If you’ve ever moved city or country, you’ll know just how hard it can be to settle into a new place. But just like the Boy Scouts, you can be prepared!
I’ve chatted to a few other bloggers in Australia who’ve made the move down under from all over the world and got their insider tips for migrants on how to settle into a new life in Australia.
Tips For Migrants On How To Settle Into A New Life In Australia
Solène Anglaret – Be Beyond Borders
My top tip to make settling in Australia a smooth and enjoyable experience is simply: go out there and meet people! Truth is the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find likeminded folk who will quickly become your friends. With them, you will hang out, discover new places, travel all over the country and beyond. Next thing you know, thanks to them, this new and foreign country will begin to feel like home.
That’s all well and good but meeting people can be both daunting and challenging, so how should you go about it? Well, start by making a list of whatever it is you like to do: sports, arts, going out, etc. then find groups of people who have the same interests and join their events! A great resource to find such groups is the website Meet Up.
Find out more about how to meet people and make friends whilst living abroad on Solène’s blog here.
Karen Bleakley – Smart Steps To Australia
One of the most important things you can do when you move to Australia is create a support network as quickly as possible. Saying goodbye to your friends and family at your leaving party is one of the hardest things you will ever do – to create a new friendship group takes time and energy but it is really worth it because friends become your family over here.
There are so many reasons you need good friends in your life – it’s important to have somebody who can lift you up if you get down, someone you can talk to about big decisions, someone who can help in emergencies, and just somebody you can have a coffee or glass of wine and relax with.
If you don’t know anybody where you’re moving, Facebook groups can be a great way to make online connections that can turn into real life friendships. Whether that is migration Facebook groups or local community groups – I’ve seen lots of people posting about moving to a new area and they always get lots of offers to meet up as well as plenty advice about the local area. Many migration groups also organise meet ups where you can meet other families in the same situation as you.
Jo Castro – Lifestyle Fifty
When you first arrive in a new country, join in with everything, and never say no to an invitation. Accept all small kindnesses offered to you as a newbie, and aim to respond in kind any way you can.
Try not to talk about your life in the ‘old country’ to the new folks you meet, unless you’re asked, and definitely don’t lapse into the ‘when we’ syndrome, where everything you talk about is better in the place you’ve come from.
The first 6 months in a new place is often exhausting and expensive, but really lays the groundwork for your future, and I believe it’s a time to use wisely and energetically.
You can read more from Jo over at her blog (she is South African too!) – I love her post about lessons learnt from life abroad.
Bryony Sumner – Coasting Australia
Moving to Australia has to be one of the best decisions we ever made. Coming from the UK it wasn’t a huge cultural leap as many of the things here are quite similar, but there are certain things that definitely take some getting used to!
The main thing for me was the weather. I arrived in Sydney in August and was 100% not expecting it to be cold!!
I’d grown up watching Australian soap operas (Neighbours was a favourite) and I never remember them wearing beanies and scarves. Then at the other end of the scale, my first Christmas in Australia was the opposite experience – I’d never felt so hot in my life! We were in Sydney and there was a bit of a heatwave – the temperature got over 40 degrees. In the UK, Christmas is about indulgence with lots of food and drink.
My first Christmas in Australia I couldn’t face anything but cold water – and ended up at the Christmas lunch sitting in the small paddling pool with all the kids, trying to keep cool! Luckily it didn’t take too long to acclimatise and the next year I was prepared and ready – and found myself enjoying the weather more and more.
My tip to surviving the climate extremes is to know what to expect and prepare for it. Some areas of Australia are hotter than others, Tropical North Queensland is one of our favourite places, but as the name suggests it is very warm all year round – and hot and humid in summer.
If you move to a hot area make sure you have air-con for the summer months and invest in an electric blanket for the cooler time of year as many houses aren’t insulated to keep the heat in.
Olivia Wilson – The Wilsons Of Oz
My advice to all parents looking to up sticks and move with their children would be:
- Buy an atlas, show them the maps, buy a globe, really teach them about the destination. The good bits only, they don’t need to know crime rates, murder statistics or the rising problem of homelessness in your chosen city
- Ask relatives to chat to your children about how they are feeling. Sometimes they don’t like to worry us parents and let’s face it, moving is hard enough without constantly having to sit down and go through it all AGAIN!
- Plan some day trips to look forward to when you arrive. Believe me, you’ll need to get out; let the children kick the living daylights out of each other in the fresh air.
Read more of Olivia’s tips on moving with kids here.
Reeva Cutting – Proudly South African In Perth
As for me, I can only echo what’s been said above already.
Never say no to an invitation for the first year after you arrive. You may not particularly get on with the person inviting you, but you just might meet your new best friend if you go along and put yourself out there.
It’s much easier to make friends if you have kids, and the younger the better. Joining a group of mums with kids entering school for the first time makes it a lot easier to break the ice as you’re all in the same boat.
Social media is also a great place to meet new people as you can try to find people with something in common with you, whether it’s your shared heritage, common interests or anything really. Try to make some connections so you can meet people soon after arriving, even if it’s just for a coffee and to see a welcoming face.
I have hosted some lovely meet ups where firm friendships have been formed so if you head over to my Facebook group and keep an eye out for the next meet up, you might just meet someone who will become a firm friend. Or you can post your own meet up and see who is local and wants to come along!
I’ve got some more tips on how to make new friends when you move to Australia here.