After growing up in South Africa, we decided it was time for a change and made our way to Australia. It is better than we could of ever imagined and are enjoying every minute in the land down under! And I blog all about practice tips to immigrate - ...
Where are you from, Rosy, and what are you doing nowadays?
I come from South Africa. I am a qualified dietitian and was practicing in a clinical setting in South Africa. I am currently involved in the sales of medical equipment.
Why did you choose to expatriate to Australia?
Australia really appealed to us for so many reasons. Obviously, the promise of good weather brought us to Australia. Australia is also very safe and has a low unemployment rate. We also believed that the country had a good work life balance.
As a South African national, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?
The procedures where very lengthy and many. But we were lucky enough to be able to complete it all online. Some of the procedures that were required for us to receive our permanent residency - was to prove our qualifications and our ability to speak English. We also had to go for criminal record checks and medical tests before our visas were even approved. It did take us a while but it was all worth it in the end.
How long have you been in the country?
We arrived in May 2015, so for nearly 6 months.
What has attracted you to Melbourne?
Definitely the low unemployment and the prospect of finding a job.
What has surprised you the most at your arrival?
How clean Melbourne was and how many MacDonalds we could find. From the moment we arrived, we loved Australia and we knew we had made the right decision.
Was it difficult to find accommodation? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?
I had already booked accommodation when we were back in South Africa. We booked hotels and backpackers to stay in, but there was a large variety of accommodation to choose from on the Internet. It was very simple to book and we just paid via credit card.
Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?
I am working in the medical field in a sales-orientated role. It took us longer than we wanted to to find work, around 2 or 3 months. Ideally, we thought we could find a job sooner. But then again, 2 or 3 months is not that bad. As an expat, you have no contacts and all your references are in another country, so it does take a toll on your career. Besides, you have to work your way up the ladder again.
How do you find the Aussie lifestyle?
We love the Aussie lifestyle. The people here are friendly and they work and play hard!
Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?
It has been very easy for us to adapt to the country and society. There really wasn't any culture shock for us and nearly every Aussie we have met has wanted to lend a hand and has been friendly.
What does your everyday life look like in Melbourne?
Everyday consists mostly of work. But on days when we have good weather, we will go for a walk with our dog, make it down to the beach and hang out with friends while having a barbeque.
Any particular experience in Australia you would like to share with us?
Just how friendly Australians have been. We really have only experienced positive things from the country and its people.
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Melbourne? Is it easy for an expat to live there?
When bringing over South Africans' rands, living in Australia is extremely expensive, but that is just because of the exchange rate. Once you are earning dollars here, the cost of living is fine. We stay in a regional town, so rent is affordable, which helps to decrease our cost of living.
How do you spend your leisure time?
There is just so much do here that it is hard to find time for it all. During our free time, we enjoy playing and walking our dog (which we brought with us from South Africa). We also like to catch up with friends and spend time relaxing and trying new and exciting food.
Your favorite local dishes?
I love all the different cuisines in Australia, especially the Thai influence.
What do you like the most about the region?
The people and the sheer beauty of the countryside and cities in Victoria.
What do you miss the most about your home country?
Family and friends from home would be the biggest thing I miss. I also miss the weather - longer summers and the thunderstorms from back home.
Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Australia?
Persist in getting a visa and finding a job. Once those two things are done, it is smooth sailing!
What are your plans for the future?
To build a life here and work hard in our careers. We will look into buying property in the future. We also we want to explore more of Australia.