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The Value of Mateship

by Suzer

After I got all of my spousal visa paperwork submitted for my move to Australia, a slim envelope turned up in my mailbox with another form to fill out. It was called an Australian Values Statement, and required my signature as acknowledgement that I would accept certain Australian values as a newcomer to Oz, one of which was the value of mateship. At the time, I thought it was somewhat amusing, and wondered how it came to rank up there with equality, democracy, and respect for the law. Looking back, I should have seen how it struck a certain resonance with my biggest worry about my move to Australia, which was leaving friends behind. Wondering how long it would take to meet and get to know new people, I was concerned about being lonely, and wondering how I would fit in to this new place.Hoping to do something ahead of time that might alleviate my fears, I started up an online social group for expats in Adelaide. Within no time the numbers of the group soared, and just over a year later, there are over 250 members. Some members have been in Adelaide only a few days, others for many years, and we even have some local Aussies who’ve been here a lifetime but are keen to meet new people. We have a monthly pub meet, and help each other out with information on adjusting to life in a new country. The best outcome of starting up this group, however, has been the new friends I have made. Some are acquaintances that I only see once a month, some are friends that live nearby, and some are mates that I have even had the luck to work with. We meet up for coffee, go on hikes, and often explore new places in Adelaide together for the first time.

Once a month, we have a ladies lunch with members of the group. It’s an informal, relaxed way to meet or catch up with new friends, have a glass of wine and a meal, and share stories about our new lives down under. We talk about what it’s like to be a woman in Australia, how we relate to our Aussie husband’s family and friends, the challenges with meeting new people and settling in. I had a very emotional response to the first ladies lunch, which included a group of women who came from places as far as the US, Canada, China, Colombia and Singapore. One of our main topics of conversation was that of friendship and the feeling of belonging and identity. Three are married to Aussie blokes, and for us, this poses a particular challenge. Not that Aussie lads are flawed in any way, but more so that fitting into their already existing circle of friends can take time. This could be said for anyone moving to their partner’s country and trying to find their way into a life already begun. Being a long way from your own friends and family, you are in a position where you not only have to try and fit in, but also find a new identity for yourself, while at the same time maintain who you are. It’s no easy task, but it’s a rewarding one. Hearing these women sitting around me talk about going through the same things was a very validating experience.

I still keep in touch with my friends back home, but I sometimes think my ‘new Australian’ mates understand me better, in some respects. It’s still hard at times to be so far from my best friends who I’ve known the longest, but I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to have new people in my life. I can still vividly remember how lonely I was when I first arrived in Australia, but so much has changed since day one, much of it due to meeting my fellow expat ladies. I’ve been really lucky that in the short space of time I’ve been here in Australia I’ve met some great quality people, and while I miss catching up with my friends back home, I’m not lonely here. I tell newcomers these days that Australia is a place where the earth is red, you can see the stars, and there’s always a mate around to brighten your day.


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In this short video, we dive into the significant health care updates and changes happening globally in 2024. From Germany's insurance cost adjustments to Cyprus's renewed COVID-19 precautions, we cover the essential news you need to know.

Germany's Health Insurance Update:

Starting in 2024, residents in Germany will see a slight increase in their health insurance costs, with a 0.1% rise to a maximum of 1.7%. This adjustment aims to expand coverage for medical care not currently included in statutory health insurance, such as select dental treatments, IVF, and early cancer screenings.

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With over 3000 new COVID-19 cases, Cyprus is stepping up its game by reintroducing health measures. Requirements now include proof of a negative COVID-19 test for entry into various facilities, emphasizing the importance of vaccination, especially for the elderly, to combat the evolving virus strains.

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Trieste launches an initiative for free health screenings, including echocardiograms and blood tests, focusing on preventive care against non-communicable diseases. This move underscores the city's commitment to improving public health through early detection and prevention.

Spain's New Health Advice App:

Madrid introduces a groundbreaking app offering reliable health advice to counteract the widespread misinformation online. This app, part of the 'Madrid Te Cuida' initiative, will guide users to accurate information, from diet tips to medical queries, ensuring the advice is vetted by health professionals.

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Stay tuned as we unpack these updates, providing you with the insights and implications of these healthcare changes. Whether it's the impact on your wallet or the quality of care you can expect, we've got you covered in this comprehensive overview of health care in 2024. Don't forget to like, share, and subscribe for more health news around the globe!

YouTube Video UCB21b-C4O2aXm7H18_GsXMQ_nC_Fs6gU22U

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Expat Focus 31 January 2024 10:36 am

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