So, you got your Australian parent visa after decades of waiting. You can finally be with your children, see your grand kids grow up first hand, and actually walk inside the Sydney Opera House (because you are tired of just seeing it in postcards).
And then suddenly, you are barreled by the unforeseen and small details of being a senior stranger in a foreign land. Yes, there are certain adjustments you need to do as a migrant and these changes widely differ from the younger folks.
We detailed some of the adjustments for you so you can know what to expect when you step your foot on the Lucky Country.
Long plane trips were already a bane when you were young, and it will be more challenging now that you are in your senior years. For someone who likes to move those leg muscles, sitting in a cramped space for six (if you are from the United States) to nine hours (if you are from an Asian country like Japan), is punishing.
Australia is an island continent isolated by ocean from most territories. So no matter where you came from, the flight would be a long haul. So prepare yourself.
And speaking of isolation…
This problem isn’t limited to Australian migrants alone, but to all people who are starting a life abroad.
You spent a better part of your life in your home country. There, you made connections and relationships that have stayed with you and contributed to your identity. Suddenly severing these ties because you have to migrate and live in Australia for good is no easy task.
In your new land, you won’t have anybody to immediately connect with. It will take a while before you make new friends. And what’s worse, the feeling of homesickness will hit you, as you scramble for your friends’ embrace, touch, and warmth and you won’t find them. It would be extremely lonely.
Given, social media is everywhere, but most of the time, it does more damage than recuperation. But there are steps to survive being lonely abroad. You may check this article for some tips.
Is a full English breakfast your ideal morning fuel? Or is chicken masala your go-to midday snack? How about Kimchi rice? We turn to comfort food to drive away stress and connect with our culture and identity further. More than beating the pangs of hunger, it makes us sane, too.
However, there won’t be much of your favorite food in Australia. The country has its own repertoire of dishes and recipes that will may or may not take time for you to like. If ever you were able to cook one of your local dishes, it would be very expensive. You may visit some of the cultural enclaves in the country, however, to connect to your own culture.
If you enjoy Doctor Who, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead back home (like three-quarters of the people in your social media), prepare to bid farewell to these TV shows. As you may not see them anymore due to the great disparity in the lineup of TV shows in Australia, especially in Netflix.
Australia’s Netflix library currently has 1,300 shows in its arsenal, that’s compared to the US’ juggernaut list of 8,500 shows. So if your favorite ones fall to any of the seven thousand shows (that’s the disparity), you need to rethink your options for entertainment.
This is a common knowledge in Australia already. The weather can be erratic, unpredictable, and even weird. And this varies depending on which city you are in. On your first day in the country, be sure you are prepared for the worst. The sun can be shining glaringly or there’s a thunderstorm the moment you step outside the plane. And even this can change at a moment’s notice.
If you are from the United States, Burma, or Libya, there will be big adjustments as as how your shopping items will be weighted, packed, or bottled. That also goes the same as to how your car tells your speed. Australia has embraced metrication like around 95% of the world’s countries. The imperial unit is being used only in certain cases like flight altitude.
Australian accent is usually described as rough, a bit of messy, and animated. None of which translates to being “clear.” This comes a bit of a challenge especially if you are not familiar with any Western accents (like you, we also cannot comprehend half of what Russell Crowe is saying).
And the fact that Aussies can fill an entire book with their slangs doesn’t help either. Australians are notorious for using words that entirely mean different in the American and UK English. When they say “thongs,” they mean flip flops, not bikinis. A “Barbie” for them is not a doll, but a barbecue. And this insanity could go on forever. Just keep your ears and mind open and you should be able to get a grasp of what they mean. Probably.
We know, sometimes the only way to get out of all of these chaos and confusion is to grab the wheel and just drive away your stress. However, if you are not from New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Japan, or any of the 55 countries that drive on the left side of the road, you are in for trouble.
You see, just like switching your writing hand to your less dominant limb, driving on the left is tough. And it takes time, patience, and focus to learn how to do it. Follow these steps for an easy and accident-free learning way to drive the Aussie way.