Calling Australia home

Some sage advice for new migrants keen on becoming Aussie-fied

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It takes time for migrating families to settle into their new home. Besides the sights and sounds, the people are different, the culture is different and while the mind is challenged in adjusting to the new system, in most cases, there is also a strong desire to make a success in the new continent.

Sydney Harbour.IndianLink

There is no single way to call Australia home – it will depend on a number of factors. These can include your age, gender, family responsibilities and/or educational levels at the time of the big move, but there are some common denominators one could perhaps take into account.

First, recognise that there is a system in place in Australia which allows you to self-govern. Be it the tax system or the road traffic system, the oversight may be minimal. While in India, there may be opportunities to get away in case of misdemeanours, here in Australia, the system allows for little flexibility.

Recent examples of drink driving and accidents caused by new migrants is a case in point. Recognise that speed limits do serve a purpose and have been set after years of research to determine what should be a safe limit.

No doubt modern cars have the capacity to far exceed the limits, and as new migrants drive on the far superior quality roads here, there is a temptation to test these limits. Miscalculations have led to disastrous results.

To fully enjoy your new home, make an effort to integrate into the local way of life. Adopting a local sporting team – in the AFL or NRL or FFA or even BBL – allows one to better understand and be part of the local passions.

It will help around the office coffee machine or at after-hours drinks to be knowledgeable about local TV shows, whether MasterChef or Offsprings or Neighbours or Rake or Q and A.

Volunteering at the local school or sporting clubs will only facilitate a better understanding of the suburban lifestyle.

Professionally, learn about the system. Yes, there may be glass or bamboo or other ceilings and limitations. You could use these as excuses for your limited ambition, or as a motivation to perform even better and break through. Surround yourself with people who have similar ambitions and learn from them.

Start your financial journey sooner rather than later. Whether planning to buy a small property or a share portfolio or adding money to Super, think about the strategy and then make it happen. Ask professionals or friends to verify what you have in mind and then start the process.

Do not criticise or look down upon the way of life and culture in your new home. It is without doubt different to what you have been used to, but that does not mean your way is superior. Over time, you must learn to pick and glean the best from both worlds.

Pick up a hobby. New migrants often comment that Australia has a better work-life balance, and yes, it is easy to be seduced into actually doing nothing other than work and home/family/friends. But make an effort to enhance your lifestyle: enjoy the opportunity to learn new skills or pick up pastimes to give your life an added dimension.

Learn the Australian national anthem. You owe that to your new home.

And minimise using the phrase “back home” – you have by choice, decided that this, here, is home.

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Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.