A few things I wish I had known!

I recently reflected on my experience of working in Australia as a psychologist. We have now been here 3 years and worked for about 2 years and a half (it took around 6 months for me to register as a provisional psychologist and designed this website and wrote this blog in the meantime).  A few developments about work opportunities made me think about a few things I wish I had known.

I went to the APS Congress in Sydney and met a number of psychologists there. I remember thinking I could not really afford the conference the first year I was here, but now I really wish I had known how important these professional connections are. Working as a psychologist can be very isolating particularly if there is a team around, or when one is part of a multi-disciplinary team, or one is on the road for home or school visits. Connecting with other like minded psychologists is so important for professional practice as well as self-care. As someone new in the area, I found it difficult to know where things were, how to connect and where to find information. Many commitments meant that ‘Finding my Tribe’ was not so on the cards initially. I have realised recently how important that is as significant feelings of loneliness crept in. Some people were particularly amicable in inviting me to be part of a group. The gesture was so natural and easy done with a significant impact on my wellbeing as a professional. A sense of belonging is found to be important in terms of wellbeing, participation and engagement. I certainly felt this important feeling and hope to grow these connections further.

I thought I would write a few top tips here in terms of finding connections as these could be highly beneficial in settling in Australia as a newcomer and psychologist.

  1. Connect with psychologists locally. Ask about local groups. Visit other psychologists in their clinic or ask to meet them.
  2. Join a Networking Group either on social media or in person. Help create a peer support group.
  3. Join a professional body and attend specific events and conferences. Connect with people sharing a similar interest as you.
  4. Ensure you communicate your needs with others and be firm about how it is important to you to be able to connect with others.
  5. Take time to reach out, find out what other psychologist do. This can be done through messages on social media initially. We never know how a few connection can evolve in other opportunities.
  6. Take time to find a supervisor who will be able to introduce you or help you connect with others locally.

 

Top Tips: Finding employment as a Psychologist in Australia

My post ‘registration as a psychologist when moving abroad’ (https://pascaleparadis.org/2016/08/17/registration-as-a-psychologist-when-moving-abroad/) has been very popular and reached over 600 people from many countries. Many explained it really reflected their experience, others said it really helped them understand the process in a more detailed way as little information seems to be out there. This post led to psychologists from different countries contacting me via email. Exchanges helped identifying a need to support other psychologists coming to Australia. As a group, we created group on Facebook which aims to support psychologists navigating the complexities of registration and cultural systems in Australia. It also helped create a safe environment to air concerns and frustrations as well as gaining the support of colleagues who have gone through the same experience. Through this group and via emails I received, a number of psychologists have asked how to gain employment in Australia. I found this difficult myself so I thought I would put some key points here which I think have helped me through the process.

