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  1. G'day All, Seeing as though I have relied quite a lot on this Forum for information and moral support in the time leading up to our departure from SA, I though it might be good to take stock and give some account of our experience since arriving in Brisbane, Australia on 5 January 2019. But first, a short history of how we got here... My wife and I got married in 2010 and ever the years whenever big negative events happened in SA (Nkandla, Axing of Finance Ministers, Ratings Downgrades, Load Shedding, SOE Bailouts, Land re-appropriation policy changes, visits to home affairs etc.) would be inclined to think about emigration and we probably seriously explored the idea about 3 times between 2010 and 2016. Then life events happened (Father was diagnosed with Cancer and the premature birth of our first child) which would then stifle our plans and force us to focus more on the situation at hand. That and the estimated amount needed for a PR visa and related costs of R100 000 and R 100 000 to ship a container was a bit of an issue. That all changed drastically and quickly in September 2018 when my wife was approached by an HR person for a local Australian Engineering company and after we debated it, we decided we have nothing to lose by my wife going through the interview process. A few weeks later, my wife received decent job offer with the company offering to sponsor our Visas, relocation costs, flights etc. and we grabbed the opportunity. After jumping through a lot of hoops, selling our property and cars, cashing in all of our pensions and investments, we got on a plane and landed in our new home, Brisbane, on 5 January 2019 with 2 backpacks, 3 suitcases and cautious optimism... Our first hand account of Life in Brisbane... It seems that most immigrants aim to start their new lives in Sydney and Melbourne with Perth and Brisbane probably being viewed as the second or third choice for some. I must say that the fact that living costs and property prices in Brisbane are much lower than Sydney and Melbourne as well as the fact that there are a lot less people living here which means that roads are less congested is a BIG PLUS in my opinion. The City is also quite small with the CBD probably spanning around 2km so you could walk from one side to the other in about 15-20 minutes but it is by all account a world class city with a lot going for it. We arrived at the Brisbane airport at around 11:30 pm due to a 2 hour flight delay in Sydney due to heavy thunder and missed our booked transfer (Connexion) by around 2 hours. The airport was quiet at that time and we thought we would probably need to get an Uber to transfer us to our temporary accommodation. Luckily the Connexion counter was still open and I asked the person at the counter if there is any chance they could still transport us to our apartment. He said hang on, quickly ran to the minibus driver and came back saying we can hop aboard, the driver will drop us off (All of this without even checking the system if we actually had a booking). So off we went and 30 minutes later, we we are checked into our temporary apartment which would be our home for the first month. Around 01:00 we realised that we needed to urgently get milk for our toddler so we quickly took the lift down and walked to the nearest Seven Eleven which was probably 200 meters from the hotel. We felt absolutely safe and confident to walk alone in the CBD and it is as if we just left the fear at the airport in SA. On the way back we saw two police officers on horses patrolling the streets which also gave a nice warm feeling. We were able to open a bank account from South Africa (over the internet) with one of the big 4 banks and between November and December as we liquidated our assets in SA transferred our life savings and Net Asset value into the account. On the Sunday after our arrival the previous night, we decided to explore the City a bit and to find out where the closest shops were and we ended up at the Queen street mall (not a mall like in SA) where coincidentally there was a branch of the bank we had opened an account with and it was open at 3pm on a Sunday. We had to visit the branch in person to activate the account because before activation, you can only deposit but not transact. It was very painless and quick and we left about 20 minutes later with an active bank account and bank cards for both me and my wife. The next admin issue that was high on our list was to get driver's licenses (Technically this wasn't urgent as I think our SA ones are valid for about 3 months after arrival) but I have a bit of OCD and want my affairs in order so on Monday, we went to the closed department of Transport and Main Roads (there were 3 to choose from all within walking distance). We received a ticket at the entrance and were helped within 10 minutes as well as issued with temporary licenses with a note saying that our Licence cards would be delivered after 21 days to our apartment. I must say when one is used to the type of service from government departments in SA, this is a breath of fresh air and it was my best experience ever dealing with a government department. As promised on day 21, low and behold, our actual drivers cards was delivered to our residence (another breath of fresh air when you are used to SA standards). Our next new experience was going to buy groceries (our first experience was at a Coles but Woolworths is very similar). When you come from SA, you tend to convert everything back to Rands for a while and when you do that, most things are SUPER EXPENSIVE. Other things are similarly priced or even cheaper than SA. For example, we buy 1 kg of Cheese for around $6, Milk for $1 per litre and sliced bread (like Albany) for $1.25 which is close to SA and even cheaper for some items at R10 to the $. Tomatoes vary between $4-$9 per kg but it is dependent on supply and there is a severe drought in Australia at the moment. When we got to the pay points, there was no cashier and we quickly realised that it is self service. They have terminals and clever scales where you scan each item and place it in the packing area and once all the items are scanned, you click pay and tap your card and you are done. Don't remove items from the packing area prematurely though as the scale flags this and you need an attendant to come and unlock the terminal. This happened a lot during our first go and we probably spent 20 minutes the counter to finish our first grocery shopping. Labour here is expensive, I think the minimum hourly wage is $25 so most places require self service. As a guideline I would say one needs to double your Rand Spending to have the same meaning if you spent R 5000 per month in SA for groceries, you could easily end up spending $1 000 per month. Next we needed to experience and figure our how the public transport system works so with a bit of research we figured our you could buy a Translink card (Similar to a Gautrain Card) at any Seven Eleven so we did that and set off for our first experience using the city public transport. We ended up going to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and paid around $70 for me and my wife (Luckily the baby was free) to enter and spent about 2 hours there. It was a lovely experience but it felt expensive as I was still converting the price to Rand and going to the Zoo in SA doesn't cost a couple R700 for entry. The public transport in Brisbane is Amaze-balls and you have a choice of using Trains, Buses or Ferry's all with tapping your Translink card on and off. The people in the buses are also generally very well mannered and they get off their seats in the wheelchair areas to make space if they see you have a baby in a pram (Stroller). You also have other options to get around in the city with Bicycles that you check out an and in to designated areas and Lime electric scooters that you unlock and lock with a smartphone app. The city is lively and buzzing with activity and there are shops, convenience shops, coffee shops & restaurants all over. Technically one does not need a car as the public transport is efficient, safe, clean an reliable but we decided to buy a car for leisure and weekends because it is just a lot more convenient if you are travelling with a baby and have lots of peripherals to take along. Also the public transport is not the best choice after doing your weekly shopping as you will have to physically carry all the bags. If you plan on exploring a bit over weekends and want to go around 50km out of the City, having a car is much more convenient and that is why we decided to buy one. We bought a brand new Hyundai Tucson 2.0 TDCi Elite AT for $41 000 which is much cheaper than what you would pay for in SA, when I checked the equivalent in SA would cost about R 580 000. So cars here are a lot cheaper. Fast food and any restaurant food is quite