We know Australia is a lucky country and how good it is to live here. Or do we? Read from new Australians why they think so courtesy of the Dept of Immigration & Citizenship:
Emmanuel Nkengurutse lived in a refugee camp in Tanzania for 12 years before coming to Australia under a Humanitarian Visa. Emmanuel describes his life before and after:
‘We were constantly hungry, and when it rained we had to hide under the trees for shelter,’
‘We built four-walled houses using bricks we made ourselves out of mud, and used plastic sheeting for roofs,’ he said.
‘ [Receiving his Visa to Australia]was a feeling…something beyond our thinking... [it's] a second chance at life,’
‘We had dreamed of coming to this beautiful country. It was a miracle of God, to come here.’
‘The safety of the people is guaranteed and no-one is treated unjustly,’ he said.
‘In Burundi, our lives were in danger because there were people there who would kill us.’
Stephen Oliver is an English-born filmmaker who decided to become a citizen while making a documentary on Skippy the Bush Kangaroo called 'Skippy: Australia's First Superstar'. He speaks about his decision to become a citizen:
'It was something that I had dreamed about since my first visit down under in 1992,'
'There's a refreshing honesty about Australians. If you meet another Australian overseas, it's comforting because the chances are you know where they stand.
'I also love the spectacular natural beauty of the country ... the beaches and landscapes, the rivers and mountains, and perhaps, above all, the sheer space the country affords you.'
Veronica Garcia-Hansen chose to come to Australia with her then-boyfriend-now-husband to complete a PhD in Architecture. She talks of the benefits for herself and her son, Lucas:
‘Australia has given me a lot of opportunities. I finished my PhD, got a great job, and now my son, Lucas, is growing up here, too,’
‘I wanted to become a citizen because both Lucas and my husband are citizens, and I really wanted to feel at home.’
‘We lived in London for Lucas's first year but we thought in the long term it wasn't the best place for a child to grow up and couldn't compare with the opportunities he could have here,’ Veronica said.
‘The weather was terrible and the houses were small. I feel like he can grow up freer in Australia because there's so much space to run around in.’
Caroline Manyath, a Pallative Care Nurse, has moved from South Africa to rural New South Wales with her husband and two girls. Caroline describes her life in the small rural community:
‘My colleagues are amazing and I've made a lot of local friends,’ Caroline said. ‘I've never felt like an outsider in Australia. Even when I first got here there were all these friendly people – strangers – who welcomed us by always chatting and laughing. They made my family and I feel at home.
‘I am also lucky because two of the doctors here, as well as one of my patients, are from South Africa. I get to speak my home language, Afrikaans, in the outback. It can't get any better than that.’
‘I have had a great time here...It's been an amazing experience. That's the best way to describe it – a life experience.’
‘We experienced this recently when we had to take the girls to an ear, nose and throat specialist 300 kilometres away,’ she said. ‘Fortunately our employers are very supportive and gave us time off to be able to accompany the girls.’
‘They love it in Cobar,’ Caroline said. ‘I once joked to them about going back to South Africa and they said "you can go, but we're staying here!".’
Soubhagya Das, a petroleum engineer from Odissa, India lived and worked in Norway before coming to Australia. He comments on his life in Australia:
"I have been working with a highly competent, highly skilled work force who can take on any challenge"
"Perth is a wonderful place to live"
"Even though it's small enough, with one million people, it's still cosmopolitan. I can drive anywhere in half an hour. I could never do that where I lived before. There is so much to do here and so much opportunity."
"My children went to an international school in Norway which was very expensive... Now they're receiving an equivalent standard of education in a Perth public school. It's fantastic. They play team sports like soccer and cricket and are both very good"
"In Norway, the foreign community kept very much to itself. In Perth, we've been welcomed with open arms. Everyone has been cordial and kind. Everyone in my family is happy we moved to Australia."
Dr Andrew Greensmith, a New Zealand plastic and maxillofacial suregon who now works at the Melbourne Royal Children's Hospital, talks about his commitment to Australia:
'It's a place I want my children to grow up in,' Dr Greensmith said. 'It's a land full of opportunity – it values people of all cultures, and that's what we really found great.'
'It's the attitude of nothing's a problem, that everything is achievable.
'One of the great things about Australia is that anyone can have a go and has that same potential to achieve.'
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