  1. Registering through Job Search Engines: I found a number of search engines which I then registered with to receive automatic emails. The main search engines I found relevant are: Jora, APS Psychxchange, Australia Joob24, Jobrapido, Chloe at Adzuna. I also went to regularly check on the Education Department website and registered with the Catholic Education job search. This way I was able to get to know the job market, read job descriptions to identify what I wanted to do or not.
  2. Eye catching up to date CV and writing job applications: Make sure that your CV will stand out from the others, by either adding some creative elements, colours, images. Also, make sure your CV really captures the language that is used in the job description to ground it in the Australian context. I sent a number of CVs to local schools, private practices, etc. and made phone calls to a number of agencies. If people came back to me with a ‘no, sorry’, I asked whether they knew of organisations who may be able to help. On many occasions, I did not hear from the employer following interview. I ensured I followed up and wrote an email requesting feedback. In your job applications, make sure you know how to apply. For example, many employers in Australia, ask for an introductory letter, a CV and a selection criteria document (where you have to go through each selection and justify how you meet these). You may want to ask someone to help you understand how to write these.
  3. Talking to people, networking and making connections: I was surprised to find that making connections and networking is particularly important. Not all jobs are advertised. Word of mouth, networking, being invited to join groups, etc. can help getting known. Be prepared to explain what you are looking for and be confident in explaining requirements for the internship you need to do. Employers may find requirements daunting and may be reluctant to employ someone who just arrived in the country and need to gain registration. If you know what you have to go through and explain it confidently, you are more likely to market yourself. For example, I printed off requirements for the transitional program and created a booklet I could show employers. As part of the transitional program/internships to registration, you will need to find a supervisor. You can do that on the AHPRA website through the supervisor search engine. When writing to supervisors, send your CV, ask them where they see you and whether they have ideas where you should look.
  4. Think about your skills and strengths and maximise these: Connect with organisations where you are most likely to have many skills in common in terms of your approach as a psychologist, previous employment or research topics/specialisms. Make sure these skills are particularly highlighted on your CV and reiterated on your letter or email to them. Make sure you link your values to the ones of the organisation. Targeting organisations where my skills were considered as unique and in line with the organisation’s values has worked well for me. This is how I managed to find opportunities.
  5. Research organisations in the area. Many organisations and agencies employ psychologists so look at all possibilities such as non-profit organisations, schools, department of education, hospitals, private practices, universities. There are many programs supporting mental health in Australia such as Beyond Blue, Headspace and other organisation such as Oz Child, Anglicare, Salvocare who offer family and community support so these specific organisations may offer a range of opportunities.
  6. Key areas to look for: There is a mix of employment arrangements in Australia such as salaried, contractor, sole trader, own business. Remember that psychologists with provisional registration status cannot be sole trader, contractor or have their own business, and must be in a salaried role. When looking for employment, you may want to think carefully about the following: supervision arrangements, personal development budget and opportunities, access to resources and assessments, networking groups, team meetings, possibilities for career progression and leadership opportunities. These aspects may influence your decisions as it can be costly in time and course fees to access all the above as a sole trader. Remember that once registered you must adhere to the AHPRA’s personal development requirements of 30 hours a year which also includes supervision. Supervision can cost between $150-170 per session so if supervision can be accessed within the organisation that can be considered as a plus. Many internships are offered but as a volunteer so again the above can make a big difference to reduce costs. All the above can also make a difference between a conscientious and supportive employer who will then want to stay for a longer period of time.
  7. Social media sites: Ensure your profiles are up to date and try to connect with psychologists in the area through LinkedIn or Facebook pages. In Australia, there are a number of Facebook page groups for provisional psychologists/early career psychologists. We also set up the UK/Overseas psychologists in Australia page for support. Ask questions, get your name in these groups, ask for support and possible employers. Job opportunities are often posted in these groups.
  8. Be creative and innovative: To put an internship or transitional program together, you may need to be creative. You are allowed to combine a number of employers to make up your hours so it may be that you accept a range of different work opportunities. Be confident in your skills and think outside the box to market your skills and strengths. Persistence, determination and resilience are also key skills as you may experience a few knock backs which will require you to bounce back a few times!

All the best in your new adventures and hope this will help give some guidance…

 

A Year On: 10 Learning Points!

When the opportunity came up to move to Australia, I have to admit I was lacking knowledge about the geography, the climate, the culture, political and social issues. I did some research to gain some initial knowledge but it is, of course, living the daily routines in a new country that helps the most. Some things surprised me, others confirmed some thoughts and initial perceptions. I write about 10 main learning points, the ones that surprised me the most…

