A new country and new life
Turkish migrant Ayse Ipek and Ivona Mitev from Macedonia have a few things in common.
They both came to Australia to be with their husbands, they both are studying English at AMES and want to go on to university and they both love their new lives in Australia. The pair are emblematic of the findings of a survey of recently arrived migrants and refugees which discovered that Australia was a welcoming place that is relatively free from racism.
Ayse, 27, met her Australian husband when he was among a group of people who came to her aid after she had a car crash.
“I met my husband after I crashed my car. He happened to be with some friends of mine who came to help me,” she said
“I am enjoying Australia very much,” said Ayse, who studied tourism in Ukraine and worked as a tour guide in Turkey.
“At first I was lonely and the first three months were very hard. But my husband and his family helped me.
“I like Australia very much. The life here is very comfortable and well organised. We have a stable government that is accountable to the people and I have been made to feel very welcome by most people,” she said.
Ayse said her early preconceptions about life in Australia were different from what she found when she arrived here.
“Australia is very different to what I thought it would be. I thought Australia was too far away and just a big island. But the more I read about it the more it seemed that Australia was a good place to live and most people here are happy – and that has been the case for me.
Ayse said the only frustrating part about life in Australia was queuing.
“Here you have to wait for things and book ahead things like doctors’ appointments or getting tradesmen to come and do work,” she said.
“But generally I’m very happy here. I feel like I belong here now,” Ayse said.
Ivona, 20, came from Macedonia six months ago after marrying her husband in February 2013.
“I had known my husband for three years – he’s from a Macedonian family living in Australia,” Ivona said.
“When I first came here I realised I wasn’t quite ready to leave my family and friends behind. But I’ve been made very welcome by everyone,” she said.
“I knew Melbourne was a big beautiful city but I did not realise how big it is. You need a car in Melbourne. Where I live now there is not a lot of social life, you don’t tend to know your neighbours very well or talk to people on the street.
“Where I come from in Macedonia it is a small town where you meet people on the street and talk.
“The most difficult thing has been has been not being close to my family. I miss them but with technology today I can talk to them on skype so I’m much closer to them than people who came to Australia say 30 years ago.”
Ivona said her ultimate goal was to go to university and find a job she enjoys.
“I can see a bright future here for myself and my family and everyone is helpful and encouraging,” she said.
“All is all I think Australia is a great place to live and bring up a family,” Ivona said.