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.
If you are of legal age, get a driver’s license before immigrating over. I have been on Australian roads for more than 3 years now and am still yet to get my full license. The barriers to getting a license and the investments- of time and money necessary- are much higher than in a lot of countries (at the very least Kenya).
While you are an international student in Australia, you can use your country’s driver’s license for as long as you want. However, should you become a permanent resident or a citizen, then you must get an Australian license within 3 months of doing so.
I will elaborate on this later on: As soon as you arrive, if you intend to drive, go for a short driving course to learn the rules of the road and how to maneuver Australian roads because I can assure you they are quite different from African roads in design, in rules and in consequences – I remember I read an article that declared that within the state of Victoria, the local authorities make one million dollars A DAY from speeding fines and road infringement payments every year.
To learn more about Skype please click on the banner above
If Skype had a fan club, I would be the official president. Nothing gives you the clarity of sound, the cost-saving and overall convenience of Skype. Skype have been in the communication business a long time and over that time have added many cool features such as:
a) The ability to record your calls and save them as mp3 files
b) Conference calls
c) Instant messaging
d) Video cam chats amongst other things.
Before you leave the motherland, I strongly recommend that you download Skype and figure out how Skype works. I doubly recommend this if the people that you will need to keep in contact with have regular access to the Internet. If people you know have regular access to the Internet then this means that you can call them from a mobile phone for free (more on this later).
As of now, I would recommend that you download Skype and go through their free tutorials and figure out how to make phone calls using Skype and learn how you will be using it to get in contact with your people back home once you are in Australia.
Some free Skype Tutorials
Skype Official Tutorial: Simple step by step text tutorial (with images) from Skype.com
Instant Messaging Services:
In the absence of Skype, another great way to communicate is using Instant Messaging Services such as Google Talk and MSN messenger. These services not only allow you to speak via Instant Message but also allow video and audio chatting 100% free. These services are all you need if the people you communicate with are regularly online.
Skype, is my solution of choice,when Internet communication needs to be mixed up with phone communication. However, definitely begin to play around with instant messengers and especially Google talk.
NB:If you don’t have Google mail, Gmail as it’s called, get it! Best email service ever!
To make international money transfers between another country and Australia, on the Australian side you need to know:
1) BSB number: The six digit bank branch number
2) Account number: Your unique account number
3) Swift Code: I have no idea what this is, but it’s important for international transfers.
4) Internet banking number and password: To make instant transfers over the Internet (highly recommended, more on this later on!)
5) Telephone banking password: To make transfers from any telephone (also highly recommended and elaborated on later)
Go to your local bank and discuss with them the quickest ways to transfer money between home and Australia. I understand that most African banks don’t have Internet banking, if yours does, FIGURE OUT HOW IT WORKS!Over the years, Internet banking has saved me countless hours and if you have access to this facility, I recommend you understand it fully. If phone banking is enabled, also understand how that works.
If you have access to neither of these facilities then simply understand how bank transfers work and how long they take (typically between instantly and a week).
NB: One of those things that might be important to know: Time is measured in terms of a working days. Therefore if they say five working days, they typically mean five weekdays and exclude weekends in their calculation. If you transfer money on Friday that’s meant to take five working days, that means it will take 7 actual days because no work will be done on Saturday and Sunday.
These are services that assist you in sending money and resources back to Africa from the diaspora. The White African wrote a great article that outlines some of these services.
For Kenyans: Mama Mikes
If you are a Kenyan and you are one of those people who will be sending resources back home to your friends and family then something to begin to become aware of is online voucher services such as Mama Mikes. Come to think of it, Mama Mikes is probably the only one you need to understand though if anyone knows any voucher services worth recommending then please lemme know.
NB: I have no idea what services such as Mama Mike’s are officially called. Are they remittance services companies? Resource transfer firms? I use the de facto term “voucher service” in lieu of an official term.
These services allow you to purchase credit, supermarket vouchers, pay electricity bills and buy your friends and families other products and services (including birthdays and Valentines day) online using the website. To optimize on this, I STRONGLY recommend that you set up and understand how Paypal works (if you do any form of Internet transactions, Paypal will save you more time and effort than you can imagine). So for the time being, check out Mama Mikes and the other online voucher services and I will talk more about them once you are in Australia.
Have fun experimenting and exploring,