  1. The sun heat is particularly intense. It feels very direct and hot on the skin. It is not cool to be tanned and not funny either. In fact, people worry about you if you have a sun burnt. People are very cautious about sunshine and heat and particularly sun burns. At the peak of summer, you still tan with 50 factor cream. Hats are a necessity. In fact, in all schools, there is a hat policy imposed from October to April. I don’t live in the most heat affected area, but I can imagine how difficult it may be at 35-45 degrees on most days. I am not sure I could live in these areas. In the Melbourne area, we have noticed some very hot days followed by 1 or 2 cool days, which has been a relief. These days are welcomed. It is impossible to do lots of jobs during the high sun hours. Initially, we were like ‘we must empty boxes, cut trees, etc.’ but it became unbearable to work like that in the sunshine. BBQs have a clearly purpose. On these hot days, it is too hot to cook inside. We need to remind ourselves to drink water…
  2. Similar to Canada, Australia is vast, one hour drive does not get you very far. The states appear very distinct (although we have not travelled interstate yet) with different state governments and particular unique and specific issues. Although we live in a fairly populated area there is space around us, farm land is on our doorstep and we are an hour away to the city.
  3. It is incredible to discover so many new animals and the wildlife. We have been truly amazed! The kookaburras singing make me smile every time as they sound like monkeys. Possums although cute are very invasive and will take every single little opportunity to get in small holes to get through the roof, the garage, etc. Once established it is very hard to move them on, they are at finding new holes, new ways to get in. I learnt a lot about keeping possums out! Seeing wild kangaroos has been great. It is always incredible to see parrots, blue ones, green, ones, pink ones, all coloured, just beautiful!
  4. The nature also truly amazes us all. Palm trees, bushland, native trees, flowers. I love the smell of the forest, particularly the eucalyptus trees. I am looking forward to grow birds of paradise at the front of the house. The sceneries are unique, yellow burnt grass fields and lines of native tress, the farmland and countryside are beautiful. A very picturesque scenery and very unique to Australia too…We love just being outdoors…walking and exercise has to be planned according not only the weather but mainly the heat…
  5. The proximity of Pacific islands, Indonesia, China, Japan brings a different dimension to the news, politics and culture. These countries are well represented in the culture and the news always present key news about these countries. Links with these countries also appear developed in terms of politics. These holiday destinations are also well developed. Foods from these countries are available everywhere. We have had some great Thai and Japanese food. There are also some markets and stores selling these foods in lots of places. You can find nail bars, massage places, everywhere.
  6.  America appears to have a big influence on Australia, more than I anticipated. One 12 hour flight will take you to LA. There are number of American programmes on TV, even more than the UK!
  7. Buying cars is interesting! Cars are advertised as ‘Drive Away’, but you can’t drive them away! A big mistake: buying a car with no air conditioning!
  8. The history of Australia fascinates me, particularly the aboriginal culture, which I would like to learn so much more of and visit areas more in the North. Again a number of incredible similarities with Canada and aboriginal culture, colonisation, subsequent oppressions, dominant discourses.
  9. Pub culture is not so important. People tend to have BBQs or dinners at people’s houses. Parties at people’s houses appear to be popular. Food and coffee are great everywhere in restaurants. There is a big coffee culture…
  10. People are incredibly friendly and kind. People pop in to see each other and spontaneously create a dinner party. We all love the easy going lifestyle and this great sense of community.

Schools in Australia: Same or Different?

In the last year, we have been very busy learning about the similarities and differences of educational settings in the UK compared to Australia. We have had a lot of fun finding our way around these systems because my children are all at different stages of their educational career (early years, primary, and secondary schools) and I work in schools too!

I have asked the children to write down similarities and differences…all their own thoughts and feelings! Well for the early years part, I observed closely! and my little one has also told me how he feels about a few things…of course this is based on our experiences and could be different depending on the educational settings…

  Same Different
Early Years similar early years ‘curriculum’ guidance and motto in terms of promoting self-confidence, a sense of belonging, etc. ‘As a parent, I really miss the key worker approach. It has been tricky to determine who to speak to, particularly when my child had a harder time to settle. Similarly, at the end of the day, there does not seem to be much handover.’

‘E. has mentioned on a number of occasions how he appreciates a male worker at the childcare centre.’

3 and 4 years old have a sleep during the day. Lights out, sleep on mats, with blankets and music. It has thrown E. as he had not slept at childcare for a long time. It took him a while to adapt to that and it really affected his sleep at night. He sleeps much better now that he is out of this routine.’

Primary School ‘Homework same amount as in the UK’ ‘Work was a lot harder in the UK, but here easier’

‘You have lunch in your classroom or outside so it is a little bit different as in the UK you can have hot dinner in the hall’

‘We do more fun homework, but every piece of homework is fun for me because I love school’

‘My school is a lot bigger in Australia, 650 students compared to 120 students in the UK.’

‘Where my school is, it’s surrounded by trees and bushes, as in the UK, it was a little bit in the woods and close to the beach.’

‘International Baccalaureate Primary School which is very different in terms of curriculum. I enjoy all the units of inquiry and we do lots of project based work.’

‘Teachers often team teach. There are no teacher aids in classes, definitely not in all classrooms.’

‘classes have a max of 24 students.’

‘At my school, we have multi-age which means that Reception/Prep to Y2 are all in classes together.’

‘There is music before the bells, or often no bells at all, just music to let us know to back to class.’

