Ariella and her family – Melbourne

Under the guidance and with the assistance of Advocate Lisa Segelov, our business visa to Melbourne, Australia was authorized, and since August 2007 we live in Melbourne.

We received recommendations from Adv. Lisa Segelov for contact people that could assist or provide us with information in Melbourne and also assist in the dispatch of our household goods from Israel to Australia – all of which greatly helped us.

The entire relocation process to date has been extremely successful. We chose to live in Sandringham ( a beautiful suburb of Melbourne next to the beach ), taking into consideration the neighbourhood high school, that excels in the field_s of art and music. We also found a fabulous primary school for our young ones in the Black Rock area- everything is located within reasonable walking distance from our home. The children walk or ride on their bikes to school.

We are welcomed in every place we go with friendly faces.

The children have integrated with surprising ease to school, both academically and socially. The classes are very small ( less than 20 students in a class ), the school grounds are enormous and green and are adapted for games, activities and recreation( also the high school- not just the primary school ). The behaviour of the adults transmits calm, respect for others and space, and all this amid constant smiles, and willingness to assist.

Sports, music and art activities are highly considered and appreciated in Australia and there is significant encouragement given to a child to broaden his/her expression.

The children’s social group is open and welcoming and our children have made new friends with relative ease. We were surprised to discover that in the primary school there is no attention paid to “grades”, even on the final report cards. Yearly report cards contain a lot of narrative and very few grade scales. The “report card” in fact looks like a detailed workbook in which each teacher that taught the child writes his/her precise verbal assessment of the child. There is a lot of reinforcement and attention paid to a broad range of subjects: the attitude to study, social and communication skills, consistency and effort, punctuality for handing in of assignments, precision and personal achievement in various fields. Detailed recommendations as to how to improve and get ahead are an integral part of the report card. The grade scales by which students are measured are very basic- to be expected, expected and above expectation. We find this system very satisfactory and so do our children.

If we are to summarise the initial integration process of our children to life in Melbourne, one could say that it is above and beyond all our expectations.

As a family, it is very important for us to maintain contact with our loved ones who live in Israel, and we write emails, speak on Skype and Messenger and also on the telephone and continue to be “in the loop” about on-going family matters.

We- the adults- have met a group of fabulous Israelis who live in Melbourne and these people are our new friends. The kindness and openness of people in Melbourne is beyond description and this includes both the Israelis that we have met here and also the locals that are not specifically Jews.

For us as adults, the contact beyond the community of Israelis is established at a much slower pace.

We have not yet managed to see much of Melbourne and its surroundings, yet we are of the impression that the city has much to offer. The city centre reminds us very much of the large cities of Europe. The suburbs themselves are quiet and not much happens. The shops close at 17.00, the streets empty and people are in their homes or in their various recreational frameworks. For those who love peace and quiet- this is paradise! For those who like round-the-clock activities – it may be too quiet.

These days we are working on establishing our own business n Melbourne. We have started slowly and there are many things we still have to learn.

I am now adding to the things I wrote 1½ years ago before moving to Melbourne -in tribute to Adv. Lisa Segelov, and to all the good people who assisted us with information and kindness during the immigration process to date. I know that the decision to immigrate is not an easy decision to make and I don’t propose to diminish it, although anyone reading this will know that is not simple departing from Israel.

For someone commencing the immigration process, it is important to prepare ready support networks to assist with the anticipated challenges. We immigrated in mid-life – acouple with three adolescent children, and after one year in Australia, it seems to be the right decision for us, and a fascinating time in our lives. The support we received en-route was important. Adv. Lisa Segelov greatly assisted us in the complex and lengthy process of getting a visa from Israel to Melbourne. We came to see Lisa as a special person -warm and direct, to the point and very human. She possesses all the relevant information one needs in the relevant subjects that are needed in the immigration process as individuals and as a family unit and was ready to advise us and provide us with various referrals ( even referring us to a wonderful English teacher ).

The process of getting a visa ( as Israelis) took a little less than one year, and was based n my partner’s business visa. Our visa was in no way connected to my professional, in spite of this. Lisa invested a lot of time and work in assisting me in gaining professional recognition n Australia. Today after I year in Melbourne, I have commenced working in my profession, and I am beginning to earn a living. My husband’s self-employed business is beginning “to get going” and to “take off” in stages-in the interim the office is at home, and everything is going at a slow pace. Anyone who immigrates as a family such as ours on a business visa must prepare in advance a financial reserve. You need perseverance connected with to get through the first year.

During our first few months in Melbourne, we thought we would want to do new things and we explored additional commercial opportunities. When speaking to other Israeli immigrants, it is clearly characteristic for new immigrants to explore the ground for new opportunities. After a year, we find ourselves beginning to deal with our traditional field_s of expertise, that characterized our past occupations in Israel.

I want to thank all of the good people that we have met in Melbourne, that assisted with information and guided us during our initial integration. The atmosphere that we encountered here was overwhelmingly supportive. Support networks emerged from around us due to the nature of the people that we met here (originally Israelis) who know what immigration is all about and who are willing to connect and assist. Also our neighbours and even strangers were patient.

The teachers and educators at school absorbed our children with open and welcoming arms. Our children go to a government school in our neighbourhood and their opinion of school in Australia is definitely is definitely positive. After one year, one can sat that they are integrated and happy with friends at school and in the local community.

We have found the past year interesting and a positive experience, although you need to remember that this is our personal experience for which there are no “rules”. We have met Israeli that miss Israel very much and who live with a feeling that they are constantly on the verge of returning to Israel and on the other hand, we have met Israelis who have very defined plans to return and are in various stages of doing so. For a family who has been here for one year, we are still building ourselves and experiencing the new and the different.

Ariella and family