January 6, 2017

Living in Australia Vivendo Na Australia

Living in Australia Vivendo Na Australia

Living in Australia Vivendo Na AustraliaWritten by Sue Ellson and Alba Chliakhtine for ABRISA, the Brazilian Association for Social Development and Integration in Australia for Brazilians in Australia (Brasileiro Australiano)

First Edition (1.3MB) published 6 July 2010 and launched at the City of Melbourne Town Hall.

The text below has had all links checked, revised if necessary and updated on 6 January 2017.

Living in Australia – A Dream Coming True

Volume 1, Edition 1 – Copyright 6 July 2010

1. Background

2. Purpose

3. Target Audience

4. Your responsibility

5. Overview of Australia
5.1 General Tips and Advice
5.2 Useful Links and Resources
5.2.1 Population
5.2.2 Languages
5.2.3 Citizenship
5.2.4 Religions
5.2.5 Currency
5.2.6 Timezones
5.2.7 Weather
5.2.8 Indigenous Australians
5.2.9 Migration to Australia Statistics
5.2.10 Police in Australia
5.3 Information available in Portuguese
5.4 Additional information suggestions
5.4.1 Summary websites with information about Australia

6. Deciding to move to Australia
6.1 General Tips and Advice
6.1.1 Questions to answer and issues to consider before you move Consider other issues in your life at present Do you want to move? How will you really cope? What is the real risk or opportunity cost for you?
6.2 Useful Links and Resources
6.3 Information available in Portuguese
6.4 Additional information suggestions

7. Planning to move to Australia
7.1 General Tips and Advice
7.1.1 Starting your checklists
7.1.2 What do you need to do before you leave?
7.1.3 How will you stay in contact?
7.1.4 Beating the last minute rush
7.2 Useful Links and Resources
7.3 Information available in Portuguese
7.4 Additional information suggestions

8. ABC Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Australian Life
8.1 Attitude
8.2 Be Prepared
8.3 Cars
8.4 Development
8.5 Education
8.6 Food
8.7 Gardening
8.8 Housing
8.9 Individual
8.10 Judgement
8.11 Knowledge
8.12 Love and affection
8.13 Money
8.14 Networking
8.15 Orientation
8.16 Public Transport
8.17 Questions
8.18 Rituals, routines and relationships
8.19 Social networks
8.20 Time
8.21 Understanding
8.22 Values
8.23 Work
8.24 X marks the spot
8.25 Young country
8.26 Zen

9. Comprehensive Resources in English

10. Resources in Portuguese

11. Australian-Brazilian Links


1. Background

On 20 May 2010, Alba Chliakhtine from ABRISA, the Brazilian Association for Social Development and Integration in Australia
met with Sue Ellson from Newcomers Network to discuss the concept of creating a ‘Living in Australia’ guide for people
moving to Victoria, Australia from Brazil. In the future, the guide will be updated by volunteers from ABRISA.

We would also like to acknowledge the personal contributions of Liliana Magalhaes (initial research questionnaire), Gefferson Heemann (graphic design), Sally Luz (checklist creator), the various questionnaire respondents and the event assistants for the launch on 6 July 2010 at the Melbourne Town Hall.

We would also like to thank the City of Melbourne Community Use of Town Hall Hire Scheme, the Victorian
Multicultural Commission and the Exxon Mobil Volunteer Involvement Program.

This guide has been produced from various resources previously created by Newcomers Network, our current research and the research data collected by ABRISA. Wherever possible, it uses Australia-wide links and resources – however, all newcomers are encouraged to take responsibility for their own happiness and to gather important information from at least three separate sources for more complex decisions.

We estimate that there are approximately 3,000 people from Brazil living in Melbourne, so statistically, this is not a large group of people – that makes reading this document even more important so that you can enjoy a successful settlement here.

2. Purpose

The purpose of this Living in Australia Guide is to offer potential migrants planning to come to Australia information that may guide them in the migration and settlement process.

This guide does not intend to offer personal advice, simply a basic education, guidance and tips on how to minimise the issues faced in the transition process with a strong strategic focus.

It is based upon a wide range of personal experience, research and suggestions from ABRISA, individuals from the Brazilian community and Newcomers Network members and subscribers. This Living in Australia Guide includes both generic information suitable for all new arrivals as well as specific information and resources for the Portuguese speaking community.

The guide can be used by both ABRISA and Newcomers Network and can be shared with any other migrant group for the benefit of newcomers. Any reproduction must acknowledge the initial source of information.

3. Target Audience

The target audience for this Living in Australia Guide are:

  • people considering migration to Australia
  • people considering studying in Australia for a long period of time (greater than six months)
  • people who have recently arrived in Australia
  • ethnic organisations providing assistance to newcomers
  • service providers providing assistance to newcomers
  • government and non government organisations providing assistance to newcomers

4. Your responsibility

If you are seeking further advice, you need to:

  1. Read the Living in Australia Guide’s specific information section in full
  2. Follow the links and read the resources provided
  3. Prepare written questions that you can email to migrating [at] abrisa.org.au or to someone who can provide more assistance. Also ask them about their time availability for a follow up phone call. Follow up with a phone call (maximum of 10 minutes)
  4. If the matter is complex, seek additional professional advice (paid or unpaid) from at least three sources.

In Australia, you are EXPECTED to utilise mainstream services. This requires that you can speak, read and write English to a reasonable standard.

5. Overview of Australia

5.1 General Tips and Advice

To learn more about Australia, you will need to:

  • visit various websites and read information from a variety of sources
  • speak to various people and ask questions to seek different viewpoints
  • investigate particular topics that interest you
  • where possible contact Australian residents via their social networks to provide you with their personal experiences and lessons learnt on the migration process

5.2 Useful Links and Resources

5.2.1 Population

Australia’s population reached 22.2 million by the end of 2009, growing by 432,600 people over the year. Net overseas migration accounted for 64% of this growth, with the remaining 36% due to natural increase (births minus deaths).

