To refer to the check-list that you will guide you in immigrating to Australia within a week please refer to the Introduction post in the series.
Get Your Documents Certified
Do you remember all the photocopies that I asked you to make when you were back in Africa? I want you to look for the first chemist you can find as soon as you land and ask the pharmacist – who is legally allowed to certify documents – to certify as many photocopies as he can.
If he can’t certify them all, or he isn’t allowed to certify (or worse he doesn’t want to) then go from chemist to chemist until you get your documents certified.
Any time you get a document that is important, especially legal documents, I want you to make it a habit to make photocopies of the document and get them certified.
There are other professionals allowed to certify documents and to get a comprehensive list please click on this link. (The list is a pdf file so please make sure you have Adobe Reader. It is also VERY comprehensive so please make sure you give it a glance, there may be professionals closer to you who can certify documents.)
The reason I chose chemists to certify documents, there are a lot more people including police who can certify documents, is because:
a) There are chemists all over the place: including the airport when you land.
b) Chemists tend to remain open later than other businesses (in case you want documents certified past 5pm when most business close)
c) Convenience (the person who is legally able to certify documents in a police station is usually only there for one random hour per day whereas pharmacists remain in their chemists ALL DAY)
Should you end up applying for a job where you will be working with:
- The disabled
- The elderly or
- Young people, you will need to get a police check. Make sure you make photocopies of that and get the photocopies certified. More on this later.
Mobile Phone Line
Most of you know more about mobile phones than I do so I won’t bother explaining how mobile phones work. In my experience,I would advise you to purchase (at least to begin with) an Optus prepaid sim card package.
NB: If you would like to purchase your sim card online please click on this link to buy an optus sim card from ebay.
The Optus prepaid package (where you pay for the credit to make calls and sms prior to doing so, as opposed to post-paid where you get a bill at the end of every month) has a number of features that fit in perfectly with the student lifestyle:
a) $10 credit: This can be in the form of text saver credit where $10 buys you 70 smses: Sending an sms usually costs 25 cents, this means that the text saver gives you an overall saving of about $7.50.
It can also be in the form of standard credit that allows you to make calls and sms. Great for when poverty and yourself collide. The $10 recharge is usually only valid for a week.
b) Free minutes: This is where you get a certain number of “free minutes” every time you recharge that allow you to talk to people on the Optus network for free. This comes as a bonus when you recharge with either $30, $50 or $100 credit (you can probably recharge using more money but I have never had to do so).
c) Free minutes to special numbers: On top of the general free minutes you also get even more ” free minutes” to numbers that you specify on the Optus network. Just in case you have a core group of special people that you will constantly be calling while here in Australia.
d) Turbo charge: If you don’t want the free minutes you can instead go for the Turbo charge option (this and free minutes are only valid from $30 recharge upwards) where $30 becomes $120 of credit, $50 becomes $150 of credit and so on and so forth. Every recharge gives you 3 times the value.
e) Most people I have met are on Optus, meaning you should be able to put the free minutes to good use and all those people can’t be wrong can they? (don’t answer that…lol)
To get more information on Optus prepaid sim packages check out the Optus website.
The most important thing to remember is: make sure all the mail you will ever receive in Australia goes to one address regardless of how many times you move.
Since arriving in Australia I have moved 6 times and I know there is probably a lot of mail, maybe even important mail, that has been lost in the mix. To avoid that you can:
1) Use Your Guide’s or Friend’s Residential Address as Your Mailing Address: In order for this to work, make sure that your guide’s or friend’s residential address is their permanent address and that they won’t be moving in the near future.
2) Get a P.O. Box: This is where all your mail goes to one central post office box. I highly recommend this option.
Nowadays, “the box” comes complete with a service that lets you know- either via email or SMS -when you have new mail in your post office box.
It’s cheap to set up and maintain, so please fill in this application form and get one if means allow.
3) Use Earth Class Mail: By far the most superior choice in terms of convenience.
How it works?
NB: I recently learned that Earth Class cannot provide you with a mailing address in Australia. You can still use the service in Australia but all your mail would have to go to an American mailing address, which is a bit of a bummer. The service is still super-beneficial IMO though.
Earth Class Mail (formerly Remote Control Mail) will provide you with a permanent (snail) mail address, gather all of your incoming mail, scan (the outside), notify you of its existence (with the outside scan), scan the inside if you like (for a fee), and then either forward it to you or shred it, on your command.
This service is cheaper than you’d expect and is available in over 130 countries. Joining Earth Class Mail will mean that:
a) You will never need to change your mailing address
b) You’ll never visit the post office ever again.
Instead, every day while you check your email inbox you will also be checking your post office box Cool
Once you set up a permanent mailing address you’ve saved yourself a ton of headaches over the coming years. So now that you are able to communicate effectively, let’s hit the ground running.