About a month ago I jumped on the plane to head towards the other side of the world that I never thought of visiting. For a total of two months im gonna be based in Sydney to work on a project for frog. I never really had the intention to visit kangaroo Island so I was quite fortunate to get this offer from frog. Well, I was about to come here anyway but having your company paying for the trip is probably not a bad thing and probably one of the most beautiful things in the corporate world.
This blogpost is really just sharing some of my first impressions though.
A colleague of mine described the city as a wonderful mix of London and California. He boiled it down to the essence. On the one hand you have all the old brick buildings that kinda reminds you of the colonial age and on the other side you have the beautiful beaches and national parks around you. I fucking love it! Even though I only have the weekends to explore the city or do day trips to the nature.
Considering it is almost winter, the weather is wonderful warm with 23 degrees which is unusual for this season from what I heard. I guess its getting colder in a few weeks but we are still talking about 10 degrees and a bit of rain but I don’t really mind because then I will be heading back for the wonderful summer in Munich already (maybe I do a little stop over in asia ;))
What I love most about Sydney is the cultural diversity that also brings a huge advantage with it: Food. As a food lover I feel like I’m in one of the greatest city on earth, if it was just not that damn expensive. A night out in a good location can probably cost you around 100 AUD on average. Not the most expensive city though, but still expensive compared to munich.
Before I came here had three things that I associated Australia: 1. Kangaroos, 2. Koalas and 3. Beautiful people with surfing boards.
While Sydney itself doesn’t have any surfers running around, you will see even more of them when you go to the beach which is literally just 20 min by bus away. There are two main beaches in sydney: Bondi which is the most popular and famous one, and Manly, which is more in the north and reachable by ferry. In general life seems to be pretty relaxed here and people are very laid back except in the morning when everyone is commuting to work. Like any other big cities you will see a lot of suits in the morning. But in general I really enjoy the laid back atmosphere in coffees and restaurants. Seems like people enjoy life here more than in other parts of the world.
Since I’ve been here only for a month I cannot really make a proper judgement about the quality of the community. But after talking to a few people I got the feeling that Australia is now picking up more “design thinking” stuff and loads of companies are looking for good talent. Still I have the feeling that most of the time designers are still designing website or mobile applications and projects with great social impact are rare. The “UX” term is big here but I wonder if it’s just A/B testing for websites.
Still, the industry is worth keeping an eye on.
To sum things up, I really like this city, note: not love. I like the diversity and the beautiful nature that sydney has, but if someone would ask me tomorrow if I would move here I wouldn’t be sure about it. Right now I don’t see any interesting work opportunities here except from building the own startup and kicking ass. There are no companies based in Sydney that does similar work to what frog, ideo, designit, etc. and therefore uninteresting for me, but since the design field is catching up quickly in this part of the world, I can imagine that these kind of companies will move into this market quickly.