  • 22.2% of Australians were born overseas and 70.9% were born in Australia
  • 14% of people were born in non-English speaking countries compared to 11.5% who were born in English speaking countries other than Australia
  • The largest overseas born group comprised people born in the United Kingdom (5.2% of the population) followed by
    New Zealand (2.0%), then China (1.04%) and Italy (1.0%)
  • No other country accounted for more than 1%
    (2006 Census)

It is important to remember that in most locations across Australia, we are a very multicultural society with people from many countries living here either as permanent residents, citizens, students or other visa holders.

Australian Bureau of Statistics

The estimated resident populations for the states and territories at 31 December 2009 were as follows:

New South Wales
Population: 7,191,500
Capital: Sydney

Population: 5,496,400
Capital: Melbourne

Population: 4,473,000
Capital: Brisbane

South Australia
Population: 1,633,900
Capital: Adelaide

Western Australia
Population: 2,270,300
Capital: Perth

Population: 505,400
Capital: Hobart

Northern Territory
Population: 227,700
Capital: Darwin

Australian Capital Territory
Population: 354,900
Capital: Canberra
(Population figures released June 2010)

5.2.2 Languages

The main language is English. The 2006 Census recorded that almost 400 different languages were spoken in homes across Australia. Close to 79% of Australia’s population speak only English at home.

The six most commonly spoken languages other than English were Italian, Greek, Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese with speakers of these languages together comprising 7% of the total population.

The Australian National Census is conducted every five years.

Making English your Priority

If you have migrated to Australia we advise you to invest upfront in your English skills. You may have to sit an IELTS test. However, if you are working in a professional area, you will need a much higher level of English language competency and workplace cultural training.

If you have identified a gap and need to improve your English skills, please make this a priority in your life as the people you meet at your course will also be a good source of information, networking opportunities and referrals.

There are many types of English language training available in Australia, at various costs. You may choose between government accredited training, ELICOS provided training, registered training organizations, private colleges, private tuition, student training, community based training, volunteer training, church group courses etc. For this reason, we encourage you to investigate all of the options and choose the best program for your personal needs and budget.

International English Language Test

Australia Network (now Australia Plus) – Learning English
(free online resource to help improve your English with links to also improve your Business English)

5.2.3 Citizenship

More then 4 million people have become Australian citizens since 1949.
Australian Citizenship

5.2.4 Religions

Australia has no official state religion and people are free to practise any religion they choose, as long they obey the law.
Australians are also free not to have a religion.

Racism No Way – Diversity of Religion

5.2.5 Currency

Australian dollar (AUD)
Royal Australian Mint

5.2.6 Timezones

With a land mass close to 7.7 million square kilometres, Australia is the world’s sixth largest country and is divided
into three separate time zones. For more information about time zones you can visit About Australia – Time Zones

5.2.7 Weather

The weather is a very popular topic of discussion in Australia – keep up with the latest online.
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

5.2.8 Indigenous Australians

The first Australians that lived on mainland Australia, Tasmania and the Torres Strait Islands (between Australia and Papua New Guinea) are known as Aborigines (pronounced Abb-or-idge-en-ees). It is believed that they have lived here for over 40,000 years.

You will regularly find on Government forms a question that asks if you are of ‘Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background.’ Today, Indigenous people make up less than 3% of the current Australian population.

Indigenous Australians continue to live throughout Australia including cities, towns, the coast, rural areas and the outback. There is no single Indigenous culture but a mixture of contemporary and traditional thoughts, ways and practices.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

5.2.9 Migration to Australia Statistics

Australia was ‘discovered’ by European Settlers in 1788. Since then Australia has a structured migration program accepting people under several visa categories. Now we have an extremely multicultural society. To better understand Australian migration visit:

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Publications
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade About Australia

5.2.10 Police in Australia

Australians consider it safe to contact the police whenever they need assistance with criminal or security matters. They are friendly and sensitive to the needs of migrant communities.

In a life or property threatening emergency, dial 000 (triple zero) from any telephone.

Australian Federal Police
Victoria Police

There are also several other law enforcement agencies in Australia and the following link provides a range of basic
information and relevant links.
australia.gov.au – Public Safety and Law

If you are planning to bring certain items to Australia, you will need to ensure that you comply with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources – Travelling to Australia Requirements (particularly in relation to pets).

5.3 Information available in Portuguese

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Life in Australia Book
Provides links to Living in Australia guides for each state/territory in multiple languages as well as settlement, cultural diversity and Australian values

Study in Australia – Live in Australia

5.4 Additional information suggestions

5.4.1 Summary websites with information about Australia

Australian Government websites are generally sources of impartial information about Australia and we recommend that you have a look at these websites to learn more about Australia.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – About Australia

This is a very comprehensive summary of many aspects of Australia and is an excellent introduction to the basics of Australia.

Australia.gov.au – About Australia

Similar to the above Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.

