After so much dedication and get your long awaited visa approved, it is time to pack up and move to Australia. It's both an exciting and scary time, and it's normal to be nervous with such a radical change in your life. But believe us, you will not regret it!
You will be leaving behind good and bad things, but you will be nurturing your dedication in search of a better quality of life for you and your family (or future family).
Leaving your home country and arriving in a new one is not a simple and easy task. You will have many challenges, but at the same time, you will learn a lot, grow and even have fun with all the crazy new things.
We will list here important tips about things you should organise before you leave and upon arrival. In addition, we will also briefly talk about your initial life in the new country. You will need to search for a place to live, learn to get around the city, adapt to a new job or school and connect with the local community.
9.2- Before you go
To start, do as much research as you can about Australia, your new home. It is important to understand things like the weather, costs of living, cultural traditions, work environment's etiquette, etc..
We recommend searching for blogs and youtube channels from people who have immigrated to Australia. You should be able to find this kind of social profiles even from fellow country-mates.
On another note, It is of the utmost importance that you organize and bring all your official documents to Australia. Among the main ones, we can list:
- Birth certificate;
- Marriage certificate (or death certificate of deceased spouse);
- Certificate of birth or adoption of children;
- Educational diplomas;
- Vaccine certificates;
- Medical documents (prescriptions, test results, x-rays, allergies, etc ...);
- Driver's License and/or International Driving Permit (IDP).
The documents must contain their officially translated versions.
Regardless of whether you have already received your visa and/or a successful English test, you should focus on practising and improving the new language you will be using in your new land. The level in the language is decisive for the ease of adaptation in the new country.
It is suggested that you book a temporary accommodation for the first few days in Australia. You can use www.airbnb.com to find entire rooms or real estate for rent, and www.booking.com to find hotels and hostels. Upon arriving in Australia you will have more peace of mind to personally seek out and get to know possible areas you would want to stay permanently.
Similarly, you should hire health insurance for the first few months, which will cover possible emergencies. Your entry into the Australian public health system can take 3 months or more.
You will also need to be ready to enter the job market. Use our tips from chapter 7 and make sure you are authorised to work in your occupation. More details at https://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Work/Work/Skills-assessment-and-assessing-authorities.
Get informed about the school calendar. The dates for tuition, the start of classes and vacations are likely to differ from your country of origin, so it's good to be prepared right away.
Lastly, do not forget to have appropriate clothes for winter in your destination city and to do some research about the general laws of Australia.
For more detailed information, go to http://www.border.gov.au/Trav/Life.
9.3- Arriving into Australia
Welcome to Australia!!! Before enjoying all the fun, you should sort out these things:
- Contact institutions that help immigrants. These are free and provide several ways to newcomers. (More details shortly).
- Submit your application for the Tax File Number (TFN), as you can only legally work when you have one.
- Submit your application for the Medicare health system if you are eligible.
- Sign up for Centrelink.
- Look for a job.
- Open a bank account.
- Memorize the emergency phone: 000
- Enroll in one of the free English courses for immigrants.
- Reseach and visit the suburbs to identify a place to rent or to buy.
- Enroll your child (ren) in a school.
- Research about possibilities of specialisation courses.
- Apply for a local driver's license.
- Find a doctor or clinic you trust for any eventuality.
Some initial stress is to be expected, as there is a mixture of loneliness, homesickness, language barrier and finding employment, among other factors.
It is important that you remain positive and persevering. Try to eliminate all bureaucratic obligations early in the day so that you can devote most of your time to the most important task for the moment: Securing your living costs through a job.
Use the links in the "Support Groups and Entities" section and contact as many people as possible. There are good chances you will find someone willing to help you in addition to great friendships.
9.4- Australian culture
Australia is a country of immigrants with a great mix of cultures and customs, but in general, the Australian identity is formed by social equality, the outdoor lifestyle, personal freedom, simplicity and humour.
The country is based on equality and formally has no class distinctions, which creates an atmosphere of peace and unity. The culture is also defined by the strong Aboriginal heritage and thriving artistic life.
In general, the typical Australian lives the "no worries" lifestyle - he/she works hard enough but believes in a good work-life balance. The beaches are often crowded, people practice a lot of sports and there is always a cultural event going on.
Australians like to abbreviate long names and use several local slangs. Some examples are:
Arvo - afternoonAussie - AustralianBarbie - BBQ/barbeque
Bloke - man/guyBoardies - board shortsBrekkie - breakfast
Brizzie - BrisbaneG'day - good day/helloGoldy - Gold Coast
Mozzie - mosquitoNo worries - no problemRoo - kangaroo
Snags - sausagesSunnies - sunglassesTelly - TV
Togs - swimsuit/bikini
In general, most Australians are laid back, open and very direct. Some tips:
- When introduced to someone, offer your right hand for a handshake and look into the eyes (no kisses and hugs).
- Make room for the other people in a conversation to express themselves and avoid physical contact (very common in latin cultures, for example).
- The most used greeting is "howyadoin" ("How are you doing?").
- Do not be surprised to see barefoot people in supermarkets, for example. There is a very strong and casual beach culture.
The Artistic expressions and the literature are influenced by the European style, although the country has developed a strong national identity from 1890 onwards which is recognised internationally nowadays. Australia is one of the countries with the highest rate of spending on books and magazines per capita.
The cuisine is extremely multicultural and the Australian Chefs are known for mixing European style with Asian products and spices.
The country also has one of the most efficient agriculture systems in the world, producing high-quality fruits, vegetables and grains. It is still a major wine producer.
Australians love their sports and it is common to follow the finals of major tournaments, even if they do not watch the sport on a daily basis.
9.5- Support Links
- Help with the language - https://www.tisnational.gov.au/en/Help-using-TIS-National-services;
- Help to settle down - https://www.dss.gov.au/settlement-and-multicultural-affairs;
- Department of Human Services - https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/subjects/help-refugees-humanitarian-entrants-and-new-arrivals;
- Finding a place to rent or buy: https://www.realestate.com.au, https://www.domain.com.au/;
- Finding a place to share: https://flatmates.com.au/;
- Apply for your Tax File Number (TFN): https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Tax-file-number/Apply-for-a-TFN/;
- Popular banks: https://www.commbank.com.au/, https://www.anz.com.au/personal/;