I want you to think back to when you first arrived in Australia. What
emotions and memories jump to mind? Excitement, a new adventure, a new
start, but probably also cultural confusion, anxiety about the great
distance from home, your family, your friends, and uncertainty about your
status, your job, and in some cases, your identity.
In large part, this is why the AWA as a structured social and support
group exists. Its mission is to help members navigate the initial
transition phase, and to later evolve into an ongoing social and
In that initial transition phase, the present reality is greatly
skewed. There are often periods of loneliness, fear of the unknown,
concern about finding a job, and sometimes, little understanding of the
local cultural nuances. Even though you have relocated to one of the
most desirable countries in the world, there is often an initial phase
of self doubt and, perhaps, regret.
From the fruitless search for the favorite cereal that you used to buy
back home, to figuring out how to make sure your child has a friend at
school, to finding friends that can understand that despite all the
good things around you, you are still not quite settled yet. We have
all been there. We can relate to the situation and understand that it
is not "whining"; it is a very difficult adjustment.
The good news is that once you emerge from the expat fog, the sun will
be shining and you will experience a new world of beauty that you could
not have imagined. You will grow as a result of the experience, and
become more compassionate towards your fellow newcomers. For our
association, the aim is to help those newly arrived expats move through
the transition phase as rapidly and smoothly as possible, reducing the
time it takes to experience the sunshine that awaits them.
Being an active part of our network does require sacrificing some
personal time to extend a hand to those in need. The rewards are not
financial, but are often far more valuable; seeing a happy smile,
watching frustration melt away, and establishing contacts that develop
into friendships. For us to be as helpful as possible, we need to
ensure our network remains strong and becomes more creative and robust
than ever before.
Please volunteer to help us in any way you can. We need you. Stay tuned
for our volunteer opportunity announcement.