Australia.gov.au – Culture and Arts

Lonely Planet – Australia

Australian Tourism – Australia Guides – for cities and states

6. Deciding to move to Australia

6.1 General Tips and Advice

To decide whether or not to move to Australia, you will need to:

  • visit various websites and read information from a variety of sources
  • speak to various people and ask questions to seek different viewpoints
  • go through relevant checklists (your own and any you download from the internet)
  • be willing to complete a lot of preparatory work
  • have discussions with all of the significant people in your life and where your moving decision affects multiple or significant people in your life, come to some sort of agreement about your choice
  • find out the future cost of living in Australia so that you can set yourself a budget for your first six months
    (accommodation, transport, grocery shopping [Coles, Woolworths, Aldi] and the Queen Victoria Market (buy near closing times)
  • look at Section 9 of this guide for migration requirements for each state or visit the Visa Finder

6.1.1 Questions to answer and issues to consider before you move

Before you make your decision to move:

  • invite all members of your current relationship (partner and/or children) to be involved in the ‘moving discussion’ and decide how the final decision to move or not move will be made
  • even if children do not want to move, being included in the discussion is very important (perhaps plan how you will talk about this before you start the conversation)
  • employers should be encouraged to invite partners to be a part of the assessment for a potential posting, particularly when it is to a ‘hardship’ location (and to advise if there are support services like job search assistance or appropriate schooling for children)
  • ask yourself if other significant people in your life, like coparents and step children should be included in the process
  • and find out if you will be able to move (can you get a visa and must you obey laws or written agreements in your current location before you move?) Consider other issues in your life at present

Have you suffered a recent loss or a dramatic change in your life? Are you emotionally resilient? Do you have a good relationship with your partner? If your relationship is already having difficulties, be prepared to cope with additional unexpected difficulties after your arrival. Be fully aware of any requirements of the visa that you obtain, particularly if your relationship ends. Do you have elderly parents that will soon need additional health care? Do members of your family have special needs? If you are single, can you rely solely on your own abilities or have you always had someone else helping you directly or indirectly?

These issues can all be dealt with if you have enough time to make contingency plans, learn new skills (especially in areas relevant to the first job you will obtain), seek additional help or find suitable resources in the new location (preferably before you leave). Do not underestimate the grief that may be triggered by a move…..it can often bring other unresolved grief to the surface and make it even more difficult to settle on arrival. You won’t have your usual support network around you either. Running away cannot solve problems. Do you want to move?

This may sound like a simple question with a simple answer. But there is often one person in a relationship (or one of your close family members or friends) who is NOT keen for you to move. Respect the other person and their feelings and make every effort to understand their point of view and work together to find appropriate solutions.

If you are in a relationship and your partner is uncertain about the move, it can take longer to find new friends or interests because the extra energy associated with the excitement of a move is just not there. They will need to be more patient and you will need to be more understanding – but remember every location has some special features. How will you really cope?

Have you gone through a mental checklist of issues that could arise in the new location? If so, you could make a more informed decision about whether or not to move in the first place. Perhaps you have a medical condition that will be unbearable in the heat or cold? Will you be able to form new support networks?

Do you have adequate financial resources for emergencies or a lengthy time of unemployment? Have you set a time limit? Is it a permanent move or will you just stay for 12 months and see how it goes? If you need to return, can you? Preparing a ‘pros and cons’ list may be useful. If you arrive and decide to stay, will you be able to get a visa and move permanently? What is the real risk or opportunity cost for you?

Strategies can help make the decision making process more effective. Your own values, judgments, culture and assumptions will affect how you eventually decide whether or not to move. It is important to manage risk. What is an acceptable level of risk and what isn’t? What can you cope with and what can’t you cope with?

If you make this decision, will it be at the expense of some other decision? Is there more opportunity available that you haven’t recognised? If you could change one thing tomorrow, would that make your current lifestyle complete (and therefore not necessary to move?) Will moving give you the impetus you need to change your future in a positive way? Do you have both a back up plan and a contingency plan if things do not work out?

Sometimes circumstances force you into a move. Other times, you may decide, well, there are a lot of variables and unknowns, but hey, let’s do it anyway. If you have made the decision, you will need to constantly keep on trying to work things out. You need to expect that it will be challenging, so when it is, you are not overwhelmed and when it isn’t you can cope well.

Even the most well prepared, intelligent, financial and easy going people can find moving difficult. Moving is a common experience, but no two reactions are ever the same.

If the decision to move to your next location has already been made, don’t worry. Perhaps your next move can be made with some additional strategies and the wonderful tool of hindsight based on the items listed here.

Finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed by a potential move or settling in, seek some professional assistance…do not battle on until problems start occurring. There are a range of confidential free and low cost services available in local communities (in Australia and overseas) or you can consult professional service providers on a fee for service basis.

6.2 Useful Links and Resources

Department of Immigration and Border Protection – Coming to Australia for longer than a visit
This is an excellent starting point for you to start learning more about the migration requirements and processes to
help you make your decision to move.

australia.gov.au – Migration to Australia
Further link to useful categories of information.

6.3 Information available in Portuguese

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Life in Australia

For certain visas, you will need to read and agree to the Australian Values Statement. So you may
like to read this BEFORE you decide to move to Australia.

6.4 Additional information suggestions

The Overview of Australia page can help you learn some basic information and facts about Australia.

Making a decision for some people can be quick and easy – but completing ALL of the recommended planning, preparation and processes will require a great deal of commitment and stamina. You also need to ensure you have time to farewell all of your friends and family.

Sometimes it is a good idea to seek some professional, impartial advice and make your decision based on a comprehensive analysis of the pros and cons. Alternatively, you may like to go with a partner or friend and receive professional coaching and relocation assistance (this may also include receiving some cultural training before you make your final decision).

There is an international market for ‘expatriate’ advice on different countries around the world, so if you have questions on particular topics, you may like to complete internet searches on those topics with the words ‘expatriate, Australia’ in the search query.

7. Planning to move to Australia

7.1 General Tips and Advice

7.1.1 Starting your checklists

Once the decision has been made to move, the planning should begin. With so many things to organise, even after preparing a range of checklists, it can be easy to run out of time and end up extremely stressed. In fact it may be a good idea to allocate how long each task will take and then double or triple it.

