3. Uber : $ 17 – 30
  4. Opal card : $ 120-150 (for 4 weeks)
  5. Groceries : $ 100 (for 4 weeks)
  6. Home supplies & tools : $ 40
  7. Meals (when you eat out) : AU$12-15 per-meal

Those add up to around AU 1,500 for the first 4 weeks of your stay in Sydney. And I believe that’s the minimum amount you will spend in your first month, because many people spend more than that. That, of course, depends on your lifestyle and how long you want to relax without working.

So, I hope this helps you plan your budget to move to Sydney and don’t hesitate to drop a comment if you have anymore questions.



Packing for Working Holiday Australia

Hey guys,

As you might have known, I’ve just moved to Sydney 3 weeks ago. In the previous post I have talked about my first impressions on Sydney, Australia. And in this post, I’d like to share some tips on what to prepare before your departure to Australia, especially if you’re coming to Sydney. I will talk about things to pack since it’s not a cheap place to live in, so you want to to be extra careful with money here. In the next post, I will talk about budget you need to prepare before your departure for Australia (especially Sydney).

What to bring and what to ditch

Many things are indeed expensive here. But, some things are not that expensive that you HAVE to bring it all the way across the continent just to save a very few dollars. Before doing all the packings I also did a little research from other working holiday visa makers, especially the Indonesian ones, just to get some ideas of the daily supplies that are expensive in Australia. But apparently, I made LOTS of mistakes. I bought and brought too many unnecessary things back in Indonesia that I couldn’t even manage to pack all of them into 30kgs baggage!


Major packing drama

Here are some things I recommend you to bring from home and will help you survive on your first days:

1. Bed sheets –> OK, it’s probably also a good idea if you check with your landlord/housemates if these things are provided in the rent and if they are brand new. If you want to buy it here, its price is around AU$ 18 to $22 for a single-sized bed sheet. Compared to the price in Indonesia, I think it’s a bit more expensive since I can get something better in quality or bigger in size for similar or cheaper price.

2. Light blanket –> same with bed sheets, check with your landlord/housemates first if this is provided in the rent. But usually we’d rather bring our own blanket for hygiene reason. If you want to buy it here, in K-Mart and Target they sell it at around AU$ 10-12 for a fleece blanket. It’s soft and cozy enough for 18-22 degree evenings.

3. Light jacket/cardigan –> except if you come in winter. You’d want to bring your winter coat instead πŸ™‚ If you come in the summer like me, you still have to bring at least 1 jacket and 1 cardigan. The weather is usually nice and sunny in Sydney, but it also gets windy and cool sometimes.

4. Lots of casual tee shirts/tank-tops, polo-shirts, shorts and jeans –> they’re wearable almost everyday and you don’t want to spend your AU$ on just casual wears like these.

5. Sneakers, thongs/flip-flops or girly sandals/flats –> you know: for beach, city strolls, Blue Mountain hikes, etc etc…

6. Other types of clothing –> it really depends on what kind of jobs you target. If you want casual jobs in cafes/restaurants, you won’t really need them. In my case, I brought quite a lot of business attires to prepare for job interviews.


Pillow sheet, bed sheet, fleece blanket and Taylor Swift Perfume 30mL

And here are the things I recommend you to leave out of your luggage:

  1. Toiletries –> you can easily find toiletries here and buy them cheap at Chemist stores. One of the most famous for its competitive price is Chemist Warehouse. Check out their products and price on: Chemist Warehouse website.
  2. Perfume –> there are many brands of perfume with SUPER cheap price also at Chemist Warehouse. I bought my Taylor Swift perfume for just AU$ 10 (30mL)!
  3. Detergent –> although detergent is indeed a bit expensive here, around AU$ 5-10 (compared to the price in Indonesia), some landlords already provide this and other cleaning supplies in the property. You might want to check with your housemates/landlord first.
  4. Food supplies & seasonings –> this is what Asian fellows usually like to bring to Western countries πŸ˜€ But seriously, Asian shops and restaurants are EVERYWHERE in Sydney. You can even buy our all time national favorite Indomie goreng at Coles and Woolies for $0.65 πŸ˜€
  5. Cutleries, dishwares & cooking wares –> I was about to bring these things! Don’t bother! Find them at Daiso or K-Mart IF you really have to buy them. Some landlords also provide these things in the property, so you have less things to worry about πŸ™‚