expensive (when you convert it to Rand). As an example, a meal a McDonalds of Burger King that would cost R 60-70 would easily cost around $15. My wife and I do take-aways one night a week and pay about $ 30 for the two of us. Eating in restaurants are a lot more expensive though and you could end up paying $30-40 for a main, around $8 per beer and if you include starters and dessert you could easily have a bill of $120-$150 for two in a nice (not fancy) restaurant. Daycare is amazing here, the staff are very well trained and the facilities is just a big notch higher than what is available in SA. Our child went to Opti-Baby in Highveld and it was a good quality school with good facilities and good staff. But here it is just on a completely different level and we have definitely noticed a marked improvement on our son's development since he started going to daycare here. All of this unfortunately does come at a HUGE cost and Daycare is our single biggest expense, more than our weekly rent and much more than our weekly grocery and living costs. We spend a whopping $147 per day on Daycare which means in a year we would need to foot a bill of $38 000 or close to R 400 000. Now if you convert everything to Rand (like I still do) this is just an inordinate amount to be spending on daycare. In SA we would spend 10% of the per year. Things do get better though, when we get Permanent Residence we would be entitled for a government rebate of $ 10 000 per year for daycare so that helps. Private health insurance (Medical Aid) is a pre-requisite of our VISA and we got the equivalent of Discovery's Executive plan (and they even pay for In-Vitro) for around $600 per month for the entire family. Once again if we get Permanent Residence, we would qualify for the national healthcare (Medicare) and would only need to supplement it a little bit with private health insurance. Housing here is SUPER EXPENSIVE and a very average house which would not be anything near to a descent house in South Africa could easily cost $ 700 000 with houses of $ 1200 000 being nothing to write home about. We had a very entry level house in Midstream, South Africa that we sold for R 3 million. For $ 300 000 you will be getting a dump, fix me upper with a lot of work. Gardens here are also very basic and not as nice as in SA because one simply could not afford garden services or an Amos to work in your garden one day a week. The same goes for house cleaning, a cleaner would cost around $30 per hour so it is just affordable to have someone spend a day a week to clean your house and do the washing. That being said, we were spoilt in SA with a cleaning lady that came two days a week and garden services that came once a week all for around R 2 500 per month. Here you do almost everything yourself and although it is something to get used to, it is fine and very possible, everyone does it. We won't be buying a house anytime soon so in the meantime we are living in an apartment in the City that is easy to keep clean and in proximity to most attractions. If you are a professional, you can expect a very decent salary and even if you are not, you can make a good living in Australia doing low skill jobs. If you are married and both of you are working, you can have a very good quality life and would even be able to save and go on plenty of holidays. My wife was obviously sorted with a job when we landed as that is how we got here. I have however also been very fortunate to find a good jobs that pays well within two weeks of landing here so I really can't complain. Now that we are earning in Dollars, we tend to convert things less into Rand and everything doesn't seem that expensive anymore, it is the new standard. I also feel that everyone her has an equal opportunity to land a jobs and there is absolutely no prejudice or preference given to certain race groups when applying for positions. If you have the required skill set and experience that matches a job requirement, you do stand a good chance of landing the job. Also the red tape is cut down to a minimal when starting a new business and work gets awarded fairly not based on any BEE credentials or Nepotism. Everyone has a fair chance to succeed. Also unemployment is like 4 % which really help and I believe is the one thing that SA's government would need to fix before there is any chance of a turn-around in SA. The one caveat of being here is missing the family and at times one does feel very lonely but if you come over as a family, you can give each other comfort knowing that you are in a stable country with a stable economy where your children will have a bright bright future and criminals are actually caught and prosecuted. There is not that constant fear that your life is in danger whenever you leave your house/office and you don't wake up at night when you hear noises expecting the worst. We try and set up regular Skype/Whatsapp calls with our people at home and although it is not the same, this is becoming the new normal for us. I don't regret our decision one bit, we do miss our family and friends but I honestly believe this is the best decision we could have made for us. It is a very personal decision that everyone that is considering to uproot their life in SA should think about, it is not easy, you will go through stages of depression and loneliness but time heals everything. It is possibly the biggest decision you will make in your lifetime so take the time to really consider the pros and cons of staying in SA or leaving and starting a new life. Be very clear about your reasons for leaving if you do decide on that. But when you commit to a decision, commit fully and just do it without regrets and without looking back. Close the old chapter behind you and be open to embrace the new experience that lies ahead. I am grateful for this excellent platform (SAAustralia) as there is a wealth of information and people genuinely make an effort to assist and answer questions would be emigrants might have. If anyone is in the same position where we were 5 months ago and need some guidance or advice, please feel free to reach out to me, I will gladly assist. Thanks everyone, and take care. ZPrinsloo
  2. We packed our bags and everything we owned. All things were a bit helter skelter and last minute and I cannot say well planned or properly thought through. We got on a plane on 26 November, landed in Melbourne midnight Sunday night. We stayed in a one bedroom flat on the fringes of the CDB for the first 12 days. I am glad we did that, because it made the city accessible. We spent the weekends exploring the city. Melbourne CBD is really great, my favourite part of the city. Having stayed in the city means we know the layout of the CBD and came to like it. I started working almost immediately. After our cramped living; 4 people, 10 suitcases, 1 bedroom (the kids slept in the lounge on a sofa-bed) we were fortunate enough to move to a colleague’s house in the posh suburb of Kew. We had to look after their house and dog. It was a stunning house, with a nice living area and outdoor entertainment area with water fountain and lovely garden. It was nice to be able to spread out a bit. The house sitting also came with an offer of a beach house and we went to the beach house between Christmas and New Years. We had a lovely Christmas by the sea. Getting the kids into school was our biggest challenge. We arrived too late for all applications to schools. The state schools have to take you if you fall in their area. They refused to speak to us until we had a house in their area. We spent the first two weeks visiting schools and choosing a school and only once we had a school we were happy with, we started looking for houses in that school’s area. We looked at Coburg as a nice area, but the school in Coburg does not have Arnold’s year. They stopped taking in new students one year and therefore just don’t have that one year. The surrounding schools refuses to take Arnold if we live in the area with the school that does not take Year 10 because we are not in their area. All the surrounding schools are also full, because they needed to accommodate all the extra kids because the other school does not take that year. We therefore abandoned Coburg. We started looking at an area called Essendon and got a house on the edge of the zone for a very good school. One of the best in the state. However, we only signed our lease one day before the schools closed for the December holidays. The school just told us they were full and cannot meet with us. In the mean time, when we just started looking at schools, Francois visited a school called Mount Alexander College. It is close to my work, 2 km, on a tram line, the tram stops right in front of the school. It is a fairly small school, around 500 kids, the others were all around 1000. Francois spoke to the principal, saw a video of the school and sent me a message “This is our school”. He