A few hours after landing at Gold Coast airport, I had but one thought in my mind, “where do I begin?”. All I had with me was the address of an acquaintance in Australia whom I had recently met. During my first month I had a lot of challenges to face. Finding the right place to live, starting university, learning to travel the city and so on.
One of the most amazing things about Australia that I didn’t know is how casual the dress sense is. Everyone seems to dress comfortably regardless of whether they are going to work, studies or do nothing. It is enough to have something that is suitable for the climate. Deciding what to pack when you are moving to another country is challenging except if you are travelling to Australia. Pack a few casuals and you’re done. It’s always best to know what climate you are arriving in and it’s easy to find information about different climates online.
Settling into an unknown city is tough if you don’t know anyone. I wouldn’t have worried so much on the flight about what awaited me, had I known that settling in is easier with a positive attitude. Here are a few things that can help anyone get started in a new city.
- Pick up a Go Card at any store, it’s the easiest way to use public transport. Don’t forget to register online for a student discount.
- Get a local SIM for your mobile phone with a data plan. A decent package can cost as little as $30AUD per month.
- To travel from one place to another, use Google maps or your mobile’s navigation along with the Translink app. It has the schedule for public transport, including buses and trains. In Australia, any address can be navigated to using your phone.
- Open a bank account using your passport and your local address.
- Finding accommodation close to public transport is convenient. You don’t want to walk a mile to reach a bus station.
- Apply for an Adult Proof of Age card, it will have your address printed on the back. This can be used as proof of ID and allows you to leave your passport at home.
- University is a great place to spend your time to meet new people, it’s one of the best places to gain new perspectives.
- Update your resume and start looking for a job. The best way is to ask everyone you meet for job openings. Employment websites are also useful to find jobs.
- Find the communities and gatherings that interest you and get involved. For example, if you are a programmer, find the programmer’s club and go to every event.
- Start exploring the culture, places and food. This is what turned my life around in Australia.
Read about how Jose overcame his challenges and made the most of his experience in Australia in Part Two.