Al's Australia Trip - Adapting to Australia (Part Six)

Al's Australia Trip - Adapting to Australia (Part Six)

We’re coming to the end of Al’s blogs from his trip around Australia. He is back here in the UK now and heading down to London to present at our Making the Move event on Saturday. In this blog he looks at some of the challenges that people may encounter when they relocate to Australia, he also covers the ways in which people can prepare for challenges that could crop up, and approaches for helping you to settle in.

The most obvious difference between the two countries is, of course, the weather. Climate is naturally cited as a key reason to move to Australia. I love the heat, and as a family we found it pretty easy to manage: air conditioning, hats, lots of suncream, working out the best times to head out with the kids, etc. However, it can be a surprising challenge for many new migrants hailing from colder climes. It can take a while to get used to. If you struggle in the UK when the mercury hits 22-30 degrees, then you need to think seriously about the temperatures here which can average 32-35 degrees depending where you live. In some places it can even get up to 40+ degrees in the summer. My wife was relieved that both our boys were born in autumn/winter time in Sydney - Mums in Australia often struggle with breastfeeding in the summer heat.

The climate varies depending on location and offers different challenges. I was in the “Top End” - Darwin - last week. The weather (for autumn) was 34 degrees with high humidity. The high humidity makes it seem hotter. The weather in Darwin is described as the Big Wet and the Big Dry. My taxi driver said it was quite dry during the Big Wet this year. The Big Dry has started but it has been surprisingly wet. Confused? So was I. From Darwin, I flew to Alice Springs - both in the Northern Territory - and shivered as I stepped into a cool 21 degrees.

The physical distance between Australia and your home country can have a subtle impact. The scale, cost and the time to traverse this distance can sometimes create a unique form of homesickness. It’s vital, therefore, to make friends as soon as possible. Be as friendly, open and communicative as you possibly can. The old saying “the more you put in, the more you get out” definitely applies. In my experience partners of Doctors can take more time to settle and find work so this advice is especially pertinent for them.

On a professional level, whilst hospital structures on paper may reflect similar hierarchies in your country of origin, the day to day reality is that hospital departments and staff operate in flatter structures as staff interact. Heads of Services in regional hospitals often cite this as a positive attribute of their departments. People tend to be treated with equal respect regardless of your job title or where you studied - particularly in smaller, regional hospitals. Getting on with things and “having a go” yourself rather than expecting someone else to do it for you is a trait Australians appreciate and it will win you many friends in the workplace. The relative frankness of Australians when they meet new people can be a little disarming to newcomers in both a professional and personal context.

Everybody’s experience of Australia is different. The most successful transitions here tend to be people who can embrace change and are willing to be open to new experiences, meeting new people and highly adaptable in the workplace.

Read Part One - Working in Australia

Read Part Two - The Important Stuff

Read Part Three - A Question of Perspective

Read Part Four - A Town Called Alice

Read Part Five - Glorious Geraldton

If you’re interested in working overseas, why not take a look at our Doctor's Guides. Alternatively, you can search all of our current job opportunities.

For further information on Consultant opportunities in Australia, contact Alasdair Spinner on +44 (0) 131 240 5276 or email

For further information on GP opportunities in Australia, contact Vicki McLaren on +44 (0)131 240 5263 or email

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