Living in Australia: The First Few Months

Hello again,

I hope you are having a good weekend

I have talked about exams, finding a job and a short introduction of working as a doctor in Australia

This time around I would like to write about the first few months living in Australia

When I first came to Australia, I spent most of my money on the exams and flights

I got a job in regional Queensland

I saved up as much as I could.

My credit card was almost maxed out paying for the expenses mentioned above

I was travelling with my wife who also had some savings aside

We pooled our resources together

Accommodation

My employers offered us lodging for a month until we found a new place

We took full advantage of it

We stayed there shorter than we anticipated because we found a good deal on a semi-furnished house. By then we were already earning salaries so we could afford to move out.

In the first few years in Australia, you will be moving around a lot. So, it does not make sense for you to buy a house unless you are 100% sure you want to commit to the place.

Rent is paid weekly

The cost of rent depends on where you are. In ulu places, its cheaper compared to the city.

One good site I would recommend is this

https://www.realestate.com.au/rent/

Working in regional or rural areas can save you a few thousand dollars a year in rent money

The real estate agency would want a few details. Mainly ID documents like passport, work offer letter and a recommendation*

* this is basically a letter written by your previous tenants. If you’ve been staying with your parents all this while, don’t la ask your parents to write this letter. One way is to ask your hospital admin in Australia to vouch for you by saying you’re responsible in answering your emails, providing documents bla, bla, bla.

Transportation

The first thing I realised in Australia is how big it is. In Kuching, everything is so close to each other.

The first thing that we got was a used car.

Why a car? Well we needed to move luggage around and buy more stuff.

We didn’t know anyone in the place we were posted at.

Carrying all these around by hand and walking several kilometres was not feasible.

Hiring cars would cost even more money.

So, we decided to buy a used car.

We went to this website https://www.gumtree.com.au/cars

  • One piece of advice I will give you: Do not buy cars from personal owners. Always buy cars from a dealership. They will make sure your care is road worthy (need certificate one), not stolen, serviced, road tax (here they call it rego)

Buying cars in Australia is not as expensive as buying a car in Malaysia.

There is a running joke in Malaysia that goes like this “When you buy a car in Malaysia you buy two for the government.” Its most likely to support Proton. Anyway, I’m not going to talk about Malaysia’s cars here

A decent used car can cost between AUD 3500 to AUD 6000

I bought a used Nissan Tiida 2009 model costing less than AUD 5000. It was under the ownership of an old couple who really jaga it nicely.

Image result for nissan tiida

They just need your passport to confirm your identity. I also brought along my international driving license too

If you want to change your car later by all means do so. Once you have a pay check, you can apply for a loan to get a newer car if that’s your thing.

Food

How is food in Australia?

In urban areas where there is more cultural diversity, the food can be delicious (no where near our Malaysian food la but still not too bad). Finding work in urban areas though, not so easy.

In regional or rural areas, not so much in terms of food

You might get a few Korean, Chinese or Indian restaurants around, but they really toned down the spiciness to fit into the local palate.

Oh, by the way, no 24 hour mamak also.

This was a big culture shock for me as a Malaysian. For us, food is everywhere 24/7, 365 days a year. To come to a place where the 24 hour food joints are McD’s (Macca here in Aussie) and Hungry Jacks (Burger King) is depressing.

Eating out is also expensive and lacking variety. There is only so much eggs, bacon and avocado I can take.

The coffee on the other hand is amazing due to the Greek and Italian influence. If you are a coffee aficionado (atas coffee drinker) you will like it here.

The only other option is to masak sendiri which brings us to

Groceries

Raw products in Australia is cheap compared to Malaysia. Don’t take in the conversion factor, you can afford to eat healthy here without blowing a big hole in your wallet.

Almond milk here is AUD 3 (can reach AUD 1 if on discount) compared to home RM 12-15

Even if you’re not into these sorts of food, the other products here are affordable

I moved here with my wife. We don’t have kids yet.

We spend roughly AUD 90 a week for the both of us. This includes food and other stuff i.e. washing detergents, toiletries etc

Most areas have Aldi, Coles and Woolworth.

If you really want to get a good bargain on raw products, you can go to the farmers market.

Cooking at Home

Something I would recommend you doing.

Buying a slow cooker is the best investment you can do.

Sunbeam SecretChef 5.5L Slow Cooker

The first hardware I bought in Australia. A 3.5L slow cooker costing AUD 32.

There is so much you can do with this with so little effort.

So many recipes are available. I got mine from:

https://www.countryliving.com/food-drinks/g1903/slow-cooker-recipes/

We cook a few days’ worth, keep it in the fridge and reheat it when we want to makan.

We cooked different dishes, so we won’t get too bored of what we are eating.

Don’t worry, this slow cooker won’t burn your house down. It cooks the food slowly over 6-8 hours time.

Just pre-cut your ingredients the night before, chuck it into your cooker before going to work. By the time you come home, got food liao.

Internet

I will state this here.

Internet in this country isn’t as good as Malaysia.

Maybe the country is big, but I don’t know the exact reason.

Compare internet plans before getting one.

And when you’re renting, make sure your house can support NBN (fast internet connection sort of thing)

Entertainment

Put aside some money to enjoy yourself.

Yes, you need to save money.

But you came here wanting a better life for yourself. No point saving all the money you can and end up miserable.

Its ok to spend a bit of money to relax and have fun.

Don’t la sampai make it rain ok.

I personally like to drive down to the nearest big city and spend the weekend there makan and jalan jalan. My wife likes to watch the orchestra live. A change in scenery occasionally will recharge you, but to each their own.

Exercise

You have time to exercise.

Australians pride themselves on being active.

There are tonnes of gyms out there.

I chose Jetts Gym that offers 24 hour services

https://www.jetts.com.au/

Working out is one of the subjects I can spend the whole day on.

I may write an entry dedicated to weightlifting another time.

Ok I hope this gives you a short glimpse of how its like here in Australia in the first few months.

Till next time!

Enjoy your weekend!

Published by seblingcs

A Malaysian's journey Down Under

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