|Living in Australia|
8.9 Individual - In Australia, each person is expected to take responsibility for themselves and we have a strong ethic of volunteering our time to help other people. This may be different to a 'collectivist' culture where you may have been part of a small family group and only cared for the people within that group. Australians are well known for their commitment to local community groups, emergency services, sporting clubs, hobby groups, migrant associations, faith groups, professional associations etc. Make time to be involved in groups outside of your own life/family.
Children have access to a range of health and wellbeing services, starting with Maternal and Child Health visits with newborn babies. Most children participate in organized sport outside of the school curriculum and are also involved in other recreational activities – like scouts, drama, dancing, art, music etc. There are also various child care options although securing assistance outside of normal work hours can be difficult. To be able to support your children, you need to keep your own personal physical and mental health strong – so do not be afraid to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or lonely.
There are many free and low cost public events that you can attend throughout the year in Melbourne. Visit the following websites for more information.
Things to see and do in Melbourne and Victoria
8.10 Judgment - In Australia, you are free to practice your own religion, faith, lifestyle etc, but you must follow our local laws, rules and regulations. The various state police forces are safe places to report a criminal offence and your privacy will be maintained. As a local resident, you are encouraged to report suspicious behaviour.
Australian National Security
Australian Federal Police
8.11 Knowledge - There are many ways to find information in Australia. It is always a good idea to start with an internet search and also a conversation with someone else. It is then necessary to narrow down the extra information you need to collect, do your best to find it and if you need to speak to someone over the phone, have your questions written down so that you do not forget to ask something. Always finish off your questions with 'do you have any other suggestions?' as sometimes there is information that has not been published that would be very helpful to you. For important decisions, make sure that you source information from at least three different sources (preferably unbiased) and if necessary, be prepared to pay for additional advice (preferably by the hour rather than a large upfront fee).
Establishing your telephone and internet connection is very important. You can choose from various providers at:
Credit Card Finder http://www.creditcardfinder.com.au
Car rental booking agency http://www.zoomtogo.com
Internet Connection Finder http://broadbandguide.com.au (the plans in Australia are probably different and may have limitations)
If you do not have an internet connection with Skype, then find a telephone card through a local shop to make cheap telephone calls.
In the city centre, the State Library http://www.slv.vic.gov.au has free wireless internet access and 15 minute or one hour access with their own computers. It is also a nice place to visit.
It is also important to go to the Visitor Information Centre at Federation Square – they have many helpful staff willing to answer questions. http://www.visitvictoria.com
There are many free WiFi internet spots (although it is courtesy to purchase a refreshment or product).
There is also a free Melbourne Greeter Service offering 2-4 hour personal orientation (need to book in advance) http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/greeter
8.12 Love and affection – Some people coming from other countries find Australians friendly but not affectionate – in business meetings, it is inappropriate to greet one another with kisses – a hand shake is usually used (including with women). The amount of personal space that people like to have around them also varies – so it is a good idea not to physically touch other people on trains, at work, socially etc unless they approach you first. If someone says ‘no’ to any personal attention, the other person must respect their choice.
Australians are generally well educated about safe sex (including using a condom and birth control) although there are still people who prefer to wait until marriage before intimate contact. In Australia it is illegal to enter into a polygamous marriage. But the federal government recognises relationships that have been legally recognised overseas, including polygamous marriages. This allows second wives and children to claim welfare and benefits.
8.13 Money - Money can disappear very quickly in a new country. It costs a lot of money to live in short term accommodation, buy all of your meals and survive on savings if you do not find work immediately. It is therefore vital for you to set a financial budget and make every effort to save money wherever you can. Consider preparing your own meals, find share or low cost accommodation until you secure work and keep a record of all the money you have spent in a small diary (you will quickly see where you are spending most of your money and if you have to write down each item, you may be more careful). Always consider low cost options wherever possible and spread out your tourist type activities over the first year rather than the first few months. Find discount stores, only buy what you absolutely cannot live without and consider buying second hand clothing, furniture etc
Open your bank account as soon as possible after arriving (use your Passport for identification).
8.14 Networking – There are so many reasons why you should network in Australia. It is vital for you to establish three different types of networks – social (friends and family), work (within the workplace, the industry and the profession) and personal (your own sport, hobby, interest, faith, recreation etc). If one of these networks becomes unsupportive for a period of time, you then have at least two other networks that can help you. For example, if you are looking for work and not having any success, if you still have good relations with your social and personal networks, you will be able to cope as they still recognize and respect you regardless of the work situation.
Networks provide you with referrals, mentors, opportunities, support, someone to ask questions, fun, entertainment, etc – but it can take time to create strong networks. It is good for newcomers to maintain old networks (by keeping in contact at least three times per year) and create new networks (but in Australia, this may take some time and perseverance). Most people find that after they find their first friend, many more come along. It is best to connect with people who have similar interests, values and passions in life who live close by but it is also good to meet people who are different and can expand your awareness.
Networking World – portal to networking groups
Social and Business Networks
Gumtree http://www.gumtree.com.au (free classifieds)
Do an internet search for your interest area and then use the words ‘Association, Australia’ and see what comes up. You may also like to search by your country name and also look for blogs, forums, Twitter posts etc