Australia is one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world, thanks to successive waves of migration. People from all over the world have chosen Australia as their new home, bringing with them hope, aspirations and dreams of a better life. Over time most migrants learn they can live well in Australia and appreciate the many benefits of doing so. However, migration can also bring many challenges such as starting a new life from scratch, the loss of social connections, language barriers and dealing with different cultures on a regular basis.

Transitioning into a new culture is difficult. Most people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds come from a ‘collective culture’, where the values of family and community relationships are held very strongly, and are quite different to an ‘individualistic culture’ like that of Australia. In order for people to live well, feel connected and have a sense of belonging, they need to develop a new way of living which can support their cultural identity and at the same time learn how the different systems and services work –  including those associated with the law and individual’s rights and responsibilities.

CALD people experiencing gambling harm are more likely to experience multiple negative consequences of gambling, including homelessness, debt and family breakdown due to their fragile support network and unfamiliarity with the idea of seeking help outside the family. They often rely on self-help and the support of members of the family who in most cases do not have the necessary knowledge to support them.

Migrants who have limited English skills often fear going to a service or even to a doctor because they feel embarrassed that they don’t speak English well. They may be unaware that services have an obligation to provide an interpreter. In addition, some migrants worry that a service provider will not understand their specific cultural needs and wont be able to help them.

The following are some useful tips that can help people adjust to life in Australia:

  1. Attend English classes. There are formal and informal English classes that can help people improve their language skills. Learning English can improve your knowledge of Australian culture and help you be more connected.
  2. Find the right help for you. There are so many services that are available to you no matter what problems or challenges you have. Learn about how those services operate and use them to benefit you and better your situation. Relationships Australia SA recognise the difficulties that migrants and refugees experience in Australia, give us a call on (08) 82458100
  3. Create supportive networks – there are many social activities and health-related events that are organised by different organisations and services. At these events, you can learn new things about specific health and welfare issues and about particular services, and at the same time you can extend your circle of friends.
  4. Learn about your rights and responsibilities in Australia. For example, knowing that you have the right to receive a service that is confidential and free of discrimination will improve your confidence to seek help when problems arise.

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