Have you ever thought of moving to a new country without any job? I am sure you must have thought of living a crazy life without any boundaries but never had the courage to do that. A real life couple from Vikaspuri, Delhi, took this step to explore a new country and move out of their comfort zone and start a new life in Australia. They were having quite a comfortable life with both of them flourishing in their professions with great multinationals. But some people just don't like routine. Read about Isha and Arun, and their journey of settling down in a new country.
Priyata: How is Australia treating you?
Isha: So far so good.
Priyata: I am very curious to know about your plan to shift from India to Australia without any job?
Isha: Though you know most part of it but still there were lot of things you don't know at all. Well!! From where should I start? As you know travelling is fun for me and I have always liked being in nature. However, I never thought of a life outside India. But due to lack of growth opportunities, my husband, Arun, always wanted to settle outside. His brother is also an Australian citizen and living here for many years now. So Australia became a default choice for both us.
Priyata: But both of you landed in this country jobless. Many people dream of a crazy life but you both executed it.
Isha: Yeah. Even when I look back and think about it, I get goosebumps but we did that.
Priyata: But Australia is one of the expensive countries to live.
Isha: Yes it is. Living in the city or near to the Central Business District (CBD) is particularly expensive. Rent is main part of anybody’s monthly expenses. Eating out and dining out in an average restaurant can be expensive. Public transport is affordable but buying your own vehicle could be expensive.
Priyata: How difficult or easy it was to find a job here?
Isha: It was a difficult choice for me. I was doing well in my job as Senior Engineer in a multinational in Gurugram, India. After we got our visa grant in 2017, I was not at all happy. This feeling did not sink-in for a long time for me. I like to be around parents, my sister, my friends, my home. I like taking care of the people around me and being taken care of by them. My parents are getting older and I will be gone. Honestly, I was not prepared to leave everything behind me. However, these were all thoughts. This decision was difficult, but it had to be done.
Priyata: Yes, I know what do you mean when you say that. Tell more about the job hunt.
Isha: As we both are IT professionals, and IT being a global skill now, we both explored for a location change within our existing jobs, but it could not be worked out. During our research for jobs in Melbourne, we discovered that there are more jobs for my skill-set. If I would have stayed in India, then it would have been an opportunity loss for both of us. Hence, we took the risk. After my husband left, we both started applying for jobs.
I arranged few interviews before I could come here through my existing network of friends. After I landed in Australia, I straight away started appearing for interviews. It was the most intensive job hunt of my life. We enrolled ourselves with the libraries in Victoria that are equipped with all the facilities like free high speed Wi-Fi, technology books, computers. All these facilities helped us to study or learn new skills. We started doing rounds of the library everyday to prepare for interviews.
We actively went to meetups to understand the job market. I remember both of us giving interview scheduled one after another and hoping that even one of us getting a job would improve a lot of things for us.
Priyata: Interesting! I totally understand that pressure of finding a new job and in a new country it is even more. So after you got your first job here, how was feeling like?
Isha: It was ecstatic. We both went for a treat and went to a small fair in the area we were staying to celebrate. I even had an ice cream in that cold weather.
Priyata: Which organization you joined?
Isha: After a lot of hard-work and appearing for back to back interviews, I finally joined ThoughtWorks, Australia. It is a very unusual workplace. It’s a community and a culture altogether. Everybody has there own style of doing things. Everybody is very organized and have their own goals. First time I am working for a place where people are working for something which they like and not just for a paycheck.
They provide a very open environment where everybody is free to express their opinions and you will not be judged for holding certain opinions or for your preferences.
Priyata: What was your biggest challenge after relocating to Australia?
Isha: It was finding a house and a job. These two were the most difficult out of the other challenges. Unlike India, process for renting a house is very formal one in Australia. You don’t go to meet a property dealer to get you a suitable house.
There is a defined process. Everybody who comes here has to search for houses online, book inspection, which sometimes used to last only 10 minutes. So if you miss this time slot, you would find nothing but a locked house. This becomes really difficult when you have back to back inspections in neighboring suburbs.
It is important you visit the house during this time to get the inspection code from the property manager or agent, Using this code only, one can apply online for the properties. The apps like realestate.com.au, domain.com are the only website that offer this service. Once submitted, the landlords or property manager will assess your application. It’s almost like applying for jobs. In fact, it is even more difficult than finding a job because I feel I am experienced in applying jobs but finding houses is altogether a different ball game.
Priyata: Yeah unlike India the process of renting an apartment is quite different.
Isha: Right and Melbourne is an expensive place to live. Landlords look for tenants with rental history, and we being new to the country did not have any rental history, hence even if we presented them with our savings from India and other documents, still our application was not selected. During this time, one of Arun’s friend had also moved to Melbourne a month before us, suggested that there is an apartment available in his building. We got in touch with the Property Manager and finally we got lucky.
Priyata: What was your first impression of the country when you landed?