Secondary School ‘Homework similar amount’

‘Recess and lunches are fun’

‘1 or 2 teachers I don’t like as much’

‘Similar friendship group’

‘Similar size school between 1200-1500 students’

‘It has felt like a recap at school in terms of learning’

‘People are using lockers in Australia. they did not at my old school.’

‘There seems to be a difference how they treat Y7 and Y8 students in Australia. it is more like primary school years. We have teachers that are our tutors and teach us all core subjects such as English and Maths and these two teachers often take us in big groups, they team teach too.’

‘Timetables are a bit different: in the UK 7 subjects/day and in AU 5 subjects a day max., lessons are longer but days here are  a bit shorter’

‘School seems much more sport driven.’

‘it feels like there is more project work.’

‘I have a longer commute to and from school. I walk and take a bus.’

In terms of my thoughts around schools…I feel there are many similarities, but also many differences that I have enjoyed discovering. For example, I particularly enjoy the music getting to class, and the gardens surrounding all the schools I visit. Most schools feel so much more spacious in terms of indoor and outdoor space. This also brings different issues in terms of travelling to and from schools, particularly in more rural communities. Many schools have communal areas for children to work at their ease. There seems to be a number of sporting activities taking place throughout the year too. Overall, I have felt that schools tend to be much more relax, not so much pressure on performance, more enjoyment and easy atmosphere and ethos.

 

What is it like to work as a Psychologist in Australia?

One of the most important challenge in my recent migration has certainly been to learn about the socio-political contexts and systems which are directing the work of the psychologist in Australia. When one experiences a number of political systems, it becomes clear how these have an impact…Bronfenbrenner makes so much sense then…and it also becomes clear how it impacts on the role of the psychologist. In the light of mental health support changes in the UK, in this post, I intend to explain my role in the different types of work I have been doing to illustrate how systems can have a huge impact on support services.

National Chaplaincy Programme, Mental Health and Care support and Chronic Diseases

Under the National Chaplaincy programme, I have worked in one specific school, one day per week, supporting children who present with different issues, such as friendship, behavioural, self-esteem, adaptation to school, loss, grief. I have been supporting school staff in understanding these emotional issues and implementing different strategies in class. I also supported parents and siblings where needed. Catholic and independent schools often employ their own school psychologists. Similar to the UK, Education Department psychologists, SSSO, are particularly involved in assessing children’s needs. This assessment then feeds in to the system as to whether needs qualify for funding and further support in school. Long-term work is more limited. However, a parallel system exists where psychologists work in schools supporting children under a Mental Health and Care plan.

Children and adults are entitled to 10 individual and 10 group sessions of mental health/psychologist support under the Mental Health Care plan scheme. I work in a number of schools where I deliver this support to children who are experiencing different issues such as loss and grief, parental separation, anxieties, self-esteem, self-regulation and behavioural difficulties, etc. I design the support to the children based on solution focused, cognitive-behavioural, child-centred, play, psycho-educational approaches. Seeing children over a period of time, being able to intervene early, before behaviour patterns have hugely entrenched, have felt very rewarding professionally and highly beneficial to the children. Also, being able to build a relationship with children and families over a period of time really helped to go in to more depth as to what may contributing to issues and difficulties. Being able to discuss parenting strategies and early intervention strategies also feel as it is highly beneficial to families. Mental health is such an important matter which can be supported if taken seriously early, but yet can have such a devastating on an individual or family system. In Australia, the socio-political systems acknowledge mental health and support mechanisms are in place so that children and families can access help. Some may argue that 10 sessions is not long enough, and too many restrictions exist in terms of the support that can be provided, perhaps…But at least mental health is acknowledged as important and deserving support.

Medicare also supports children and adults who have  chronic conditions which may impact on their emotional well-being. The GP will then write a Management plan and pull a care team together to support the child or adult. Psychologists are included in this possible support plan.

Early Intervention, Better Start, Helping Children with Autism 

Other funding streams acknowledge the importance of supporting children with special needs and disabilities early and as part of structured early intervention programmes. The early intervention programme gives the opportunity to children and families to access regular support  either in groups or individualised therapies and key worker support. The weekly support by experienced professionals can make such a difference to children and families.

Early intervention is also available for children with specific medical and/or lifelong conditions such as Down Syndrome to access early professional and regular support .