was really impressed. The school is in a not so great (for Australia anyway) socio-economic area and draws a lot of what people here call “immigrant children”. I know, my kids are also immigrant children. What they mean by immigrant children are children who cannot really speak English and struggle in school. I also have a strong suspicion that it is polite speak for black and from Africa. This school's reputation and standardised test results are not that great, they don’t get 100% pass rate and everyone going to university. In short it is not “a good school”. The principal started in 2015 (late) and all the stats you get online stop in 2015. Here is an article describing the school: http://www.kidspot.com.au/school/secondary/real-life/this-school-is-breaking-all-the-rules-and-the-students-are-succeeding The principal keeps talking about all the changes he made. They have a different philosophy about learning. They believe children should be empowered to take control of their own learning. He wants to raise independent learners in stead of spoonfeeding people. The children can choose their own subjects, no restrictions. They can evening do MOOCs and study completely on their own. He also got a lot of money from the government and upgraded some facilities. The school looks good. They do not put children in grades. You are in a class according to your ability. If you are good at maths, you move up to the advanced maths class and if you are bad you take the lower maths class. In other words, the school is not arranged according to grades. My children could theoretically be in the same class if they wanted. Francois and the boys wanted to be in this school and mom wanted to keep looking for a “good school”. Schools closed 19 Dec, we had a house in a good school area and had to wait till late in January for the schools to open again before we could speak to schools. We spent a stressfull month wondering where the kids will go to school. I had applied at both schools. A week before the schools started Mount Alexander or MAC as they call themselves met with us, discussed the boys’ subjects and sorted everything out. The Friday before schools started the good school called us. They said they had to take the kids and will meet with us the day before school starts. We spent a few hours with them. Grade 8 was easy, he does not have much to choose between, basically he had to choose his second language. The options were Japanese and German. Year 10’s subjects would not work out because they had to accommodate the roster and whether classes were full or not. He is a sciency kid and all he could end up with was music, some weird community service thing I still don’t understand, drama, geography, maths and English. This is all the day before school starts. We walked out of there at 3:30 the day before school starts and decided, this is not going to work. So we sent the kids to MAC. They seem very happy there. I have not seen any grades yet, but the school seems good. I like the smaller classes. In some of their classes they are about 10. We are renting a house. House prices in Melbourne is crazy. I cry everytime I compare what I left in Durban with what I have here. A house of $1 mil is nothing special. And that is R10 mil. We have a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom, actual house. It is not too small, rooms are spacious enough (except one). The garden is tiny and we don’t have a garage. We do have a carpark with a roof. Only one. And tiny – so tiny in fact that we have already scratched the new car getting into it. And a laundry room. Not a lot of storage space in the house. We are not supposed to hoard here. When we lived in the city I walked to work, about 25 mins. When we lived in Kew I took the train, about 25 mins and now I cycle to work, about 30 mins. The boys and I leave the house at 8 in the morning, cycle together to their school and then I cycle another 2km to work. At work I have a bike storage area and showers, with hair dryers etc to shower before getting to work. It would take husband an hour to drop us all. We will reassess the cycling when the winter and rains come. What do we think of Australia? The kids answered this question in the beginning that it is just like South Africa. Especially before they went to school, they just had a very long holiday, staying at home mostly, reading and surfing while their mom worked and their dad looked at rental houses. Food wise it is just like South Africa. Because of our shared British roots you basically get all the foods you are used to seeing in the shops. Less spicy Indian, but you can find it if you try. Being close to Asia there are lots of Asian influences, so there are lots of foods we don’t know as well. Some food are really expensive; especially fruit and vegetables, but many others are the same as in South Africa. If you buy seasonally and what is on special groceries will probably cost you what it did in SA. If you insist on buying specific things you could spend a lot more. The food are good quality, the fruit are great. Things are easier. Connecting your gas, electricity, phone etc took almost no time. And all of it worked. People are quite efficient. They like doing things online if possible. Eating out is ridiculously expensive. Ice cream cones cost $6 and coffee is $4. Coffee is really good. I still don’t get ordering coffee. You go to a coffee shop. They post a price for coffee, usually $4. When you order you say you want coffee and they keep looking at you. As if they are asking: please specify. And then you say cappuccino, and they seem happy. It seems that coffee is some collective noun and not a thing on a menu. I have no idea how to get a normal cup of coffee. And I assume cappuccino cost the same as that elusive normal cup of coffee would cost. Coffee is everywhere and quite good. The free coffee in the office is Nescafe gold. The stuff that would have been Frisco in SA. And nobody drinks it. They all rather buy coffee from the coffee shop. What is different: Microwaves cool themselves after they heated the food. The kids wear uniforms to school, but they are much more relaxed than in SA. Girls wear makeup and nail polish, their hair are loose. Boys have long hair. They also look a bit more unneat than we are used to. We were not sure about hair rules and asked both schools when we met. They look surprised that people might restrict hair styles. Their question was “How will they express themselves?” And my kids are expressing themselves. They have not had a haircut since we left SA in November. They really like their long hair and mention that they like feeling their hair move. Cost of things Australia is expensive and Melbourne is expensive. Food prices can be divided into a few categories: Same price as in South Africa: milk, almost exactly the same, canned food (like beans and tomatoes), white bread, beer (some types) Luxury foods that would have been imported in South Africa were often quite similar, for example Lindt chocolates, olive oil, deli cheeses, craft beer, etc. Ridiculously expensive category: joghurt, scoops ice cream (like Mozarts), fruit and vegetables. We ate a lot of fresh fruit and veg in South Africa and I am still shocked at the prices for it here. Sweet potatoes $5 per kg, $5 per mango (they are a bit cheaper now), cherries are like $29, etc. Carrots seem to be fairly cheap. We eat a lot of carrots now. Chips is also much more expensive than back home. Actually cheaper: cream and cheese Expired food seem to be sold on special. I have seen a few really good bargains; that turns out to be food past its expiry date. And it is not like the food expired yesterday, some of it had expired months ago. I do not think shops ever sold expired food in SA. Petrol used to be similar to SA, but got really expensive overnight. It jumped by 20c. Petrol prices differ from garage to garage and seems to change overnight. So we never know whether it would be cheaper or more expensive tomorrow. Cheese here is really nice. Amazing brie, blue cheese, even the cheap Coles brand cheddar cheese is good. Driving Driving is a breeze. My kids say driving here is like playing a video game on easy. Cars move at a slower speed, people give you a chance to change lanes, they stop when they are supposed to stop, nobody tries to overtake you when you are driving on a quite single lane back road. Drivers are polite and give you a gap. Distances take a lot longer than expected. You would drive 10 km in 20 mins, Traffic circles everywhere; even in quiet residential streets and on highways. Robots are red forever. Cycling to work takes about as long as driving. There are dedicated bike lanes for most of the trip to work. If you are on a bike you zip past the cars standing and get to wait at the front of the line at the red lights. Sunsets and sunrise can be truly spectacular, as lovely as in South Africa
  3. Marmotte

