For the very first time in my then 22 year life, I had to step out into the world and become truly independent.
After completing my Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and an Advanced Diploma in Marketing, I was one of many graduates trying to get my “foot in the door” and begin my professional career.
Now 23 years-old, I find myself living and working in Naracoorte – a small town in South Australia located south-east of Adelaide.
After six months of adapting to my new surroundings, I have compiled a small list of positives and negatives of my experience so far.
The local community
A new city, town or state always requires time to settle in and learn how things work. This was no different.
Being only one of a few Africans in Naracoorte, it took a while for me to open up and get to know the locals.
Because it is a town that has just less than 5,000 people it’s not hard to remember a face after meeting them for the first time.
Everyone I’ve come across have been friendly in my encounters with them and are glad to hear I’m enjoying life in Naracoorte.
Despite everything being at a convenient distance in Naracoorte, there is not much to offer in terms of shopping and social spots.
Living in a city, shopping complexes are usually a hub of activity where you can spend hours shopping and enjoying your leisure time.
The restricted options however mean that I am not always splurging on clothes or other items and has given me a chance to save.
I have learnt to live a sustainable and efficient lifestyle which I see as a key when you’re supporting yourself.
There’s no doubt that your responsibilities increase when you move away from home, and your support systems.
Paying bills and house keeping isn’t such a new concept but making sure you are eating a healthy and balanced diet also becomes a huge priority.
Lucky enough, I was able to still remember some of the recipes my mum taught me and merge them with my skills as a kitchen hand back in my high school days.
Having to minimise social outings can be challenging at times. Many of them are based in Adelaide. Not being able to catch up with them as much due to working commitments is also tough.
My weekend trips to the city once a month are the only chances I get to see friends.
Given that Naracoorte is a sport loving town, it wasn’t hard finding other young people that I could relate to.
The biggest challenge I’ve faced overall has had to be being away from my family. Not having an immediate support structure 24/7 has its own pressures.
Despite that, I can honestly say it has helped me build a stronger character and has made me more independent.
I’m also blessed to live in the era of technology and social media meaning making phone calls, sending messages and video chatting is not impossible.
No matter what the next chapter of my journey holds, I know I can rely on my new skills to guide me along the way.
Andrew what page number was this article on?
I get inspired by those like you starting a new life in a new place where culture may be (completely) different. I get worried about many things such as loneliness, people’s attitude, choices of shopping, etc. I’m glad you are sharing briefly about how this experience goes for you with lots of positivities. It would be great if one day you are feeling like sharing something about how you see culture differences and how you overcome some of the challenges in reality. I’m sure me and many migrants are facing up these challenges perhaps on daily basis. Cheers.