The first step should be deciding how much you can realistically do on your own. Consider your current work, family and social commitments and don’t forget to include some special celebration time to say good bye to work colleagues, friends, family and people you see regularly (including local shop keepers, sport/hobby friends etc).

7.1.2 What do you need to do before you leave?

Do you need to learn English? Do you have suitable clothing for when you arrive? A stash of supplies you can’t do without (like your favourite foods/vitamins/medicines that can be brought with you)? Have you received some cultural training or attended some courses on how to move with children (particularly if they are teenagers)?

Have you searched for accommodation? Have you contacted some real estate agents to find out what sorts of properties
are available and how much they will cost to rent? Have you found any share accommodation or homestay options?

If you have booked temporary accommodation, can you extend your stay in temporary accommodation if you cannot find permanent accommodation? Hotels, short stay apartments, youth hostels and serviced apartments can be expensive if you need to stay in them for a long time. And do you have some back up plans and extra cash just in case ‘worst comes to worst’ and you can’t find work, housing etc?

For instance, you could have a list of people’s names that you could ring so that in an emergency, you could spend a short stay with them (friends of friends – see if you can be connected before you leave your home country). As well as thinking about your new location, have you thought about your old one? This may sound strange, but leaving can be a lot harder than you think. If you have not finalised all of your property, financial or other arrangements before you have left, can these matters be delegated to someone else?

Have photocopies of all important documents and items in your wallet/purse just in case they go missing (and keep them in a separate location to where you are with a trusted friend or relative).

Have you left a proxy to any person so they can resolve your issues while you are away? Proxies can only be done at the Brazilian embassy. This will cost you money and time. Also bring certified copies of important documents.

7.1.3 How will you stay in contact?

And last but not least, if you haven’t already, make sure you have an email address that you can access anywhere in the world….like a Yahoo/Hotmail/Gmail one that will be easy to tell people and suitable for your new location (don’t keep a .co.br one if you are moving to an area like .com.au – people will still think that you are living in Brazil). That way, even if people cannot contact you by phone, they can still get an email through to you. Create a listing of people you would like to stay in touch with so that when you are settled, you can email your new contact details directly to them.

7.1.4 Beating the last minute rush

If you find yourself at the last minute with too little time and too much to do, either call in some help or see which tasks you can either miss or complete later. Moving can be challenging because plans often change and delays disrupt schedules. Sometimes people just try and do too much.

Trying to fit in tasks that you have put off for the last five years in the midst of moving is not a good idea.

If you are migrating permanently, it is best to sell or give away as much as possible well before moving date (at least three weeks before) or have a good friend ready to sell or dispose of the items (storage either with a friend or elsewhere can be more trouble than it is worth). You will need to be ruthless but be very methodical in relation to important documents (certificates of birth, death, marriage, education, references, identification documents, passports, vaccinations, medical and dental records etc).

7.2 Useful Links and Resources

Top Moving Companies – Planning your move
This includes checklists, guides and useful information for all movers

ASA Consultants Pty Ltd – Moving Checklist

ASA Consultants Pty Ltd – What to pack and what to leave

ASA Consultants Pty Ltd – Will your gadget work in Australia

Smartraveller Backpacking overseas
Has advice for the independent traveller but this has some good information in it suitable for movers

Australia Post’s Moving House Tips
Services hints and tips for moving. Also has useful information, including topics on packing, moving with children and pets etc

Its Your Life Retirement Village Moving Home Checklist
Suitable for all ages with excellent Australian links

Tribus Lingua Moving 
Good basic list

7.3 Information available in Portuguese

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Life in Australia Book

Provides links to Living in Australia guides for each state/territory in multiple languages as well as settlement, cultural
diversity and Australian values. (Available in Portuguese)

Study in Australia – Live in Australia
(Available in Portuguese)

7.4 Additional information suggestions

Hopefully you have already read the Overview of Australia and Deciding to Move pages and are preparing to read the
various On Arrival pages too.

The MORE work and research you can do before you arrive in Australia, the quicker your transition and successful settlement will occur. The sooner you start networking and forming connections, the quicker you will access good quality referrals and opportunities.

Planning is always helpful, but it is also important to prioritise all of your tasks and ensure that the most important are DEFINITELY completed and the optional (not the ones you like doing) are done next. Any tasks that will be difficult to complete from Australia are also high priority (for instance anything involving some sort of government or business  organisation where a personal visit or payment is required).

8. ABC Guide to the Unwritten Rules of Australian Life

8.1 Attitude

Are you prepared to live without expectation, be understanding of unfamiliar behaviours and learn new ways of doing things or finding information? Australia has many free and low cost resources available to you and to access these, you need to take off the metaphorical glasses you were wearing in your previous location and prepare for a new lens here in Australia.

Get access to extra help through:
Lifeline (24 hour telephone advice and referral service)
Telephone 13 1114

Kids Helpline (Aged 5-25) Telephone 1800 55 1800

MensLine Australia Telephone 1300 789 978

Women’s Information Referral Exchange
Telephone 1300 134 130

Government Information for Young People

8.2 Be Prepared

Emergencies can occur at any time, so you need to find out how to ring for an ambulance (dial triple zero 000) and be an ambulance member to avoid an expensive bill. You also need to find your closest hospitals (from home and work) and start your personal medical history with a local General Practitioner (GP) – it is a good idea to ask to be recommended to a local GP or medical clinic.

If you need to see a specialist, you will need to go to the doctor (GP) first and receive a referral notice. Men in particular need to make sure that they visit the doctors regularly and ensure that their medical needs are addressed (do not put off going to the doctors if you have any unusual symptoms). A free telephone translation service is available at every medical facility.