    Ozzie life soon to start.

    This might not be the right Topic place to start, as I am not yet in Aus, but would like to use this as a sort of journal to others that would have to go through the same journey. (Please advise if I need to move/split off) We got our 189 PR in Jan 2014, circumstances prevented us from leaving SA to date, but now it is time to move on, although I am doing it alone for now. My wife will join later. So, the plan is to leave at the end of January for Sydney. Obviously many things to think about. My attempt will be sort of similar to vitchie and many others http://www.saaustralia.org/topic/47651-honest-opinions-will-i-fail-or-get-over-my-attitude/?page=0#comment-436947 As I read his post, I could feel the emotions, the doubts to an extent, as we all have been through some form of new experience. That being said, nothing as BIG as leaving your wife and kids behind and heading for a completely foreign country. At least we don't have kids, which makes it less complicated. So with this introduction, I would just like to thank, some long-serving members and other contributors. As I read, once more through the various post's, you just realize all of your participation in so many posts and I salute you for that, cause it is priceless and so is every other member out there who takes time to contribute. Thank you, in no particular order Mara SurferMan HadEnoughofJuju OubaasDik HansaPlease RedPanda Riekie Eva and Jordy site admin and also to all other members for your views and opinions. Where many went there ways (myself) included for some time, you kept the light on. I am going to Aus, knowing it does not come with any guarantees, that I will shed tears, yeah, just because, men should not cry (NOT), with no sense of entitlement. But with Faith in God and a thankful spirit, I dare to try, so that there are a lot less "if only" " I should have at least" To future postings and may the journey continue.
  4. shannonc4