Different funding streams have been set to support children with autism and their families. Children receiving a diagnosis of the autism spectrum disorder under the age of 7 can access speech therapy, occupational therapy or psychologist support up to $12 000 worth of services. This also includes resource packages such as the possibility to purchase specialist resources which will help with self-regulation for example.

The Medicare system also acknowledges the importance to support children with autism aged 7+. This support is designed as 20 sessions of half an hour to help with different needs such as self-regulation, anxieties and social skills and communication.

Changes ahead

There a number of changes planned ahead. Mainly for all these different funding streams to be  simplified and also to review current practices and services (Medicare and NDIS). Many families access private support as the Medicare system provides rebates and/or families have private health insurance. There is no doubt that this is a complex system. However, this is a system which acknowledges the importance to support children and families’ mental health and care and promotes early intervention. Coming from other socio-political systems, I have been fascinated to be learning about support available to children and families. It has allowed my professional practice to evolve in such a creative way. For example, I bring a box of Lego, little people and animals to school. I have enjoyed drawing and talking with children, listening to their worries and trying to find solutions with them. I have enjoyed developing individualised and group resources for children and their families. A lot of the resources I used in the UK have been particularly relevant and I had to refresh many resources too. The system is allowing me to work over time with children and families, that’s what changed the most! There is a definite feeling that it is having a more in-depth, targeted and supportive impact to the children and families…

A Year On!

Yes, already a year on ! A year we left the UK, a year we landed in Australia…Wow!

One may ask: How are you all? How has it been? Are you enjoying it? What an amazing experience!

Yes an amazing experience…full of challenges and opportunities! Some highlights, learning points and some exciting experiences! I suppose the main point is that it has taken us an immense desire to achieve our goals, perseverance and determination. It has not been always full of roses, singing and dancing all the way…we have probably grown a few more grey hair along the way…

Never ending challenges!

The challenges have been huge! It often felt that we were solving one problem and another cropped up. The main challenges have been related to moving internationally, buying a house, and qualification transfer for me. Adaptation to new school systems, employment and a new country. Our little one also had a very hard time settling at childcare. We also found it hard to deal with the complexities of the systems…it took a huge amount of patience to deal with a number of bureaucratic regulations.

Faced with challenges, we persevered through it…it has not been easy, but sheer hard work, creativity and determination have made it possible…We could have given up, but I suppose I don’t think it was an option! Many challenges felt as these were locked in a chain of events or like jigsaw puzzle. If you completed one piece, you could move on to the next part…It took a lot of patience to unlock one piece one after the other…

Some challenges have also been associated with living in the Southern Hemisphere, in a complete upside down yearly calendar and seasonal events. I personally could not get into the Christmas spirit. I also found it hard to experience winter in the summer…

Learning about new animals and possible dangers such as snakes, spiders, octopi and bush fires bring some fear and worries, mainly because it is not particularly innate to us, and also because you don’t really know how you would react if something happened…

For me, finding employment, studying for an exam, doing yet another supervised placement and a very small salary for a year have also added to some constant stress and worries…

Our highlights!

Although there have been important challenges, we have also enjoyed living in Australia for the past year. Here are our highlights!

Arriving in Australia, in a house in the woods, with a pool, at the end of the summer, after leaving the English winter…

A new lifestyle, lots of nature around us…Living in a calm and peaceful environment with land around the house…Coming back from work is just bliss…

The warmth and the weather…being outdoors…

Visiting animal sanctuaries…learning about new animals…seeing kangaroos and koalas for the first time…

Getting to know our beautiful surroundings…wineries, beach, shops, roads…discoveries and adventures…

Driving through an amazing forest on the way to camping in the Australian Alps…

Camping with lots of families…

Children are excited about new activities such as gymnastics and lots of cricket!

Watching a game of AFL at the MCG…

Getting to know lots of lovely people…being invited to lots of different social events…

The Australians are easy to get along with, have a great sense of humour, say what they think. They also are very helpful, people will give you a hand when you have difficulties. It really seems easy to socialise, make friends and have great conversations…Many people have travelled, have many connections with the UK so it seems easy to talk about these topics. It feels like we are understood easily. There is a sense that we belong…

Exciting experiences: Past and Future!

The is no doubt there were many challenges but future experiences look incredibly exciting. Our perseverance and determination have led to exciting experiences for the future…

For my husband, there are a number of exciting work projects ahead and it’s great to see him engaged and particularly enthusiastic about work.

