Hila and Zvi Sternbaum – Buderim

Everything started with a post army trip 15 years ago and that left a taste for more!…..

All these years we lived with the dream of returning until we decided that the time has come to try and fulfill it. An internet check about the visa application process lead us to “Kangaroo Migration Services” website and after meeting with Advocate Lisa Segelov and receiving all of the details about the process, it was clear that we were going to submit an application for a visa and we had no doubt that we wanted Advocate Lisa Segelov to do so on our behalf.

So in order to cut a long story short, the process of getting the visa took two years ( and how correct we were that we began to do so with Advocate Lisa Segelov! ) and a further three months from the day we received our visa to the time we landed in Australia.

The day in which one receives the good news about the issuing of the visa is a special day- on the one hand great excitement, particularly after a two year wait which is like a roller coaster ride, and on the other hand, fear of the unexpected and a sense of “cold feet” as suddenly the dream becomes real.

Our eldest daughter (13) was a partner in the whole process and there were times when she very much wanted to move and times when that was less so. Our younger daughter (6½) did not know anything about the proceedings as we did not want her to develop any expectations that could not be met, and we only told her after receiving the visa (three months prior to moving).

To provide a little background, we both had excellent jobs with leading companies in Israel, and a very comfortable lifestyle- as such this meant that there was what to lose in case something did not work out. I am of the opinion that one needs to completely think through the process of immigration prior to making the decision to immigrate in order to correctly prepare for the move.

For the duration of the two year wait, we had time to try and decide where in Australia we wanted to live. We have no family or relatives in Australia, just friends we made from our trip 15 years ago and memories from that trip. We could not afford to undertake a preliminary trip for the entire family and we saw no point in one of us traveling alone.

As it happened, the period between receiving the visa until departure was so short, that we simply used the internet. In the end, two factors were decisive in our choice of destination, the first being the weather (we wanted a hot climate yet not tropical) and second were the prices of property. In the end we decided to fly to Brisbane and from there to start looking around. The preparation in Israel was very short- leaving our places of work, informing the schools, packing up the house, sending a container and saying good-bye to people dear to us……

Upon landing in Brisbane, we bought a car and crossed off all of the bureaucratic chores, and I must state that it was unbelievably quick, efficient and simple! Then we started to look for somewhere to live. Quite quickly we understood that Brisbane was not what we came to Australia for (it is difficult to move from country to country but even harder to move from the farm to the city). So we took a two day trip, 100 kms north of Brisbane and arrived at the Sunshine Coast and in a short space of time, it was clear to us that this was to be the place for us to live.

After finding a house, (a distance of 4 minutes from the sea) and schools in the area, we began searching for work. In the beginning Zvika compromised and took a temporary position but one month later he found a position in his field. After a period of being at home, and tending to the girls acclimatisation and all the other associated chores, I decided to change professional direction and I registered to study.

The girl’s acclimatisation was amazing. At school our eldest daughter finished Grade 7 in Israel so we decided to integrate her into the last semester of Grade 7 in Australia ( the correct decision as this gave her the opportunity to improve her English and integrate socially without the need to make an effort with her studies ). Our younger daughter completed the pre-school year and we decided ( in collaboration with the school counselor ) to enroll her in the final semester of the 1st grade so that she would be with children of her own age, in spite of her not knowing a word of English. This also turned out to be the correct decision as she learnt English at such a fast pace that today six months later she is speaking, writing and reading in English!

The school is very supportive of children whose English is not their mother tongue. A teacher was assigned to our younger daughter for 5 days a week for one hour a day and she taught her the basics of English. This help will continue if there is a need all the way through to the 4th grade.

In fact the schools here are amazing, a small number of pupils per class, teachers who love their work and who give everything, the open spaces and lawns, swimming pools and so on. And in addition to this, the study hours that enable one to work or study every day from 08.30 to 14.45 including the option of aftercare at the school from 06.30 until 18.00, if required.

In summary, Australia is amazing, the girls are over the moon, the people we have met and come to know are very friendly and only now we have began to travel on weekends to see amazing places.

And only recently when we sat on the beach eating fish and chips, did we begin to understand the move to Australia……!!!

Hila and Zvika Sternbaum
Please feel free to contact us by email- hila.zvika@gmail.com