    Beds and their sizes

    Over the last few months, we have been sorting and rummaging through our and have been deliberating on whether or not to take our bed and linen. From what we have been told by family and friends who have gone over, we should not bother taking our bed or linen as the bed sizes in Aus are different. After thinking about this for awhile we decided to do some research as we did some mock on-line shopping the other day and found linen to be hellishly more expensive than RSA. We came to find that it is possible to take over your bed and linen from RSA. For an Australian Single, buy a South African Single For an Australian Double, buy a South African Double For an Australian Queen, buy a South African Queen Extra Length For an Australian Super King, buy a South African King Extra Length All sizes are in cm's, this is a combination of Wikipedia information and from online shops in both Australia and South Africa
  5. Hi All, I have had discussions with family and friends, including some who have migrated (to other places, and to Australia), and gotten back a wide range of views and strategies on the topic of making friends and settling in to the society of the new country. What I would like to ask you guys is this: How easy did you find making friends in Australia? Where did you meet them? Did you make friends with 'the natives' (people born in Australia, or who have lived there a long time), or where/are your friends mostly expats? Do you have children, and do you think that this played a large role in how and who you made friends with? I realise that this is a 'how long is a piece of string' topic, but I would still like to hear what you have to say about it.
  6. Lists are often subjective, but I quite like this list of 30 things you should have done by now if you live in Sydney by Domain. I've been able to do 11 of the 30 in the first year and many more have been on the wish list (day out in Cabramatta, visit of the Everleigh Markets etc) and it offers a broad selection of ideas across various suburbs and might be useful for those also doing LSD or visiting the city. A few of my favourites from those I've done include: 1. Walk through the Queen Victoria Building and The Strand and remember to look up and admire just how lovely those buildings are. 2. Spend an afternoon wandering around the MCA and The Sydney Art Gallery. 3. Ride a ferry all day, with nowhere to go. (Best done on Sunday Fun Days with your Opal Card, $2.50 for all day travel) 4. Hire a bike in Centennial park and idly cycle the entire perimeter, take a picnic and stay for the day. (Spent most of the day in there yesterday, cycling, picnicking and hang with friends.) 5. Walk Bondi to Bronte (after a dip in the sea, even better during the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition). 6. Go to the beach or one of Sydney’s beautiful harbour bays (a couple personal favourites are Watsons Bay, Parsley Bay and Redleaf Pool). 7. Drive out to Palm Beach (better yet, catch a Ferry and camp at The Basin for the night in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park). To round it out here a few not on the list. 8. Take a behind the scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House or take in a concert. 9. Spend a morning reading a book in the Botanical Gardens. 10. Look out over the City from the observation deck of the Sydney Tower. Cheers Matt
  7. Hi all, I was just browsing around and I stumbled over this resource: https://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=6&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDQQFjAFahUKEwjfgrK54trHAhVGWRQKHT6nCws&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.angliss.edu.au%2Fdocuments%2F55-living-in-melbourne-a5-booklet-combined%2Ffile&usg=AFQjCNGcyDY-rUSlgYc4vQTBxEj8adNvXg&bvm=bv.101800829,d.bGQ It's a welcome booklet for studying at the William Angliss Institute, so it's very student orientated, but has a surprising amount of good information in it, including recommended smartphone apps. And it's geared around helping international students settle in, so it also has a few basic 'Culture Shock' pointers. Just thought I'd share it.
  8. Jacques Voogt

    9 Month Update

    After reading RobertWD's Post http://www.saaustralia.org/index.php/topic/43014-we-landed-9-months-ago-perth/, and due to all the PM's I received asking for updates, I figured it's time. For those who are not familiar with our story, we both miraculously managed to secure work before leaving RSA in September 2013. In fact, we had to change our flights to an earlier date to start work. Since then, it has been crazy. Packing, finding tenants, saying our goodbyes, loosing and finding my passport and having to change flights again. (Funny story, reserved for a campfire.) Anyways, we arrived but it was still uncomfortable, because even though we had work we did not know if we would fit in or not. So first few days we did all the mandatory paperwork thingies and bought a car. Then we had some spare time on hand before we had to start. This was not so good with the worry about new work in the back of my head. So I finally started at work and was told that the project is already ages behind. So for the first 6 months or so I was flying up and down to NZ to work with the rest of the team. We sometimes worked 80 hour weeks and the travelling meant we saw very little of each other. Not so good when you need to support and rely on each other but it has calmed down now and I haven't flown for the last 3 months. Between all of this, Ajay helped my cousin with a visa and we had our first family guests a lot sooner than I'd thought. It is really good to have some family over here. I still find myself as one of the first in the office and often also as one of the last to leave but the hours are down to only 45 to 50 a week and I have enough time to still go for a run after work. The extra hours do go towards a time in lieu system, which is really good. Working in the same industry and doing the same thing I was doing back in RSA I do feel that I work a lot harder here for longer hours. It does feel like Aussie employers expect more from each of their employees while RSA employers just hired more employees. My fellow colleagues are also well educated and know their stuff so I no longer have such a unique skill set as I have a lot of competition and everyone seem to have worked with someone else in the industry for a previous employer. So it is definitely tough. The company has been restructuring ever since I arrived and I have seen numerous people leave. Some arrived after me and only worked for 2 months, others had been here for years, so it lingers in the back of my mind that it may happen to me too at some point. On the flip side, we have been exploring, camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, bought a crapload of furniture and electronics we never would have bought in RSA and we still manage to save a bit. I even buy them take away coffees while I know in RSA we would have had a decent breakfast in the mall for 2 for the same amount. We have made one or 2 friends, we sometimes go out together but more importantly we braai, and we will soon be able to make a fire for the potjie on our balcony. We get to run on footpaths through forests and nature trails after dark with the occasional bicycle passing by. Awesome! I entered for Comrades this year, but with all the work, I did not have much time to train. And then the costs for us to visit RSA would be more expensive than to visit UK or USA. Now clearly we have been to RSA before so why spend good money on going somewhere you ran away from. Funny enough, flights from RSA to Aus are 40% cheaper on the same plane on same dates. Anyways, we did not go and figured it would be better for us to bring the parents over in September. I'll be using some of that ample amounts of time in lieu, :-) Actually, at this point in time, I'm not sure I really want to go back to RSA for a holiday or anything else. We miss our family and friends and all the good times we had and it still doesn't quite feel like home yet, but it is getting there. We haven't had any issues with the food here. I think the quality is on par and sometimes better than we had in RSA. We get our Ina Paarmans spices from Coles and our Amarula and mint liqueur from any half decent bottle store. That is pretty much the only things we can't go without. Good spices for the braai and a taste from home. There are criminals here but there are also so many more honest people here. I do sometimes get annoyed when the same murder or attempted murder is on TV for 3 days. Then again, when there are no major crimes to report, the feature story is often a car accident or house fire or even a tiny little lightning storm. What else is wrong with this place? Honestly, I can only fault the cost of housing, cost of entering for races, too little union rugby on TV and maybe this one guy at our local Post Office that is useless.
  9. followmylead

