When you start to plan your move to Australia, you’ll be looking up information about the country and what life here is really like, probably at every opportunity you can get.
These days it’s so easy with smart phones and social media – you can pretty much find anything you want whenever you want. This can sometimes lead to an information overload! So how do you know what’s accurate and what’s just made up gumpf?
Unfortunately, it’s not always as clear cut as someone being right or wrong. Everyone who goes through the migration process will have their own unique experience which is completely shaped by their immediate environment, attitudes, support systems and life experience.
Just because one person said they love it here and they settled in really easily, doesn’t mean that’s what everyone experiences. And that’s perfectly OK. I often see people asking questions like ‘Someone told me 8 out of 10 South African families who migrate to Australia end up moving back to SA, is that true?’ or ‘How long will it take for us to settle in?’ or ‘Should I wait until the end of the school year before we move our family over?’.
No one can give you the right answer to any of these questions (well maybe the first one, as that just sounds like nonsense to me!). Your migration experience is what you make of it. Nothing more, nothing less. It’s not the wrong way or the right way, it’s just your way.
So in an effort to help you dispel some preconceived ideas about moving to Australia, let’s look at some common misconceptions about moving to Australia.
1. I’ll Find A Job Easily
This is a tough one. The job market at the moment is incredibly tough. Unemployment is relatively high and the mining sector is taking a dip. But it’s all swings and roundabouts – what goes up must come down. So don’t get hung up on giving yourself a deadline to find a job. It may take 2 weeks or it might take 6 months or even longer.
Come prepared and with the backing of enough funds to survive as long as possible with no income – plan for the worst and hope for the best.
2. It’s All About What You Know
Nope. It’s all about WHO you know. Here in Perth especially, networking and making connections is crucial to finding employment. So you’ll need to get out there and sell yourself, make connections with people to have the best possible chance of securing employment. Read my post about how to find a job in Perth for some helpful tips.
3. It’ll Be Easy To Make New Friends
One of the hardest things about moving country is starting over when it comes to friendships. If you have young school age children, you’ve got an easy way in by meeting other parents at school pick up and drop off – but as they get older, this gets harder and harder. If you haven’t got children it can be even more isolating and difficult to break into new friendship circles. Take a look at one of my most popular blogs – 13 Ways To Make New Friends When You Migrate To Perth for some help with this area.
4. It’s Hot All The Time
Nope! Winter can actually get pretty chilly, down to teens in the day and single digits at night. But the worst part about winter is that the houses here are designed to keep cool, so in summer they stay cool but in winter they are freezing! If you have a home with a gas point then please do yourself a favour and get a gas heater. They can cost well over $1000 new but there are always ones on Gumtree which are in great condition for a few hundred dollars and it will make sure you get to stay warm in the cooler months.
5. I’ll Be Happier When I Live In Australia
Yes and no – with any international move there are stresses and strains. Some of these ease off after a few weeks, some after a few months, some after a few years, and some may never go away at all. Being able to feel safe and secure in your new home (compared to South Africa anyway!), letting your kids ride their bikes in the streets, eating fish and chips on the beach watching the sunset – these are the things money can’t buy and can help towards a sense of happiness. But there are always downsides to moving overseas. You’ll likely be far away from friends and family and adjusting to a new environment. Remember that it is OK to feel down or sad sometimes – you aren’t going to feel like you’re on Cloud Nine every day. Just try not to let those feelings take over. Find the small things that you can be grateful for each day as these will help to get you through the tough days.
6. I’ll See Snakes And Spiders Everywhere
Shockingly enough this just isn’t true. Seeing snakes and spiders is really not an everyday occurrence (unless you live somewhere really rural perhaps) yet so many people are put off from moving to Australia because of this. If you’re going to be living in a major city then you probably have very, very low chances of even seeing a snake. Spiders are more common but they aren’t all 6ft long and going to eat you!
7. It’s So Expensive To Live In Australia
This is all a matter of perspective. Remember once you’re earning dollars, it’s useless to compare costs of living with South Africa or the UK or wherever you’ve come from. The one expense that is costly here is rent/mortgage payments. Try not to let these eat up too much of your monthly earnings as there are lots of other bills that need paying too – gas, electricity, water, insurances, groceries, fuel, mobile phones, internet, shire rates, and much more (especially if you have kids!). If you’re good at budgeting, you’ll make it work. You can read more about the cost of living in Perth here.
8. I’ll Have A Better Work Life Balance
When we were still in the UK, we used to watch a TV show called ‘Wanted Down Under’. It took families who were undecided about moving to Australia and sent them to an Australian city for a week or so to show them what life down under would really be like. The one thing that pretty much everyone talked about was having a better work/life balance if they moved to Australia. However in reality, your work life balance is much more out of whack here than any other country I’ve lived in (and I’ve lived in 3!). We’ve never worked harder in our lives since we moved here! Don’t move to Australia expecting to be able to clock off at 3pm every Friday and head for after work drinks. That culture might exist in some companies but I haven’t come across any yet! You’re expected to work insanely hard, probably longer hours than you may be used to (it’s all relative though to your personal experience) and you may well be spending hours commuting each day too.
If you’re still in the process of moving to Australia, read some of my other posts – 8 Awesome Places To Get Advice About Moving To Australia and this one which is about whether you should ship your furniture to Australia.