Medicare provides a range of information in other languages including important information about Medicare, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, Australian Childhood Immunisation Register, Australian Organ Donor Register and Family Assistance Office. Find out about your entitlements to Medicare, how to get a Medicare card, how to enrol your children on the Immunisation Register, how to become an organ donor on the Medicare Services page.

Medical pharmacies in Australia will only provide prescription medications with a prescription. You will need to see a doctor first, in particular for anti-biotics and anti-inflammatories to obtain a prescription. Depending on your visa, you may also need to organize your own health and hospital insurance as you may not be entitled to receive assistance from the government  sponsored Medicare system.

If you need medical attention outside of normal hours but it is not an emergency, it is better to go to an after hours medical clinic, a locum service or telephone Nurse On Call  1300 60 60 24 as non-urgent cases that arrive at a hospital will need to wait a long time to see a doctor.

8.3 Cars

These are a very popular form of transport in Australia so as soon as you arrive, make an effort to get a driver’s license (which is also used as a form of identity), even if you are not planning to purchase a car. You will need to find the state based road transport authority and follow their guidelines.

It is also a good idea to join the local Royal Automobile Association for discounts and affordable roadside assistance in the case of a breakdown.

Registration and Licensing Information


8.4 Development

When you move to a new location, after all of your personal affairs are sorted, you will usually find that you have some extra time available that you can use to learn a new skill, language, hobby, sport etc. There are many free and low cost options available in cities and communities around Australia so make an effort to get involved, participate and enjoy the many benefits of living in Australia.

8.5 Education

It is expected that most students will complete primary and secondary education before moving on to tertiary education (either vocational or university studies). There are some very good state funded schools (particularly in metropolitan areas where there are also many private schools close by) and various types of independent and non-government schools (for instance, Catholic schools).

Our western style of education encourages students to take responsibility and use their own effort to achieve good results and you must not plagiarise, copy other people’s work or cheat to achieve good results. Schools have various programs to encourage integration with all students from all backgrounds, so make an effort to participate in various activities and seminars to meet new people and learn extra information.

Whilst there is some Australia-wide control of education, most states have state authorities that are responsible for local administration. Make an effort to visit educational facilities (not just look at their websites) and talk to current users and local people to gather extra unwritten information.

Education and Training
Life in Australia is so much easier and better if you can read, write and speak clear English. Make an effort to improve
your English – both through funded training and extra courses and activities.

8.6 Food

It is vital for you to make an effort to source the same types of food and ingredients that you have consumed in the past. This will help you feel more at home and trigger off your fond memories and sense of being well satisfied. There are various stores that specialise in cuisine items from particular countries, but you may also find that local precincts of say Chinese goods stores will also stock items that you may not find in the local markets or supermarkets (like non traditional fruits or vegetables).

Restaurants close to universities often provide cheaper meals for students. It is much cheaper to purchase from open markets than supermarkets, particularly near closing times.

8.7 Gardening

Many homes in Australia still have gardens in the front or the back of the house/unit and you are expected to maintain the garden, including the area next to the roadway. It is reasonably cost effective to hire a gardener to receive regular maintenance (check your local newspaper).

If you are in a rental property, you need to maintain the garden and only renovate/remove plants with the landlord’s permission. You can also visit some private gardens through Australia’s Open Garden Scheme.

Open Garden’s Victoria

Gardening Australia

8.8 Housing

If you have arrived in Australia without Australian references, you may find it difficult to secure a rental property. What may assist your application is an increase in the amount of ‘Bond’ money or a prepayment of one month or more of rent. You also have a variety of rights and responsibilities as a tenant – and it is important to understand the local rules and regulations to ensure that you do not lose your bond payment or live in unsuitable conditions.

It is not a good idea to purchase a new residence immediately upon your arrival – it takes some time to familiarise yourself with a local area and its amenities/access to your workplace/schools etc – and there are many fees associated with buying and selling a property so you need to make your decision carefully. Each state government has its own consumer affairs or fair trading organisation and they usually publish good quality information for home renters or purchasers.

Real Estate Institute of Australia

Real Estate (Purchasing and Rental Property)

Real Estate Institute of Victoria

Housing and Property

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Tenants Union of Victoria

8.9 Individual

In Australia, each person is expected to take responsibility for themselves and we have a strong ethic of volunteering our time to help other people. This may be different to a ‘collectivist’ culture where you may have been part of a small family group and only cared for the people within that group. Australians are well known for their commitment to local community groups, emergency services, sporting clubs, hobby groups, migrant associations, faith groups, professional associations etc. Make time to be involved in groups outside of your own life/family.

Children have access to a range of health and wellbeing services, starting with Maternal and Child Health visits with newborn babies. Most children participate in organized sport outside of the school curriculum and are also involved in other recreational activities – like scouts, drama, dancing, art, music etc. There are also various child care options although securing assistance outside of normal work hours can be difficult. To be able to support your children, you need to keep your own personal physical and mental health strong – so do not be afraid to seek help if you are feeling overwhelmed or lonely.

Volunteering Australia

There are many free and low cost public events that you can attend throughout the year in Melbourne. Visit the following websites for more information.
Only Melbourne

That’s Melbourne

Federation Square

Things to see and do in Melbourne and Victoria

8.10 Judgement

In Australia, you are free to practice your own religion, faith, lifestyle etc, but you must follow our local laws, rules and regulations. The various state police forces are safe places to report a criminal offence and your privacy will be maintained. As a local resident, you are encouraged to report suspicious behaviour.

Australian National Security

Australian Federal Police

Victoria Police

Neighbourhood Watch Victoria

8.11 Knowledge

There are many ways to find information in Australia. It is always a good idea to start with an internet search and also a conversation with someone else. It is then necessary to narrow down the extra information you need to collect, do your best to find it and if you need to speak to someone over the phone, have your questions written down so that you do not forget to ask something. Always finish off your questions with ‘do you have any other suggestions?’ as sometimes there is information that has not been published that would be very helpful to you. For important decisions, make sure that you source information from at least three different sources (preferably unbiased) and if necessary, be prepared to pay for additional advice (preferably by he hour rather than a large upfront fee).

