Adapting to Life in Australia

Tuesday, 9 August 2016
A few months ago I was contacted by another blogger to write a piece detailing what it was like to move to Australia. They requested I describe various aspects one might not think about such as transport, types of visas, and finding work. Sadly, the piece has yet to be posted to the website. I did not want my hard work to go to waste, so it is time I share:

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The first post I ever wrote was about picking up my life in the US and moving to Australia. It was just a brief post about what I found to be some of the harder things to adjust to. Since moving here, I've had various friends and acquaintances mention that they would love to move to a foreign country but are often too scared to do so. I haven't lived in other countries, but I feel that now I could adequately prepare someone who wanted to live in Australia. Here are some of the things one might not think about when moving to Australia:

1. Entering the country...legally!
Be forewarned... NOT ALL VISAS ARE CREATED EQUALLY. This is incredibly important to factor into your decision before moving to Australia. There are a variety of visas options, but they do not all allow you to do the same thing. First, you should figure out what you want to get out of your time in Australia. Is this a permanent move? Short term? Studying? Or Traveling? It is crucial to look into the stipulations that may be added to your visa. Some do not allow you to work full time, and others do not count towards PR. This is why it is so important to know your reasons for wanting to be in Australia. It is also crucial to make sure that all paperwork is done correctly for the visa. Any little mistake could cause the visa to be rejected, and Australian visas are NOT CHEAP!

2. Oh, the weather outside is weather...
It was sunny about 15 mins before this.
For some reason, America paints this pretty picture of Australia that the weather is beautiful all year round, just like in Southern California (or that the whole country is desert and trying to murder you). I can't speak for other cities in Australia, but Melbourne does not follow this rule. Melbourne can LITERALLY experience four seasons in a day. I thought I would be able to pack away my winter wardrobe but nope...even in the middle of summer, there are days that I need to pack a jumper it's so cold. One of the first times I visited Melbourne, my mates and I had a barbie and within a four hour time frame it went from being roughly 12C, to raining, to 26C, and then super windy.

3. How the heck do I get around?
Compared to where I was living in Southern California, public transport here is the greatest thing in the entire world! I thought I would never need a car living in Melbourne. If I didn't have to travel for work this would have been true. Public transport is very accessible here but it is not without its faults. The only negatives about the public transport in Melbourne is that transport is often running late and that there is no link between the east and the west. You must travel into the city via train to get from the North to South/East to West/etc. There are a few apps that can be used in Melbourne to help figure out which route is the best to take. PTV is great for letting you know which route to take but it often does not update on delays or closures to the lines. TramTracker is an app that can be used to figure out how far away your tram is. I've found it to be incredibly unreliable so honestly I do not use it. It can be a nice guideline though.

4. Cost of Living

Everyone complains that everything in Australia is extremely expensive. I honestly don't agree with this. Yes there are some things in Australia that are way over priced but most, after the exchange rate, are extremely similar to what I was paying in Souther California. My biggest suggestion for not spending heaps of money... adapt to the culture. Yes I often crave certain American foods so occasionally I will buy an Arizona Ice Tea or a Butterfinger but they're like $4 for one. It's not worth it. I've found amazing Australia substitutes that have helped curb the cravings for most American foods. USFoods does stock a lot of American goodies if you're desperate to get a little slice of home.

5. Living and Working
Again this one can be slightly tricky depending on the type of visa you're on. Hospitality is always a good field to look in as they're normally willing to hire foreigners no matter the visa. Most industries require you to have your skills assessed to ensure that you are adequately qualified to work in your chosen field. I've heard it can be a painless process but I've run into a few snags. If you're missing some education for your qualification, they will let you know. This way you're able to take the course and start working in your field.

When it comes to a place to live (or even signing up for a mobile phone plan or bank account), Australia requires you to have 100 points of ID. This is compiled of passport ID, state ID, bills, bank account statements, pay slips, etc. If you're looking for a place straight away, your best bet is to look into a share house. Often there are amendments to the lease or ways around the 100 points of ID. Biggest shocker for me was that rent was posted weekly not what it was for the month. Most places will have you pay once a month though. I was shocked when I saw places listed for $250...yea that's per week. Don't fall victim to that false hope.

6. Attitude and Adaptation
Footy...The sport your sport wishes it was

The biggest thing about moving to Australia is your attitude and how willing you are to adapt. I've heard so many people say how miserable they are in Australia. After talking to them, I find it normally stems from them clinging to their home country. It is important to stress that you should not completely lose your culture but it is incredibly important to adapt to your new surroundings. I've found that by taking in all I can about Australian culture whilst still remembering where I'm from has made for an incredibly easy transition to living here. I love living here and I feel like I'm getting the most out of my new life here.

Yes, moving to a new country can be extremely challenging but it is also incredibly rewarding. Moving to Australia has been one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I am incredibly blessed with all the options moving here has brought me. I hope that those who are looking to move to Australia find this post helpful!

And until next time...
Stay Curious!

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