Six months in Australia

Six months have passed since I left Germany, time for a short retrospection of my time in Australia so far.

On 19th January I arrived in Melbourne together with eight others from all over Germany. We had never met before but we all booked the same travel package and thus had the same flight and hostel. Melbourne was fascinating, there’s nothing that is not available there, but after a few days we faced the challenge of having to find accomodation during a major event like the Australian Open. In the end, we had to move hostels almost every day and our group split up as it was impossible to find accomodation for a group of 9 people.

After having spent about one week in Melbourne, a few of us booked a bus tour to Adelaide, along the famous Great Ocean Road. We visited a lot of beautiful spots and after three days we arrived in Adelaide. There, it turned out to be less exciting than Melbourne although the sunny weather was awesome at that time. After a few days one of us joined a group of other backpackers heading to Perth and some others took a flight to Hobart in Tasmania. I was the only one who stayed in Adelaide, I wanted to visit Kangaroo Island not far away and therefore booked another bus tour.

Kangaroo Island was one of the most beautiful places I visited so far. An abundance of wildlife, kangaroos, echidnas, koalas, seals, and beautiful beaches and scenery – I am so glad I booked that trip.

When I returned to Adelaide I took a flight to Hobart and met up with some of my friends again. Soon after they left on a bus tour around Tassie which turned out to be a bit disappointing due to bad weather. I wanted to be more adventurous and do something crazy, that was the reason I carried a tent with me. So I decided to hire a touring bicycle and ride all around Tasmania.

What raised concerns from some people and praise from others became the greatest two weeks of my life. I was cycling along the Tasmanian East Coast on a bicycle packed with luggage. I met fantastic new friends, I’ve seen amazing scenery and after 14 days and about 500km without mobile reception and internet I arrived in Launceston. Unfortunately I was almost out of money and had to finish the trip there. A two-week dream was over and I was back in reality.

Soon after this amazing journey I had to face the worst thing ever happened to me. Some useless scumbag stole my small backpack – all my documents and valuables were inside. This caused months of trouble to me, as I had to replace everything from bank cards to laptop and phone. In the end my worthless Allianz luggage insurance decided not to cover the theft, so it also caused a noticable financial loss and the best I could do was to stay in Launceston and look for a job. The hostel where I staid was perfect, people were friendly and it’s easier to receive mail when you have a fixed location, so I stayed in Launceston and worked as a fruitpicker and later as a treeplanter, until a few days ago.

In the past few weeks I slowly got bored in Launceston and felt the wish to do something new, so I booked a flight to Sydney for early August. At the same time I also realised that, although seasonal work can be nice (when it’s not raining or cold), I’m more suited for office work and I would never earn a fortune with picking fruits where my earnings are often dependant on volume or working speed. So I decided to look for office work.

Job application

A few days ago I went to Hobart for a job interview and it looks promising. IT and media companies are rare in Tasmania, and so are media professionals. People were happy with my application and even offered me an employer sponsorship to get a permanent visa for Australia, this is amazing! I have a feeling it would be the perfect next step and a fantastic opportunity to start working in Australia as a web designer, my duties would be pretty much the same kind of work that I am already doing: graphic design, developing websites and using content management systems. I am now just waiting for a call, I could start working anytime, there’s not much else to do at the moment.

I really hope to get this job, but if not there is still my flight to Sydney in two weeks. Sydney would be great, but when I was in Hobart I had that feel-good feeling again that I already had in February when I was there last time. Hobart is such a nice city, a lot nicer than Launceston. It’s the perfect mix of metropolitan city and small regional town – I like Hobart. And the office where I would work is only a few meters away from the waterfront and the sea. It feels good being close to the sea.

Visa application

I like being in Tasmania, and I like being in Australia, this country is so huge it never gets boring and I’ve only seen a tiny little part of it so far. And the future looks better than in most European countries including Germany. Having to live in Germany for the rest of my life would make me feel depressed, the social situation is getting worse every year. Life in Australia is easier, costs of living seem lower, the mostly great weather and scenery makes you feel good, and job possibilities for people like me are outstanding. So why not live in Australia?

I think it would be great to have the possibility to live and work in several countries of the world. It it easy to cross the borders within the European Union, but in other countries it is not so easy. I decided to apply for a Skilled Visa in Australia and at the moment there is a good chance I will get it. It’s a lot of paperwork and looks very complicated to beginners but when taking a few days to read everything and making a plan, most people should be able to manage the whole application process themselves. I did so much research about visa possibilities in Australia in the last weeks, I feel I could start working as an immigration manager (just kidding).

In the end I found out that I am eligible to apply for a resident visa that allows me to stay and work for several years. The main difficulty will be to get a nomination for migration from a state government. They can nominate people for migration to help them getting a visa, it’s complicated to explain but I will need to get that.

On top of the state sponsorship I will need to pass a skills assessment, and IELTS English exam, and a medical examination with x-rays. I’m a bit unsure about the skills assessment but the rest should be feasible.

So to sum it up, if I pass the skill assessment, the English test in October (I hate exams but it should be possible to pass that after 10 months in Australia), the medical check and if I get a state nomination (it looks promising) I could be Australian resident in a couple of months.

In the end the whole visa application process will cost me around $3,500 – lots of fees and the costs for getting all the necessary documents and certified translations. Sounds quite a lot, but I think it’s worth it. If I imagine how things will be in Germany in 10 years, and how it will be in OZ, I will be glad to be in Australia. I think of it as an investment into my future.