Our little one will be starting school next year and now likes to go to childcare. Our oldest is thriving and is exciting about school, science, cricket and hockey. Our girl loves her school, friends, gymnastics and sporting opportunities. Both our eldest have joined Scouts, yes we could not let that one go! We have lots of work to do in the house, but it is exciting as we can make it our own. We are looking forward to build a room under the carport as my and guest room so that we can have people coming to stay with us!

My qualifications have been all recognised so I am now fully registered as a psychologist working in different and very interesting settings: a charity supporting children with special needs and disabilities under 8 and their families, and in a number of schools supporting children under a mental health plan. I have now set up my business and work as a sole trader for the school side of my work. It is a very exciting, full of opportunities.

Based on my blog, I submitted an abstract about topics related to global migration which was accepted! I write in a web magazine in Quebec about global migration topics. It feels that all the initial hard work setting up the blog is finally coming together!

Next steps will be finishing empty boxes, working on the house, applying for permanent residency…I am sure this will bring a few more challenges!

“Je suis immigrante, vous êtes un immigrant…”

Je suis sous le choc…Mon pays…une ville que j’adore…calme, respectueuse, où on vit en toute securité, une ville culturellement riche…une ville où plusieurs de ceux que j’aime  habite…ma ville natale…maintenant touchée par du terrorisme, du jamais vu dans cette ville…

J’écris. J’essaie de me composer…Je reviens de 8 jours de camping dans la forêt australienne, ‘in the bush’, la vie sauvage incroyable…les perroquets, les kangourous, les serpents, rivières, montagnes, arbres de toutes sortes, soleil, et beaucoup encore…J’écris en regardant les nouvelles des derniers jours…sous le choc de ce que le monde y est devenu, les droits humains, les valeurs, compassion, respect, amour de l’autre et de l’humanité…Je suis sous le choc, émotionnelle, essayant de garder le sang-froid et un esprit objectif et rationnel…

Tout ce que je suis capable de penser, c’est que chaque être humain, peu importe la persécution qu’il peut avoir vécu, mérite de vivre sa vie jusqu’à ce que la vie s’éteigne…Je suis maintenant dans un autre pays, une terre qui m’apporte des expériences différentes et incroyables. Plusieurs ont fait la même chose à travers l’histoire!

Des explorateurs ont essayé de trouver une vie meilleure, l’or, les épices, des tissus rares, des terres prospères, des voies naviguables…Pourquoi devrions-nous oser nier des opportunités, voire minces, à ceux qui veulent fuire la persécution, la guerre, les maladies et la mort…Un désir et un besoin humain intense que de protéger sa propre vie, celles de ses enfants et sa famille…

Mes ancestres étaient des immigrants, je suis immigrante, plusieurs sont immigrants…C’est fort possible que de nombreux citoyens qui vivent dans ce monde soient des immigrants…et c’est fort possible que ces citoyens ont immigré, déménagé, sont revenus, repartis, traversés des frontières…ont voulu revenir, ne sont pas revenus, ont visité la famille, voulu rester, ne sont pas restés…Chacun à son histoire…

Je serais très curieuse de savoir combien ont des gênes qui les identifient à 100% à un pays en particulier…la science ne peut le faire…est-ce qu’une telle chose existe vraiment? L’histoire et la géographie sont complexes…

Notre planète, notre monde, offre une panoplies d’expériences, d’opportunités pour apprendre, découvrir, d’aventures indéterminables…connaissances, éducation, langues, réflections…Un monde d’expériences culturelles et éducationnelles à son meilleur, des richesses incalculables! Pourquoi vondrions-nous arrêter le tout et les nier aux citoyens de ce monde???

Je suis une immigrante, plusieurs sont immigrants, c’est fort possible que vous soyez un immigrant…Curiosité, aventure, respect, bonté et surtout amour et paix…

…parce que nous sommes tous immigrants!