If you want to compare other things’ prices in Australian retails, check out on their websites:





Hope this helps you sorting out the things you want to pack for your trip to Sydney. See you in my next post πŸ˜‰



A New Life in Sydney

Hey there,

I’ve been having a super hectic-but-exciting week as I just moved to Sydney, Australia. I’ll be living in Australia for at least 1 year on a work and holiday visa. Some of you might already know what kind of visa it is, so I’m not going to explain again in here. However, in this post, I’d like to share some surprising experience that I’ve had during my pre-arrival preparations and first few days in Sydney. By sharing these, I don’t mean to compare between cities or anything. Every city and country has its own specialties, cultures and way of living. I just hope to help people who wish to come visit Sydney for vacation or probably working holiday like I do πŸ™‚

  1. Finding a private room is actually tricky if you’re not in the city yet

OK, maybe I was too early to start my room search. I started looking around the websites such as: Gumtree and Flatmates 3 weeks before I actually arrived in Sydney. Nobody on Gumtree bothered to reply my message AT ALL! 1 or 2 people on Flatmates replied only to say that they could not wait for 3 weeks. So, I waited until it was less than 2 weeks left before my arrival. Still only a few more people responded to my message. My friend who lives here also helped me texting some other people on Gumtree (via SMS). There was more response but still not more than 60% response rate. She also helped me do the inspection, but at the end, the landlord gave it to the person who’d move in sooner.

It is totally understandable why people don’t like to wait for the next tenant to move in. Room rent here is very expensive (the rate is per-week, not per-month!), less tenant in the unit means more costs (sharing bills and full-house rent) to existing tenants. More information on accommodation costs can be found on the websites that advertise them: Gumtree/Flatmates.


view from my private balcony πŸ™‚

After a lot of drama (read: almost got scammed 2x!) and anxiety, I finally found an ad on FB group. The ad was posted by an Indonesian male that looked like student.It was already 2 days before my arrival to Sydney. My friend helped me text the number on the ad and the landlord finally skyped me later that day to show me around the house and room. I immediately liked it and decided to book the room. FYI, the landlord is also an Indonesian. Coming from similar home country of course helps a lot in finding a room here!

2. Getting around by bus can be confusing

Well, actually the most confusing transportation system that I know by far is in Indonesia (read: Kopaja/Metro Mini/Mikrolet). In Jakarta, there’s no bus stop (except for busway), no schedule and no fixed route (sometimes bus drivers will skip some area just to make a shortcut).

However, bus system in Sydney is also challenging if you don’t have a smartphone with GMaps with you. The bus stops are nicely maintained. There is sign what stop it is and which bus stops there and there’s also timetable too (which I think is pretty reliable). But once you’re in the bus, you don’t know where you are right now and what the next stop is. There is no digital sign nor driver calls the name of the stop. In Taiwan, you’re not going to lose it since there’s at least a digital sign showing current and next stop in Mandarin Chinese and English.

Β  3. The city looks a bit like Singapore

There are some factors that make it look and feel like Singapore, except for the fact that people here are much more friendly. Β First of all, it is a melting spot of people from many different races, cultures and countries. I hear a lot of languages spoken in the city and see varieties of food is sold in food courts and restaurants.

Second, the most famous tourist spot is located in the heart of the city, just like Merlion in Singapore. And there is also a restaurant/cafe by the quay that views the Harbour Bridge.


Sydney Opera House


CNY lantern in Circular Quay

Third, the city is very metropolitan with modern style buildings. Though there are also several old-style buildings that remind me of Europe, like the State Library, St. Mary’s Cathedral and a few hotels.


Royal Botanic Gardens

Β  Β  Β  Β 4. Fruits and veggies are pretty cheap super fresh!

I’ve done grocery shopping at Woolworths (or Woolies) twice and am satisfied! The veggies and fruits are fresh and actually cheap!! I bought 1kg of bananas for only AU$ 1,97 and mixed salad veggies (300gr or approx. 4 meals) for only AU$ 3! So, unlike in Jakarta, healthy food is not a luxurious thing in Australia πŸ™‚


Well, since I have been here only for 4 days, I think that’s all I’m going to share for now. I am thrilled to see what I’m going to discover next. So, make sure you follow my blog and my instagram: @ariesalie to wait for my stories πŸ™‚