Isha: Well when I first landed, I was introduced to a very intensive security screening. Australia is very particular towards pests. So carrying open fruits/vegetables, untreated wood, unpacked food items are not allowed. So if you bring any, be ready have to go through the hassle of extra baggage check, in which a security personnel will open your luggage and enquire about each and everything that’s in your bag which he/she does not understand. When I was in India, people suggested to take food items. Well to that I would say that mostly all of the Indian stuff is available here. It’s not worth it to go through the whole hassle of security checks. Australia is a very diverse and a free country, with a very large Asian population. So you will be okay after few days of landing in the safe and diverse country.
Priyata: How is the lifestyle different from your home country?
Isha: Oh! It is very different. Sometimes I find people are very open but sometimes I feel they are not. There is a huge percentage of Asians here. Coffee culture and Catch-up culture is something that is new to me. I never had such meet ups in India. Major population is working irrespective of their age be it old or young.
Mostly both parents go to work, child care is a must here. I came to know that every carer in child care centre cannot be supervising more than 4 children at a time. Hence lot of jobs for people in child care centre as well.
Priyata: Interesting! How your lifestyle has changed after coming here?
Isha: When I was in India, going to work used to take major part of my day like I used to start at 7:15 a.m. in the morning and would be back by 7.30 p.m. in the evening and it used to be dark. After that I did not have much energy to do anything else. Just watched some shows, ate dinner and went to sleep for another day. Also I used to continue work from home also a lot of times because I was mostly working for US clients hence we used to have client calls in the evenings. Here we chose an apartment which is closer to the city, that ways I don’t have to travel that much. People generally don’t work after five.
Here employers allocate special time for socializing within the company. When I come back home it is broad daylight and mostly the days are longer here. Like in summer sun sets at 9 p.m.
Priyata: Hmm! Daylight for a very long time. What about the weather here?
Isha: Weather is mostly unpredictable. As people say here, one can experience all seasons in Melbourne in a single day. Melbourne is cold from late April to mid October with rains and cold winds, but no snow (thankfully because snow would mean more work and inconvenience). Spring is from late October to most of the November. Remaining months are hot.
In summers, it fluctuates between 12 to 35 degs and some days in December and January, it goes up to 40 deg. Days get long in Summers with sunsets at 8:30 or even 9 pm, which I think is good because you get a good long day for any activity. People like me who start feeling cold easily, some evenings can be cold in summer also.
Christmas gets really hot here...I know, it feels weird at first to have a hot Christmas. Some of friends told me that they had a hail storm on Christmas here. I am yet to experience my first hail storm here. I still feel happy that it does not stay hot or cold for long. It mostly stays nice and pleasant.
Priyata: How was the whole relocation experience?
Isha: Exciting and thrilling. Stayed with my brother-in-law's family and then Arun’s friend place and then an Airbnb and finally making into a leased apartment. By April, we both had our first jobs in Melbourne. As many friends have pointed out, we were lucky to land in job soon enough. For us finding a house was the most difficult part. I would suggest people who are planning to move to Australia to go for Airbnb or shared accommodations in the beginning. Then look for a rented apartment. There is a huge Indian community in Melbourne. Finding any Indian groceries does not feel any different than India. Carrying ration from India would not prove very useful as you will end up going to the supermarkets to buy daily necessities.
If you are into lot of cooking, then you can get one Pressure Cooker from India. However, you can also get them here for not more than AUD 120 (nearly 6K) which are obviously much cheaper in India. City transport is really good and hence commuting is not difficult because of Trams.
Priyata: You must have landed with some preconceived notions about the country and people. How it has changed or it did not change at all?
Isha: Yes when I came here I was very nervous. I heard many stories about Australians being racist for working in an Australian company. But it changed completely. I found the country very welcoming and free-spirited.
Priyata: Wow! Thats good. Does it really makes a difference about the geographical location once you get in your routine?
Isha: Interesting question, It does not actually, the day you get busy, if does not feel very different but on weekends, it might feel different as you don’t get to meet your family or friends.
Priyata: What are places one can explore in and around Melbourne?
Isha: As I have recently completed a year in Australia and still exploring the country. After few hours of drive in any direction out of Melbourne, the landscape changes a lot. Melbourne is a centrally located suburb in the state of Victoria.
Priyata: What is the most fun thing you have done since you have arrived?
Isha: Visited Mount Buller for a one day trip. It is a 3 hour drive from Melbourne. Place to experience snow capped mountains and lots of opportunity of skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing etc. I also went to Indian Film Festival held in Melbourne and got the opportunity to watch "5 Weddings" with the director Namrata Singh Gujral. It felt very easy to be with the team here than in India. We also went to watch Kunal Kamra Comedy show.
I personally enjoyed Paintball shooting with one of my colleagues and her friends.
A short trip to Lorne, town at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road. A drive down the Great Ocean Road to Lorne. You can find some more information from this website: https://www.lovelorne.com.au/ . A short day trip to Daylesford, Victoria. Natural Mineral springs. Carbonated water coming out of hand pumps. India vs Australia T20 match in MCG and Australian Open. We also got covered in a short video by Fox Sports in a match accidentally and I was thrilled to see myself on screen. There are some more upcoming trips and much more to explore.
Many more such fun trips to you and Arun. Thanks for sharing your relocation experience with quitekorner and helping our readers to know about the country,