Establishing your telephone and internet connection is very important. You can choose from various providers at:

Victorian Energy Compare

Choice – Mobile Phone Plans

Finder – Credit Cards

Drive Now – Compare Car Hire and Campervan Rental

Broadband Guide – Internet Connection Finder
(the plans in Australia are probably different and may have limitations)

If you do not have an internet connection with Skype, then find a telephone card through a local shop to make cheap telephone calls.

In the city centre, the State Library Victoria has free wireless internet access and 15 minute or one hour access with their own computers. It is also a nice place to visit.

It is also important to go to the Visitor Information Centre at Federation Square – they have many helpful staff willing to answer questions.

There are many free WiFi internet spots (although it is courtesy to purchase a refreshment or product). There is also a free Melbourne Greeter Service offering 2-4 hour personal orientation (need to book in advance)

8.12 Love and affection

Some people coming from other countries find Australians friendly but not affectionate – in business meetings, it is inappropriate to greet one another with kisses – a hand shake is usually used (including with women). The amount of personal space that people like to have around them also varies – so it is a good idea not to physically touch other people on trains, at work, socially etc unless they approach you first. If someone says ‘no’ to any personal attention, the other person must respect their choice.

Australians are generally well educated about safe sex (including using a condom and birth control) although there are still people who prefer to wait until marriage before intimate contact. In Australia it is illegal to enter into a polygamous marriage. But the federal government recognises relationships that have been legally recognised overseas, including polygamous marriages. This allows second wives and children to claim welfare and benefits.

8.13 Money

Money can disappear very quickly in a new country. It costs a lot of money to live in short term accommodation, buy all of your meals and survive on savings if you do not find work immediately. It is therefore vital for you to set a financial budget and make every effort to save money wherever you can. Consider preparing your own meals, find share or low cost accommodation until you secure work and keep a record of all the money you have spent in a small diary (you will quickly see where you are  pending most of your money and if you have to write down each item, you may be more careful).

Always consider low cost options wherever possible and spread out your tourist type activities over the first year rather than the first few months. Find discount stores, only buy what you absolutely cannot live without and consider buying second hand clothing, furniture etc. Open your bank account as soon as possible after arriving (use your Passport for identification).

8.14 Networking

There are so many reasons why you should network in Australia. It is vital for you to establish three different types of networks – social (friends and family), work (within the workplace, the industry and the profession) and personal (your own sport, hobby, interest, faith, recreation etc). If one of these networks becomes unsupportive for a period of time, you then have at least two other networks that can help you. For example, if you are looking for work and not having any success, if you still have good relations with your social and personal networks, you will be able to cope as they still recognize and respect you regardless of the work situation.

Networks provide you with referrals, mentors, opportunities, support, someone to ask questions, fun, entertainment, etc – but it can take time to create strong networks. It is good for newcomers to maintain old networks (by keeping in contact at least three times per year) and create new networks (but in Australia, this may take some time and perseverance). Most people find that after they find their first friend, many more come along. It is best to connect with people who have similar interests, values and passions in life who live close by but it is also good to meet people who are different and can expand your awareness.

Telephone Directories – contain comprehensive listings
Yellow Pages
White Pages
True Local

Social and Business Networks

Communities Network
Brazilians – ABRISA
Portuguese – Portuguese Speaking Organisations in Victoria

Free Classifieds
Gumtree  (free classifieds)

Do an internet search for your interest area and then use the words ‘Association, Australia’ and see what comes up.
You may also like to search by your country name and also look for blogs, forums, Twitter posts etc

8.15 Orientation

Planning and preparation is vital for a successful move, whether that be to Australia or returning to your home country. It may be easy to think that if your settlement has not been successful, you will be able to return and life will continue as normal, but there is a long history of people who go home and find culture shock all over again and then move back to Australia. The top three success factors include:

  • creating a good first impression on your arrival (by being well organized and having someone to meet you at the
    airport to take you to some suitable accommodation and sufficient financial resources to support any emergencies
    or a lack of paid work in the first 12 months)
  • starting new friendships with people of all backgrounds as soon as possible and asking people questions so you can find information. Seek help or assistance if you need it
  • expecting it to be challenging, being prepared to learn completely new ways of doing things and not making assumptions about what happens to you or judging other people’s behaviour through your own experience (they may not have intended to offend you in any way but your existing cultural perspective may find it offensive)

8.16 Public Transport

In capital cities, the public transport system is regularly used by commuters and the service quality can vary from time to time. In some cases it can be overcrowded and unreliable but if you do live close to a transport hub or train station, as a general rule, you will have many options. You will need to make sure that you always have the right ticket and concession/student identification/card with you if you are travelling with a concession fare ticket. Investigate all of the local fares available as you can sometimes get extra discounts for travelling on a Sunday, during off peak times, after 6pm etc. Whilst the individual transport modes may be run by private companies, there should be a central timetable resource for your state.

Public Transport Services

Public Transport Victoria

8.17 Questions

It is vital to ask questions whenever you need to, especially in the workplace where your personal safety is at risk. You can always ask different people questions and if you have personal concerns, it is a good idea to speak to someone outside of your workplace. Service providers are usually required to maintain your privacy – but if you have any concerns, again, ask the question before you reveal your personal details. Remember that when you say ‘yes,’ people assume you mean ‘yes’ and that you will then do whatever you have agreed to or have’ understood the question. Likewise, if you say ‘no’ people will assume that you mean ‘no.’