” I am an immigrant, you are an immigrant…”

I am in shock…My home country…a city I love…a safe, calm, respectful, culturally rich city…a home to many of my loved ones…a city where I was born…now touched by terrorism, an act never seen before in that city…

I am writing this post, coming back from a full 8 days camping in the most beautiful wilderness of Australia…parrots, kangaroos, snakes, bush land, rivers, sunshine and much more. I am writing this catching up on the world news of the last week…in disbelief of what has happened to human rights, beliefs, compassion and respect to humanity…I am moved…I am trying to keep it all together…

There is no word to explain how it feels when terrorism lands close by, invasive, intrusive, attacking, trauma, uncertainty, disbelief, shock…my heart goes to all who have experienced this before…I am not there…mais je suis là avec tous les Québécois…

All I can think of is that, whatever persecution one can experience, all humans deserve to live as long as life is present…I am now in a different country, a land which brings me different enriching experiences…all deserve to experience a life which brings them enriching experiences…Many, through history, did just that!

Many tried to experience a better life, tried to find routes to gold, spices, rich fabrics, potential prosperous land, spacious territories, waterways…Why would we now deny the possibility of fleeing war, persecution, possible deaths and diseases…A desire and intense basic need to protect ones’ life and family…

My ancestors were immigrants, I am an immigrant, many are immigrants…It is highly possible that many of world citizens have migrated, moved, come back, move again, crossed borders, lived somewhere for a while…did not want to come back, wanted to go back, wanted to see family, decided to stay for many reasons, or decided to go back for many reasons…all have a different story…I would be very curious to hear how many can say they have the full percentage of genes originating from that one country…and what would that be anyway…science is not able to fully determine such a thing…and it does not exist anyway…

The world is such an amazing place to explore, providing indefinite adventures and experiences, knowledge, education, language, reflections…A world of cultural and educational experiences, richness at its best! Why would we stop it and deny it???

I am an immigrant, many are immigrants, it is highly possible you are an immigrant…Be curious, be adventurous, be kind and respectful to one of another..Amour et paix!

We are all immigrants…

Déménager à l’étranger: Un grand mélange d’émotions!!!

Emploi en poche, le coup de départ était lancé, il fallait foncer… Partir pour l’Australie : une des décisions les plus importantes de notre vie. Les émotions dans le tapis, nous avions pris une décision. D’autres n’ont peut-être pas la chance d’avoir ce choix. Quand même, j’ai senti les émotions intenses, une grande bataille intérieure entre l’aventure, l’excitation et les peurs, anxiétés, inquiétudes… de grands défis !

EN ÉTAT DE CHOC, SUBMERGÉE DE DEMANDES ET EXCITÉE

Je pense que j’ai été sous le choc pendant quelques semaines. On a parlé de ce projet pendant des mois, en gardant même un silence pendant des semaines aussi. LA nouvelle, finalement arrivée, l’emploi décroché, on avait décidé qu’on ne pouvait plus reculer. On savait qu’on voulait y aller. Je m’imagine encore, pensant avoir un genre de voile blanc de peur dans mon visage, sous le choc, mais aussi excitée d’une grande aventure devant nous.

Je pense que le choc était lié à une aventure si loin sur la planète, si loin du Québec, si loin des racines que j’avais établies en Grande-Bretagne avec beaucoup de défis. N’ayant pas de passeport britannique, si je quitte plus de deux ans, je devrai refaire une demande pour un visa pour entrer dans ce pays.

Donc, où va-t-on après ? Où la vie nous mènera-t-elle ?

Les demandes sont venues de partout. Il y a eu tellement de choses à penser. Des listes incroyables de choses à faire, incluant prendre des décisions face à d’importants dilemmes et des choses essentielles de la vie : maison, travail, visa, assurance maladie pour en nommer quelques-uns. Pensant à tout ça, il a fallu continuer à vivre la routine, aller travailler, accomplir les tâches domestiques. J’ai eu l’impression de marcher dans un grand tunnel noir d’organisation, de processus bureaucratiques et de logistique. Le tunnel noir m’a servi de guide, l’Australie au bout. Il fallait que toutes les demandes soient liées à cette aventure, sinon je disais non…

DÉNI, L’INCONNU ET LA PEUR DE L’ÉCHEC

Initialement, j’ai eu du mal à anticiper comment tout allait se mettre en place et comment tout allait fonctionner. Je ne sais pas si je vivais dans le déni, mais je ne voulais pas mettre le panneau « maison à vendre » devant la maison. Je voulais vraiment vivre l’aventure, mais j’ai eu de la difficulté à admettre l’inévitable. Vendre NOTRE maison, la maison où les enfants ont vécu leur petite enfance ! Annoncer la nouvelle à nos amis et collègues a été aussi très difficile, des situations chargées d’émotions. Il fallait y aller, une chance inouïe, et d’un autre côté, laisser tout derrière nous…

