The Advice I Never Asked For – Part 1
I’ve lived and spent considerable time in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UK, and now Australia. Doesn’t matter where you’re going, or under what conditions, every person has some advice based on what they have heard from their relatives or friends (most of the time non-factual).
This probably applies to people from other countries as well, but I’ll discuss my references from Pakistan. I don’t know why people do it, but the Pakistani majority abroad tends to boast about how magical life is outside Pakistan, how it’s all rainbows and butterflies and life is very easy. Now combine that with people who love giving unsolicited advice, and it becomes something very unrealistic. I’m going to do a comparison of the advice/suggestions people gave me before migrating to Australia in July 2017 and what it’s actually like.
What’s the harm in it?
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my family life here in Australia, but since I have moved around quite a few countries, I knew what to expect. However, I have met countless good Pakistanis here who are depressed because they had very different expectations before coming, but after witnessing the hardships and cultural differences they have completely given up. This is a line I have heard too many times “If I would’ve known what it’s actually like here, I might not have come”. I understand that, we come from a VERY different lifestyle which some people have a hard time adjusting to.
This upcoming series of blogs is not to discourage anyone, it is simply to give people a transparent look at the differences so they can make better decisions. People spend a lot of money to go abroad, they get separated from their families, they deserve more clarity.
What comparison am I going to do?
My wife and I migrated while she was 5 months pregnant, We had limited funds, no apartment, no job and no relatives in Sydney, we learned everything the hard way. So I’m going to list down the different things people said/advised based on what they had “heard” from their friends and relatives vs what it was like in reality. I like to keep my blogs short, so I will be making a series of these with more lists in the upcoming ones.
Here are 2 lines I heard quite a lot in different variations:
“Ahh don’t worry about the cost of your visa, you can easily earn that money back in no time.”
Well, dear advisors, first of all, going on a Skilled Migrant Visa (or any other visa) ain’t cheap, THANK GOD my Dad helped me with my finances. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll get a job right away, and even if you’re earning a good amount that sounds a lot when you convert dollars into rupees, you have no idea about the taxes, rents, living expenses, and transportation costs here. I was lucky enough to get a job as a Software Engineer as soon as I came but still haven’t been able to save up much.
You have to set up a house from scratch, furniture, electronics, to every little thing a house needs (even a knife sharpener). You can’t get an apartment here without a credit history, we paid 4 months rent in advance just to rent an apartment for the very first time! That requires a lot of money, and nobody mentioned these crucial and fundamental things so we could properly prepare for them.
“I have a friend/brother/sister/relative/old colleague/school friend over there, take their number, they’ll tell you what to do”
Ok, so I do appreciate everyone giving someone’s contact info to help out someone. But they forget how awkward it is to give out someones number and tell you to call them without informing them that you’re number has been given to some stranger for advice. I probably had 30+ contact numbers from everyone, none of which I ended up calling.
The circumstances under which people migrate are always unique to them, for example, someone who comes on a student visa might not know the laws about people coming on a skilled migrant visa, and vice versa. A lot of people first come here alone, set everything up, and later call their families, they will actually be hesitant to give someone advice who is crazy enough to travel with a pregnant wife without any base set from before. So, please, think before giving out someone’s number, and most importantly, inform them.
The Pointless Points I’ll be covering in my next posts:
- “You will have a lot of freedom there, you’ll enjoy a lot, life is really easy there” (Rightttttt)
- “Go and get an odd-job first, it’s really hard to get a professional job there” and “I heard it’s really easy to get a job there, you’ll be fine” (Yep, both are direct conflicts)
- “You should go alone first and set everything up, then call your family” (Worst…. Advice….. Everrrrrr)
- There’s a lot more where that came from….
Have you heard any of these, or mislead by similar unsolicited advice? Comment below!