8.18 Rituals, routines and relationships

In your previous location, you would have had many regular routines and rituals – ways to celebrate important occasions,
regular events to attend, similar patterns of work and socializing. However, in your new location, you need to recreate all of these and replace your old practices with new ones. Relationships with people from your previous location will change, but it is very important to remain in regular contact with your most special friends and family members (thanks to technology and Skype this is both simple and cheap).

Your current relationships may also be tested so it is vital for you to make new friends, particularly of the same gender, so that you have other people to talk to face to face. If you are embarking upon new friendships and relationships, do not rush in to these at the same intensity as your previous well established relationships as some people find this overwhelming when you have only met recently. If you are seeking a personal relationship to help you cope with the adjustment, remember that it is still important to spend time with people who share the same values as you do.

Relationships Australia

Australian Psychological Society (has good tip sheets in the publications section)

The Line (if you think someone has crossed the line and been disrespectful or inappropriate with you)

8.19 Social networks

There are many ways to create new social networks in Australia – some of the most popular include sporting groups, hobbies, interests, causes, faith groups, ethnic communities, industry / work / professions, online forums/ networks etc. You can connect with people face to face, online, via referral from someone else, at events, at open days, at festivals, seminars, training or educational facilities, the list is endless. Use methods that suit your own personal style and wherever possible, collect people of different ages and backgrounds and decide as time passes, which ones you will keep in contact with in the longer term (but do not dismiss people during your first six months as they can all help you – even if they are only answering questions).

8.20 Time

In most cities in Australia, if you make an appointment for a certain time (business, personal or social), even if you know that the other person may be late, you are expected to arrive on time (so allow extra time to cover transport delays, difficulty finding the location or security procedures).

Australians look forward to long weekends and holidays as a time to relax with family and friends, however, in most
cases, they do work hard at work.

Some key dates (there are many more always being added to the calendar) are:
January – Australian Tennis Open, Australia Day (26th)
February – Valentine’s Day
March – Harmony Day, Diversity Week, Grand Prix, Moomba Festival, Comedy Festival
April – Easter, Anzac Day (25th)
May – Mother’s Day (Second Sunday)
June – Queen’s Birthday Long Weekend – football is in full swing
July – Skiing is much more popular
August – Melbourne Writer’s Festival
September – Father’s Day (Second Sunday), Grand Final Month
October – Melbourne International Arts Festival
November – Melbourne Cup (Second Tuesday)
December – Christmas Day, Christmas Parties
There are always many local, ethnic, activity specific festivals in Melbourne city, suburbs and regional Victoria. There
are also many film festivals, sporting carnivals, displays, exhibitions and competitions.

8.21 Understanding

The Australian, State and Local Governments all have policies and procedures to encourage cultural diversity, equal opportunity and equity for all residents. There have been many initiatives that have helped other residents be more understanding to the other people living here but there is also a strong emphasis on newcomers making the effort to understand the Australian lifestyle as well. Please take some time to review these websites.

Diverse Australia Program

Reconciliation Australia

Australian Human Rights Commission

Accessible Government Services

Department of Social Services – Settlement and Multicultural Affairs

8.22 Values

As an island continent a long way from the rest of the world, we are well known as pioneers of new technology, research and innovation as we do not have the immediate access to other resources. Australians encourage the underdog’ (the person who may have fought hard to get to their current position) but at the same time, they knock down the ‘tall poppy’ (the person that they think is receiving too many accolades for their achievements). In most states, it seems as though the local football code will receive a lot of coverage in the media (Australian Football League, Rugby, Soccer) and everyone is always looking forward to the weekend.

It is very important to actually say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ rather than imply this message through your tone of voice. For instance, if you were saying yes, you would say ‘yes please’ and if you did not want something, you could say ‘no thank you.’

If you are in a situation where there are people who do not speak the same language as you (even if it is only one person), you must speak in English. If you cannot communicate with the other people in English, then you will need to ask permission to speak in your first language and ask someone to translate what you are trying to say so that they can understand you. It is considered extremely offensive and rude to speak in another language in the presence of someone who cannot understand it.

Australians are generally very willing to take extra time to understand you if your English is not perfect – just try and speak more slowly. If you are planning to live in Australia permanently, you must learn English.

In conversation, you need to ‘get to the point’ quickly rather than explain all of the history or background of a situation. A regular greeting is ‘Hello, How are you?’ and the standard reply is ‘well thanks.’ The person is not expecting to hear about any personal problems you may be having, it is just a greeting. You also need to keep the volume of your voice similar to that of the person you are talking with. You will also find conversation easier if your tone of voice and mannerisms are similar.

If you encounter a busy service situation, you are expected to join a queue where the first person to arrive is served first. However, in a shopping centre, if you have many groceries to purchase and someone behind you only has a few items, it is also courtesy to let the person behind you go first. Again, after being served, say thank you.

If you are invited to attend an occasion, you will need to confirm your attendance (and not cancel on the day and arrive on time) and offer to bring something – this could include something to drink or eat. Even if the person says not to bring anything, it is still courteous to bring a small gift (chocolates or flowers). If you are invited to ‘bring a plate’ or ‘BYO meat’ this means that you need to bring a large serving of food or your own meat to cook on the barbeque.

8.23 Work

It can be difficult to secure your first job in Australia – and you need to start the job search before you arrive. Most newcomers find their first job through networking and it is vital to have your resume converted to an Australian format.

Seek Career Advice and Tips

ABRISA may have a job mentor available – contact migrating [at] abrisa.org.au for more information. It is important for you to understand that the workplace culture in Australia is very different to the workplace culture in Brazil. In most cases, people use first names at work and it is a more egalitarian management style. It is important to observe how people interact and state their opinions before you automatically use your own personal style. You will also be working with people from many different backgrounds and you will need to be ‘politically correct’ to avoid creating offence (avoid racist, sexist, discriminatory comments).