J’ai aussi vécu de la peur de l’inconnu. Je dois admettre que je ne connaissais pas beaucoup l’Australie. J’ai eu l’occasion de connaître des Australiens en Grande-Bretagne. Les deux pays ont beaucoup d’associations culturelles et politiques. Ça semblait être un beau pays. Mais beaucoup d’incertitudes m’ont envahie. Il faut que ça marche. Revenir en arrière serait un sentiment d’échec. Ces émotions sont plutôt difficiles à communiquer.

Je croyais la discussion sur ces enjeux avec des amis ou la famille un peu plus risqué et difficile. C’est certain que je vivais des doutes et des questionnements qui étaient fort présents en moi. Qu’est-ce qu’on fait si on n’aime pas ? Qu’est-ce qu’on fait si on a des difficultés importantes ? Qu’est-ce qu’on fait si ça échoue ?

Des conseils ?

Donner le temps aux émotions de bien être vécues avec les gens qui vous entourent.
Parler de ces émotions bien présentes.
Les émotions peuvent être différentes pour chaque personne dans la famille donc il faut savoir bien écouter tous les membres de la famille.
Donner l’opportunité aux gens qui restent de discuter de ces émotions aussi.

Photo: Des émotions intenses accentuées par des règles d’immigration. L’Australie souhaite protéger toute sa végétation et refuse l’entrée au pays de tous les objets de bois non traités, comme les paniers en osier et tous les objets qui ont touché le sol. Mes paniers ont dû être vendus ou entreposés. Des souvenirs importants s’envolaient du même coup, des cadeaux de mariage, ainsi que des objets de famille qui appartenaient à ma mère.

Des émotions qui nous rappellent qu’on est bel et bien vivant…

10 facts about living in Australia with a 457 visa

When we started looking into moving to Australia on a 457 visa, we were puzzled by different subtleties of the system. There are different visas with advantages and disadvantages. We researched different blogs and ‘expat’ forums trying to find information about what we would be allowed to do or not on a 457 visa, but we did not find all the answers we needed. We also gain advice from an immigration lawyer who gave us some information. I just thought I would outline in this post some key important facts about this specific visa so that the information is easily accessible. These key facts are based on our experiences so far.

  1. A 457 is a sponsored visa from an employer. You must gain employment before entering Australia. You then become a ‘sponsored employee’. The employer has to go through an immigration process to show that the selected candidate is the best person for the job. There are specific regulations around this process. Not all employers will be allowed to sponsor an employee.
  2. A 457 visa is valid for 4 years. After entering the country, within a 2 year period, you will be able to apply for permanent residency or the employer can renew the 457 visa after 4 years.
  3. Children and spouse of the sponsored employee come under the same visa. Children can only be under the sponsored employee visa if under 18, or demonstrate dependency to the sponsored employee, up to 21.
  4. If the sponsored employee lose employment, the sponsored employee/family must either leave the country or find employment within a specific period of time.
  5. Children are not considered as ‘foreign students’ within the education system so NO additional educational fees will apply at primary and secondary schools.
  6. Whilst on the 457 visa, the family is allowed to travel unrestrictedly to and from the host country.
  7. You are NOT entitled to any family tax credits and childcare rebates. Childcare, without rebates, costs around $110/day.
  8. Spouse of the sponsored employee is entitled to work.
  9. You can purchase a house. You must apply to the government to purchase a house. This costs $5000 and is non-refundable. You must live in the property. If the house is no longer the principal residence, you must sell the property within a specific period of time.
  10. You must have private health insurance. Where health reciprocal arrangements exist between two countries, such as Australia-UK, you will be entitled to claim Medicare rebates (around half of the price of a health consultation).

Overall, a 457 visa is an interesting way to get to live in a new country with guaranteed employment before leaving your country of origin. It is important to really research the visa specifics to avoid surprises and costs. Well, we have had a few surprises along the way!!!

References

border.gov.au/Trav/Visa-1/457-

https://www.border.gov.au/Forms/Documents/1154.pdf