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Multicultural Activities in Australia

Connecting with Sub-Communities is Easy and Rewarding

Whether immigrating permanently or just moving temporarily abroad you may find yourself in need of a multicultural comfort zone. Connecting with sub-communities is rewarding and can be easier than first imagined.

For a migrating couple or family the initial concern is finding a job and income. Once established in a home and having organized all the administrative details, the next challenge is to find a cultural activity for yourself or second job for your trailing spouse or partner.

An alternative to heading straight to your local expatriate organization is to seek out cultural opportunities, find volunteer work, or set up your own interest group or cultural service.

Volunteering with a local Red Cross chapter, for example, enables you to meet and assist the members of your community. Many such organizations need translators, language teachers, or newsletter editors. Using your existing professional or language skills enables you to stay in your field of expertise. As well as providing a good service, volunteering is a way to gain insights into the country and culture, while continuing to learn and perform a stimulating activity that can ease the strain of moving.

Feeling that you are part of a new community can also speed up the integration process. Working a few hours a week or month still leaves time for travel and leisure, job hunting, and family time. The other obvious benefit is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.

An alternative to volunteering with larger aid organizations is to start an organization or association of your own. This can be a voluntary or paid service, interest group, or series of seminars. For example you might set up a local culture society. Invite individuals to present on their home country or expertise, host international cuisine picnics, teach cultural awareness classes, or hold a “meeting new people” night.

For a cultural group, a seminar, or short course, the local college or library can provide a seminar room and assist with free advertising. If your passion is international art, ask a local gallery to host events and informational evenings.

An idea can come from an experience you’ve had overseas or a life-changing event, such as witnessing the plight of orphans in other countries. If you found your passion and want to promote awareness on an issue, you’ll be surprised how many others would be keen to link up and share your concern. Joining with others who have similar interests means you can build a community of shared concern, develop contacts, and create a large network.

To take the next step and turn your idea into a service contact existing international associations or organizations. These will give you a broader view of what is already available in your region and how you can link up with national and international groups. It may also be necessary to gain certification.

It is important to research, have a clear idea of what you want to facilitate, and write a plan. Assess what skills you have: Do you have the background experience or education and expertise for this? How can you set up your interest group, operate your services, and advertise? Having a business plan, location (art gallery, library seminar room, outdoor meeting point, or home-based office), clients, and an ability to market what you do can turn it into a profitable venture.

Australia, like many countries worldwide, attracts and welcomes start-up entrepreneurs. Working as a freelance language translator, tutoring, copy writing, editing, etc. is a viable way to combine several jobs, interests, or activities.

Many people in Australia operate as small businesses, meaning that from a tax and finance point of view they subcontract their services and expertise to one or several organizations. What you will need to do this is an ABN number (Australian Business Number), an accountant, and the ability to keep track of accounts payable and receivable.

For More Info

Refugees: www.refugeecouncil.org.au

Red Cross: www.redcross.org.au

ABN Numbers: www.ato.gov.au

Visas: www.immi.gov.au

Small Business and Home-based Income Ezine: www.flyingsolo.com.au