It is very important to work collaboratively with your coworkers and respect the chain of command. If you are invited to social functions, wherever possible, try to attend. During your induction, it is a good idea to ask about your workplace protocols, norms, standards etc because this is often not discussed or written in documentation.

You may also seek a career and job search mentor and consider paying an hourly rate for a Career Development Professional that specializes in your industry to help you learn more about that industry here in Australia.

You need to learn the basics of our interviews (always dress professionally, answer the questions, continue the discussion that they direct) workplace culture (there are many unwritten rules so observe behaviours and ask polite questions to avoid making mistakes) and make an effort to manage your own career and professional development.

See if you can find a mentor to assist you with the job search process and attend free and low cost events/forums so that you can meet people personally. Remember that it is not what you know, or who you know but who refers you that can help you find work (particularly your first job if you do not have any Australian experience).

You may need to register your resume directly with employers and it is always a good idea to find out which recruitment companies specialize in your industry/profession and perhaps speak to a consultant about the positions that may be available. Remember, that if you are contacting them free of charge, they will not necessarily have time to spend with you. Their customer is the employer (who pays for their service) so some recruitment consultants will only speak to you if they have a current position available. You may be better off contacting an outplacement service and paying an hourly fee for professional advice and networking assistance. Remember to put your profile on LinkedIn.

Career Development Association of Australia

Jobs and Careers Ebook

Qualifications and Skills Recognition

Myfuture Careers Information Service

Australian Job Search

Job Watch (Employment Rights Legal Centre for Victoria but has very useful information for people working in Australia
– what is ‘right’ and what isn’t)


8.24 X marks the spot

Wherever you are, for however long you are staying, this is your current location and it is up to you to make the most of it. Ultimately, no one else is responsible for your happiness except you! Sometimes, you will not settle and you may decide to move to another location or back to a previous location – there will still be an adjustment that takes place and this will take time. Try not to be impatient, be kind to yourself and be careful not to dramatise your situation or do too much and feel overwhelmed.

Australia is well known for its love of sport. You do not need to pay expensive annual membership fees to be able to join a swimming, soccer, volleyball club etc. Contact migrating [at] abrisa.org.au if you would like to be referred to a Brazilian sporting group.

8.25 Young country

Australia has a very old indigenous population (thousands of years) but a very young western population as the first white settlers started arriving in the late 1700’s. Today it is a very multicultural society with many people having at least one parent who was born overseas. As a relatively young western culture, we are constantly adapting and changing to the needs of the various generations, cultures and circumstances from both the Australian and International economies.

8.26 Zen

Is the feeling you will start to experience when you have gone through a successful settlement – you will have coped with the ups and downs and start to feel as if Australia is your new home – this usually takes between three and ten years but can occur sooner if you utilize the most effective strategies. Remember the saying that If it is to be, it is up to me.

9. Comprehensive Resources in English

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Visa Finder
This is an excellent starting point for you to start learning more about the migration requirements and processes to help you make your decision to move.
australia.gov.au – Migrating to Australia – links to topics

Further link to useful categories of information.
australia.gov.au – About Australia – comprehensive resource

Trade and Investment Victoria – Publications

Each State Government has their own website and a Migration website and some also have services to help you
get your overseas qualifications assessed to an Australian equivalent. Read carefully their website and if unable to fully
understand contact the different networks available to you with your list of questions.

Australian Capital Territory
ACT Government
Skilled and Business Migration

New South Wales
NSW Government
Live and Work in NSW

Northern Territory
NT Government
Business and Skilled Migration

QLD Government
Moving to Queensland

South Australia
SA Government
Immigration South Australia

TAS Government
Migration Tasmania

VIC Government
Live in Victoria

Western Australia
WA Government
Living in Western Australia

Australian Local Government Association – list of all local councils across Australia – council websites are an excellent source of local information – make sure you know the council area where you are living and where you are working as you are entitled to access these services, whether you are renting, purchasing or owning a property.

Convict Creations – interesting website about Australia

10. Resources in Portuguese

Department of Immigration and Border Protection Life in Australia

Department of Human Service’s list of Portuguese Publications

Medicare Information in Portuguese

Fair Work Information in Portuguese

Study in Australia in Portuguese

ABRISA has various publications translated into Portuguese

Food Safety – in some other languages (but not Portuguese)

SBS Media in Portuguese (radio programs, television, news etc)

11. Australian-Brazilian Links

ABRISA – Brazilian Association for Social Development and Integration in Australia – based in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

BraCCA – Brazilian Community Council of Australia – based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

ABRASSO – Australian Brazilian Association – based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

ABCD – Association for Brazilian Bilingual Children’s Development Inc – Non profit community organization based in Manly, New South Wales, Australia

Embassy of Brazil – Based in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Consulate General of Brazil – Based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Brazil Trade and Investment Bureau – Based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Australia Brazil Chamber of Commerce

COALAR Council on Australia-Latin America Relations

Australia-Latin American Business Council

You can also utilize various social networking websites by selecting search criteria including the words ‘Brazil, Portuguese, Brazilian, Language, Culture’




Hello – connect with people who share your passions (replaced Orkut which was previously very popular in Brazil)

More information
Opening hours
Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 1:00pm – 4:00pm
2-4 Ross House, 247 Flinders Lane,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 3000
Phone (03) 9650 0538
contactus [at] abrisa.org.au • www.abrisa.org.au

This guide has been developed in partnership with the Newcomers Network with the support of the Victorian Multicultural Commission, the City of Melbourne and ExxonMobil Australia Partnership Support.

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