    We arrived

    From the start, I should warn you that our story is not like everyone elses and we have had it VERY easy and have had a very soft landing. I know this, and it may be irritating to some who have really struggled and had to fight to get here. But for those who asked here is our experience so far. On the 14th we drove and hour and a half to Cape Town airport. We checked our luggage with no problem (flights through IOM). We used those plastic 'vendor' bags you see many black folks use. They are dirt cheap. Very strong and weigh nothing. We packed 23kgs in each and shrink wrapped them in the airport which shrunk them to half the size and that made it much easier to transport in the car when we got here. Not very cool, but very practical. As we went through security, my youngest son's plastic snake was confiscated as it posed a security risk?? It was the first time the kids ever flew and my oldest son was really scared- but they all loved the flight. We landed in JHB and had a 5hour stop over. My sister and brother in law met us at Spur and we said our final goodbyes to them and before we knew it, it was time to board. We went through another security check and finally got on the plane. There was some problem with the aircon and it was boiling hot on the plabe - but once we were airborne that was all sorted. The flight itself was very smooth - even if the airhostesses were really unfriendly. The kids were amazing. They watched a movie and then went to sleep. My husband and I slept as much as is possible in a cramped upright position and it was with much excitement that we saw Perth as we landed. We collected our luggage - it was all there. On the card you have to fill in, I declared medication. I had 3 months worth of perscription medication which is a schedule 6. They asked me what it was and I said chronic and they waved us through. And that was it. When we got out to arrivals, we had a whole welcoming committee there to welcome us. We had 3 families that drove the 3 hours to Perth to collect us and our belongings. They had gifts for each of the boys and a car seat for Jordan. After a chit chat and stretch of legs, we all were driven back to our weekend accomodation. There we had another group of people waiting for us with their kids. They stay on a smallholding. The kids all dissapeared and played happily until bedtime. This morning we went to a place called Canal Rock where the kids all had a swim and then we went for icecream. The folks we are staying with have 3 kids and mine have been in heaven playing with them. We had another group of people come around with their families and my kids met more kids who will be in the same class as them. Tomorrow we go to church and then have a sausage sizzle (hotdogs) and all the rest of the folks get a chance to say hi. On Monday the boys and us go to meet their teachers, get school uniforms and Tuesday they start school. We sort out Medicare, sim cards etc on Monday. It is really hot here compared to PE, but we have really loved every minute of our time here. I think part of what made our experience so good, is that we had so much help. So if someone offers to meet you at airport grab it. Love Australia, love feeling safe and love our lovely church that has shown us extraordinary kindness and hospitality.
  10. To those already there. Could you please tell me what you recommend we sort out immediately on arrival. I remember something about ATO, medicare. We already have an aussie bank account. We need to buy a car. And a car seat. Thanks
  11. HadEnoughofJuju

    Be carefull, be very carefull !

    Hi all I figured it was about time I made an actual post instead of just commenting. To tell the truth I haven't felt much like talking, or in this case writing, about the experiences I have had in the last six months. Simply because it's honestly been a lot tougher than I thought it would be. I have always been the one that wanted to leave South Africa, it never really felt like home to me nor did I ever feel it wanted me. I always expected that rebuilding our lives and readjusting to new surroundings and a new country would have been much easier than it has been. I know what you are thinking and NO I would NEVER trade what I have now for anything in the world and you would never be able to get me to go back to South Africa. Strangely enough though I can see (and appreciate) all the improvements in our safety, happiness, finances and general quality of life, but still I find myself in a state of depression, wondering what on earth I was thinking taking on this immigration beast so late in life. I know 39 is not so old (to most people) but in terms of career and finances, to be making such a big change, rebuilding your career and financial stability, literally starting from scratch at such a late stage is not easy. I am grateful to have work (especially here on the Sunny Coast) where there are so many people who have to travel to Brisbane everyday because that's the only place they could find work. I am just finding it extremely difficult to readjust and start over. To be at the bottom AGAIN and have to work my way up. From the beginning I was determined to make this work no matter what and so far we have accomplished many things in a very short space of time and are generally settling in quite well. On 30 September 2013 we will have been in Australia for six months. Looking back at where we came from and the situation we were in, this was by far the best thing we could have ever done for our little family. Yes we miss the family and friends we left behind but I don't for one moment miss South Africa. This is not meant to scare people off. I have always believed in telling both sides of the story. To start this immigration process believing that things are only going to go smoothly and work out for the best is naive and dangerous. We need to be aware of the pitfalls and obstacles that we will face in this process so that we can prepare ourselves for what is to come. Be very careful of how much emotional energy you invest in the visa process, pace yourself and make sure there is balance. Looking back I now see that I got way to emotionally involved in the process and it has done it's damage. I find myself extremely emotional and cracking at the smallest things. Don't let this make you give up, rather let it make you prepare yourself for the process that lies ahead. Getting a PR visa is not the end of the road, we have a long road ahead of us and it will only truly be finished the day we get that citizenship certificate and our Aussie passports. I have to say again, I take my hat off to those of you doing this on temporary work visa's, I would not be able to handle that stress as well at the moment.
  12. OnYellowBrickRd

