10 Things I’ve Learned After 10 Years In Australia

things I’ve Learned After 10 Years In Australia

Having lived in Australia for over 10 years now, it’s about time I wrote this blog, before we hit our 11th Aussieversary.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned after 10 years in Australia.

10 Things I’ve Learned After 10 Years In Australia

1. You Have To Put Yourself Out There

Truly integrating into a new country, whether it’s Australia or anywhere else in the world, is to put yourself out there.

Meet new people. Say yes to every invitation. Widen your network. Open your mind and heart to new experiences and people.

Don’t just stick to meeting other people from South Africa (or wherever you are from). There’s a whole world of people out there ready to embrace you! I wrote a whole post about how to make friends in Australia too.

2. Not Everything Here Wants To Kill You

Yes, we have venomous snakes and giant spiders and seemingly a million other terrifying creatures not found in most other corners of the world.

But the chances of you encountering them all on a daily basis is highly unlikely. Well, maybe if you’re in tropical Queensland it’s a bit more likely, but still.

And while there are lots of animals that COULD kill you, most of them would rather escape than attack you.

So don’t let the thought of spiders as big as plates jumping on you put you off coming here, either on holiday or to live.

3. You Are Responsible For Your Own Happiness

Repeat after me.

You are responsible for your own happiness.

It is not up to your partner, child, parent, boss, friend, colleague to make you happy.

It is up to you. Your attitude everyday will determine your mindset and happiness. And the only person who can set (or reset) your attitude is you.

Now I am NOT saying you need to go through life believing everything is sunshine and roses all the time. You will no doubt have good days and tough days. The key is to not let the tough days bring you down for too long.

Have a strategy in place to deal with the tough days – a walk on the beach, treating yourself to your favourite snack, getting lots of hugs from your kids – whatever you need to get through those harder times.

4. Things Don’t Always Go The Way You Planned

Be prepared for things to go ‘wrong’. Not everything proceeds on a straight line when it comes to moving country and setting up a new life.

You might take ages to settle. You might not love the first house you rent. You might not enjoy your job as much as you had hoped. You might take longer to meet people and make friends.

But it’s important recognise that sometimes the ‘wrong’ things actually lead us to more beautiful destinations. Getting fired actually turned out to be the greatest gift I could have been given (although it certainly did not feel like it at the time!). Don’t let seemingly negative events get you down – work through it, pick yourself up and make a new plan.

5. You’re Stronger Than You Think

Always, always remember that you are stronger than you think.

Times will come around that will no doubt challenge you and your resilience. In our family we’ve faced things like redundancy, being fired, and starting a business from scratch. All of those events had the potential to derail us but you know what, it made us stronger than ever.

However, with a good support network around you, and your chosen coping strategies ready to spring into action, you can get through whatever emigration and life throws at you.

6. Choose Who You Surround Yourself With

It’s vital to surround yourself with the right people. Now, you won’t know who your tribe is from day 1, but the only way to find your tribe is to connect with as many people as possible.

The more people you meet, the more it will become clear to you who your core tribe of people really is.

Having the right group of friends to support you through the ups and downs of building a new life in Australia is absolutely vital to finding happiness down under. No man (or woman!) is an island.

7. Homesickness Will Come & Go

This is one thing I’ve learned over the last 10 years. Homesickness never really goes away forever.

We might just feel it more or less at certain times.

Christmas and birthdays are the obvious times where homesickness raises its head. For me personally, it’s whenever I hear the national anthem before a Springboks rugby match – that always hits me right in the feels.

8. It’s OK To Ask For Help

No matter how long you’ve been in Australia, whether it’s 10 minutes or 10 years, it’s ALWAYS OK to ask for help.

Small things, big things, all the things – if you need help, don’t keep quiet, ask someone.

Australians, and other emigrants, will almost always say yes, to whatever you need help with. I’ve been witness to random acts of kindness, support networks, and human kindness since we arrived. Never feel like you have to manage everything on your own.

9. Home Is Where You Make It

If I’ve learnt anything in the last 10 years, it’s that home is where you make it. Yes, it might take a while to settle, and sometimes you may need to move suburbs, cities or even states.

But wherever your emigration takes you, try your best to make it a home. For some people that means having up their favourite artworks, displaying their books, designing a cosy corner just for you to relax in, or creating a pretty garden or patio to escape to.

Familiar smells can make your house feel like home as well. The sight and smell of fresh flowers can evoke familiarity – I love having proteas in the house for this very reason. Cooking your favourite foods makes your house smell like home too. Scents are strongly linked to memories and can evoke positive emotions that make you feel safe and comforted.

10. Always Be Kind

This should really go without saying, but remember to always be kind.

Be kind to others because you never know what other people are going through. Everyone has a different journey and experience, and it is not up to you or anyone else to judge them because of it.

The whole reason I started my Facebook group, out of which this site was born, was due to the unkindness I saw daily on other South African groups, and I knew there had to be a safe space for emigrants to connect with each other.

And be kind to yourself – because emigration is not a walk in the park. It’s probably one of the toughest things you can choose to undertake so when you’re having a bad day, be kind to yourself.

And remember, it’s always darkest before the dawn.

About Author

Helping you move to, settle in, and explore your new home in Australia. Avid reader, beach lover, and horse addict. As someone who has emigrated, not once, not twice, but three times, I know exactly what you’re going through. The ups and downs of emigration are faster than a rollercoaster and I’ve been there – three times!

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