Where are you from, Chandan, and what are you doing nowadays?
Friends call me Chandu. I'm from India and I'm currently living in Adelaide, South Australia. I used to work in the BPO sector back in India. I'm now working for an IT company here in Adelaide and I'm happy with the job.
Why did you choose to expatriate to Australia?
I chose Australia because it's a peaceful place with no crime rate and it never comes up in news with scary stories.
As an Indian national, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?
I moved to Australia on a Permanent Resident visa, so applying for the visa was pretty much simple. I just had to follow all the rules framed by immigration. It's the normal standard process. Anyone can apply if they have the relevant work experience and if their skills are listed in the skill occupation list.
How long have you been in the country?
For 2 years, but it feels like I have arrived recently. If turned back, 2 years are gone.
What has attracted you to Adelaide?
Adelaide people are awesome, friendly and very helpful. Beaches here in Adelaide are beautiful along with some or the other events happening throughout the year. The place is small, less crowded, making it easy to drive around and reach any part of the city in not more than 30 minutes. It's really a peaceful place to stay.
What has surprised you the most at your arrival?
The surprising and shock I have gone through after I arrived was to know that mostly everything shuts down by 5pm, early dinner which I wasn't used to (as people have their dinner around 6 and hit bed). But most people make use of the quality time to spend with family, friends, go out for a drive, hit gym or stay cozy at home. Time is well maintained and used properly.
Was it difficult to find accommodation there? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?
Finding accommodation isn't that difficult. There are various websites where you can check out property for rent. Initially, if you have some friends or contacts, they would definitely help you stay somewhere or set up a suitable place. I stayed in a shared accommodation for one year and had no problem at all. We have all suitable accommodation here: sharing, individual rooms, 2 bedroom units, short stay accommodation. Depending on the length of stay, accommodation can be found accordingly.
What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?
This is the most important thing for an expat: finding work. Initially, everyone has to go through the rough phase in finding how to make contacts and get the leads to apply for jobs. I would not say that it is very difficult too. Everyone has to understand that once you enter a different country, they have their own priorities and it takes time for expats to understand that. Few take it positively and end up in a job soon or later. Many get demotivated, lose hope and try not to do anything and stay negative, resulting in failure. They then start talking negatively about the job market. But overall, expats need to have hope and live with positive thinking to be successful.
How do you find the Aussie lifestyle?
Chilled out is all that I can say.
Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?
Oh yes, it's been pretty easy. Initially, everyone faces some problem or the other, with the food as they are used to eating a variety of food back in the home country. After coming here, they find that expensive or don't find them at all. But slowly, if mingled with the community, one will get to know what needs to be done. Since people here are very friendly, one will not have an issue. Having said that, I would not say that its 100% safe everywhere. There are black sheep everywhere around the globe, so just look at good side of things and move on.
What does your everyday life look like in Adelaide?
Everyday life isn't that busy. I go to work and come back in the evening. Then I go out for a walk and do some cooking on coming back. I really enjoy the company of my house mates. We go for outings during weekends and enjoy the night life every now and then. We enjoy going out for long drives and over all its peaceful here. Everyone is busy in their own routine, but when gathered we have a lot of fun.
Any particular experience in the country you would like to share with us?
The country welcomes everyone here. The assistance provided to newcomers is just awesome. There are many organizations helping people to settle initially and they do this voluntarily, spending their quality time for the society. I am myself involved in many volunteering activities and made good friends from there.
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Adelaide? Is it easy for an expat to live there?
Adelaide is not expensive as the bigger metros like Sydney or Melbourne. As soon as the dollar income starts, it would be all good with savings. Yes, initially it would be a bit difficult as we convert currency to dollars.
How do you spend your leisure time?
Photography! I enjoy clicking photographs, so I got myself enrolled in many photography meet-up groups and spend some time with them. Hence, whenever I go out my camera follows me.
What do you like the most about the country?
Nothing in particular, but I enjoy my workplace, my friends' company, nature and wildlife overall, making it a peaceful place to live in.
Your favorite local dishes?
Nothing again. I eat whatever I like. I try all the cuisines every time I go out.
What do you miss the most about your home country?
The three F's: Family, Friends and Food.
Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Australia?
Definitely, get in touch with expats here and get a check list of things that you need to bring and those you don't. Most of them would reply and help you out. It seems simple, but there are few things which are really important to know from expats living here in Australia. For example, the driver's license: in most countries, if the name is lengthy they cut short the name on the driver's license and it would be different to the one on the passport. So when you try to apply for an Australian driver's license, it becomes a bit difficult for the authorities here to grant a license though the date of birth and photo matches. Hence, you just need to get a letter notarized from the Notary Advocate stating that both names are the same when expanded and that will help. Few things really help once you have contacted the expats.
What are your plans for the future?
Settle and grow in professional terms.