    6 months into our new lives

    Hi guys Yes, I know that I have been very quiet on the forum for a while. The following post will be very candid but I urge you to read it all the way to the end. We have been in Australia now for 6 months. So far we have had the most fantastic, scary, crazy, difficult, amazing time of our lives. I love this place. I love being able to live again. I love that things work. I even enjoy TV! Has this been easy so far? NO!! I have experienced the most loneliness I ever have before. I have felt incompetent in my career and have consequently decided to make a change. I have felt like the new kid in high school, acutely aware of the stares of the "in crowd". And then I happily decided that I won't give in to teenage insecurities as I am well into my 30s and I actually have nothing to prove to anyone. ..and I like my own company. I have had to hold my little girl while she sobbed over missing her grandparents while wiping away my own tears. I have had to try to explain why we moved away from her cousin and why we are not going back again. I have had to watch my husband go to a job he doesn't really want to do in order to put food on the table. I have had to adjust to DIFFERENT. I have also been outside more in the last 6 months than for most of my adult life. I have learned how to approach strangers without seeming desperate for company. I have learned to slow down and to appreciate a life with a lot less stress. I have learned to accept the fact that I will always suck at Aussie trivia shows. I have learned how to travel without stress - how to keep to the speed limit or use public transport. I have learned to laugh at the little things most Saffas stress about before moving. I have learned to live a life of appreciation and gratitude. I realize that I still have a long way to go before I will feel completely at home, but to be honest, I feel more at home here than I have in a very long time un RSA. Hubby and I always try to do the right thing and it is refreshing to live in a law abiding country where this is the norm...rather than the exception. To those of you who are still busy with the moving process, read as much as you can about your new life. Don't only focus on the application. Prepare yourself for a change in plans...often. You probably won't live where you think you will (suburb). There is only so much you can see on Google earth. You might have to change careers. Your kids might have to attend a different school to the one that you chose online. My best advice would be to take things one day at a time. You will feel overwhelmed at times, but I promise- things get easier. Make sure that you and your partner are on the same page, because you will need to hold each other up through difficult times. Remember that you are doing the best thing for yourself and your family to ensure a better future. Australia is not heaven but, compared to RSA, it sure feels like a suburb of heaven some days. I wish you well on your journeys.
  13. Erik

    3 weeks in Adelaide

    G’day all We have been in Adelaide for three weeks and here’s a rundown of events as they may or may not have happened. Knowing we have a kid that is an absolute terror at night (I don’t think I’ve slept for 7 and a half months), we decided to dose him and dose him good! We called the doc and he prescribed an antihistamine to give to him to help him sleep. The trip from Johannesburg to Sydney was a breeze! He slept better than he ever slept, only waking to eat and then back to bed. Bassinets in the airplane are a miracle and I would recommend them if you have a small baby. The flight from Sydney to Adelaide, however was less than fun, with me mostly standing in the isle rocking from side to side to get the little sh!t, O, sorry, I mean darling to not scream his head off. Thank heavens he had grommets inserted in RSA before we flew, so we didn’t have to deal with pressure changes too. We were lucky enough for my boss to pick us up in his car at the airport, since he has a baby seat. Not sure how I thought we would get to the apartment in a taxi… Thank heavens cars here are American sized so our three suitcases totalling 70kg all fit in. The first night we were awake at 2am making lists of things that need to happen and by 4 we were all awake drinking coffee and snacking, things got better the following nights with us mostly being back in step with the time zone. Who the hell has half a time zone?! Seven and a half hours difference?! Really?! What’s up with that? I digress… SOOOOOOO much admin! The first day was spent getting everything for the little man, to make our lives easier. Groceries, Medicare and mobile phones sorted. Second night a little bit better, the little man has a cold. So much goo. Next day, I ventured out to find a car. Walking down North main road is quite a stretch if you’re looking at cars from all the dealers. It’s almost like Main reef road in Johannesburg. Found a Mitsubishi Magna that didn’t look too bad for our budget. It’s a huge car, V6, 3.5l engine. For someone who owned a 1.6l Polo, this is just ridiculous, but hey, seemed a good deal for the price. Car registered and licence converted, check. GPS and baby car seat, check! Night 3: we explore the hospital in Modbury as the little man has been running a fever for almost two days. Thanks to medicare, we pay: nada Had a daytrip to Gleneng beach on the Sunday as well as looking at houses. How ridiculous is this 15 min open house thing?! Monday: Work starts with a bang and I think my boss is insane… He is one of those big idea people who thinks anything is possible, while I see all the nitty gritty things that have to happen to make his big picture a reality. I’m working my @ss off! Literally! Lost a couple of kgs with the walking everywhere and catching the bus, etc, not that I couldn’t afford to lose some. Finally, the wife has seen a rental see likes and we apply. We are approved just in the nick of time before our two weeks apartment rental runs out. Now for the big shopping: furniture. If I knew what it was going to cost to buy furniture here, I would have spent the container cost to get our crappy RSA furniture here. Unbelievable! Between not qualifying for credit and half of our money still being in RSA, it was a juggle and a half to get everything paid via NAB debit card, Standard Bank debit card, FNB credit card. Then the shuffling around of money back in RSA to cover all the debt we just made. But at least we have a bed to sleep on and a fridge to store some milk in. Finally, after more than an hour on the phone to centrelink, I was able to get a reference number to do an online application for child tax benefits. More admin to follow with private medicare, super, internet, telephone and foxtel, etc, etc, etc. When will it stop? At least we get stuff done. If we had tried to do all of this in RSA it would take months. People ask me if we are happy in Australia and I really don’t know what to say? It’s been 3 weeks people, filled with admin up to whazoo! I’ll let you know when things settle down and I have a chance to breath. At least things work in this country and I’m not fearing for my life everyday. PS. It’s really hard with the little sh1t, damn, I mean little dear being awake 7 times a night and knowing there is absolutely no support if you just have to take a break from him. That’s what I miss.
  14. HadEnoughofJuju

    First few days in Australia

    I am going to try and remember as much as I can because the last couple of days have been an absolute blur and (I think) we are still very emotional and raw at this stage but we are doing well under the circumstances. The Eager2Go family have been here since December and seem to have settled quite nicely and have really been great to us. We made friends with them at a coffee club meeting in Pretoria around this time last year and seem to have just gelled really well. They have made this landing really soft for us and there are no words to thank them for what they have done for us or to express what it means to us. There have been so many things that have just fallen into place over the last couple of months that we know that we are meant to be here and that we are following the right path. We left Johannesburg International Airport (yes, I still refuse to call it that other name) on Saturday evening at around 17:50 on a Qantas/SAA code sharing flight. We weren't really sure if we were going to be able to fly because of the fact that we were on concession tickets and had to take what we could get but by grace there were 38 open seats on the flight so the ground host just booked us in and gave us our boarding passess. We were also lucky enough to get three seats next to one another. It was a very long, exhausting and stressful flight. The Qantas staff and service were great but I was unfortunate enough to experience that typical old selfish, self centered attitude (with a heavy dose of self entitlement thrown in) that so many South Africans have. The TV screen on my seat (and this will happen to me of all people) was broken so I decided that because the three seats behind me were empty that I would move and use one of them, when I got to them the who was sitting with his wife and daughter in front of me had moved and was sitting in the middle seat of the three. I asked him if he would mind me sitting next to him so that I could get a bit of entertainment in. Believe it or not this responded with a VERY disgruntled attitude and told me that he was planning on sleeping across the three seats and he was highly irritated while telling me this. I lost my cool a bit but just walked away and decided to ask his wife if she would mind me sitting in the aisle seat because I figured her daughter was sitting in the middle so it would be open. Should have know better with a for a husband. She promptly told me that they would be using all three seats (nice, pay for three and use six ). I am afraid that my opinion on that one is, if you come to Australia with that attitude then well please get back on the plane and go right back to South Africa and stay there, this wonderful country is not for selfish jerks you. Clearing customs was an absolute pleasure. We were handed passenger cards during the flight to fill in on which you declare any medication, food or other items of interest. We said yes to the food stuffs and medication (because we were carrying our 6 month supply of prescription meds as well as some other prescribed medication). The first customs official checked our passports and asked what kind of medication and food we were carrying and we told him about the prescriptions and sealed chips and chocolates and he stamped our passports and waved us on through. The second official at the screening section only asked about the food and we gave him the same response and he said enjoy your stay and exit through lane 8. No bags were opened or checked and everyone was very friendly. Having flown on concession tickets we could not pre-book any connecting flights from Sydney to Brisbane so there was no shuttle from the international terminal to the domestic terminal for us so we had to buy tickets and use the airport train. This was an entertaining exercise with 2 adults, a 5 year old, 3x24kg bags, 3 hand luggage bags (which were the maximum size and packed to their maximum weight capacities), 2 backpacks and a camera. I have no idea how people with 2 bags per person and more than one child do this. Once we got to the domestic terminal my wife and daughter literally stood somewhere in the middle of the departures hall while I ran from airline counter to airline counter looking for the best deal. This is where I experienced that true Australian friendliness and helpfulness. I first asked at Jetstar ($349.00 per ticket, not in our budget), then I went to Tiger Airlines. I explained to the very pleasant lady that I needed to get to Brisbane and how much luggage we had. Tiger Airlines tickets are cheap because they don't have any checked in luggage included. She explained to me that we would have to buy checked in luggage which would cost $70.00 per 15kg bag and $20.00 per kg over that. Avery quick calculation revealed that luggage alone would cost $250.00 per person, add $76.00 to that for the air ticket and suddenly Tiger Airlines is not so cheap. Believe it or not she suggested that because of the weight that I goto Virgin Atlantic (who by the way are the only airline in the domestic terminal that accept cash) and buy tickets there because they have checked luggage as part of the ticket price. There were more surprises waiting for me at the Virgin counter. I again explained my predicament to the very pleasant lady behind the counter who proceeded to tell me that they were bumping passengers up to earlier flights to fill them up and that she could book me on the cheapest flight and then simply move me to an earlier one at no extra charge. I would however have to pay an extra $35.00 surcharge because I was booking at the airport but was told I could avoid that by going over to the free Telstra internet points and simply booking online (we could not do this because there was no credit card). All in all it cost us $522.00 for the three of us to get to Brisbane and we pretty much booked, paid and boarded. We arrived in Brisbane at around 17:40 to find Dave standing waiting for us (having collected our luggage which was easy to spot being the only three bags that were cling wrapped). It was really nice to see a friendly and familiar face after all the travel and mission we went through to get to Brisbane. It's so worth the trouble and effort you go through in the visa process. I am going to leave it there for now because it's late and we have an appointment in the morning to buy a car so hold thumbs. This saga will continue tomorrow.
  15. Nikki2109

    Newbie in Oz

    Hi, We've been in Melbourne 6 months now and to be honest, I feel like a fish out of water. I've married an Australian and whilst we love each other dearly, I think I'm losing my mind. Would just love to hook up with other South African's here.
  16. deroche

    Our first month in Australia

    I have finally found the time to post my first topic here from Australia. We arrived 7pm at Adelaide Airport on the 6th February. After breezing through quarantine in Sydney. Nothing like border security. My husband started a job 2 weeks after we were here. With the help of friends from here. The main reason we chose Adelaide. We are loving it here. We found a rental that is not badly priced and with 4 bedrooms. Oh my and the way rentals work here is very hectic. Its so competitive and there are inspections during your rental period. You feel like you are signing away your life. LOL! Everything works on points. Job interview, rental, contract, etc... But having your medicare card, passport, bank card helps. I got my cellphone contract with Vodafone with my passport, bank statement, medicare card on home duties. Hehe as a wife with kids much easier. With nothing to put into our rental until our container comes we were so blessed with friends from our new church. We were given a bed, couch, tv, microwave, cooking untensils, linen, etc... Friends bought us a few groceries to start off. Wow people are amazing. Friendly, very friendly, sometimes a bit too friendly. But they are sweet and mean well. You will get your odd person that isnt but most Australians I have met are friendly. Also asked our Aussie friend about tea and how that ends up with visitors staying for dinner. Tea means dinner. You should say a cup of tea or coffee. Shopping can be so urgh in the beginning that you just want to walk out of the shop. but it gets easier. You will also get plenty of pamphlets with all specials. Specials are good even when earning $ it is difficult not to convert. There are plenty of reward cards and they are worth it. Self service check out is fun. Someone is there to help if you get stuck. We met a guy at our church who owns a driving school, so we were going to go through him to get our licenses. Then at church he told us to not do anything. That from the 1st March South Africa will be recognised. What a saving! Last week we went and just had to fill it the forms and now wait for it to be posted to us. Oh yes everything gets posted here. We have had our ups and downs but we are so happy we are finally here. All that money, effort, stress was worth it.
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