AE 501 – Interview: How Artur and Luma Moved to Australia from Brazil
G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of the English today I have a special episode for you with two of my housemates when I was living in Canberra.
So, this is a few months ago. I’ve been saving this one up for a rainy day, and today I get to chat with my housemates, my old housemates, Luma and Artur. So, these guys are from Brazil and I thought it would be a good excuse to sit them down and tell me their story about how they ended up Down Under, right.
So, you’ll get to hear about why and how they move to Australia, the challenges of learning the language, different accents, and obviously, how they got work and what visas they’re on, and all that kind of jazz okay.
Also, I just want to mention that this is going to obviously be Sunday’s episode. So, I have been busting my arse working on episode 500 all week, which came out I think on Thursday, maybe Wednesday, Thursday? And I lost track of time and didn’t have enough time to also make an expression episode, so that is why this one is out today on a Sunday instead of an expression episode, though, I will try to get one out next week, but I’m also tinkering with a few different things to see what I can do on the podcast to really jazz things up to do things differently. So, anyway, thanks for your patience. Thanks for your understanding, guys. I really appreciate it.
Before we get into the episode, guys, this episode is brought to you by the Native English course. So, this course is aimed at intermediate students wanting to get to an advanced and more natural level in their English. You will save 15 percent coupon AUSSIE, that’s A U S S I E. When you go to the website lingova.com, that is L I N G O V A. So, all the links will be in the transcript, guys.
It’s a really good course. There’s a lot of really good material in there from my friend Justin who is really passionate about helping intermediate to advanced learners of English.
So, if you’re having trouble at the moment with sounding more natural, using spoken contractions, using culturally appropriate English, I really recommend going to Lingova.com, signing up for this course, giving it a go, the videos are wonderful, and I think there’s also a free section that you can check out before you sign up so that you can see what the course is all about. So, go give that a look.
And now let’s get into the episode.
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Hey, guys! Welcome to this episode of Aussie English! Today I have a special interview with my housemates: Luma and Artur or Artur.
There you go, that’s alright, Artur.
So, you guys are Brazilians and I want to get you on because you’re a couple and you’ve gone through the whole process of moving from Brazil, learning Australian English, getting settled in Australia in multiple locations. And so I thought it’d be good to have you on the podcast. For anyone who’s going to be going through the same kind of situations, I guess, so let’s just start at the start. Why Australia? What made you guys decide like we want to move to this place with kangaroos and people with difficult accents?
Yeah. So, hi Pete! We both came to Australia we didn’t know each other but we came to Australia maybe almost 10 years ago. First time, just travelling or spending like… he came to spend, I don’t know, six months here?
So yeah this was before you guys had met.
Independently, you both came here.
Yeah, we came here by ourselves. I came in 2006, my brother used to live in Sydney with my… my brother and my sister in law, that’s right. They used to live in Sydney and I came over just to spend three months as holidays and then I fell in love with Australia straight away.
What was it about Australia though?
I was about the lifestyle, the warm weather, the people, the surf, the lifestyle very much and then I had to go back to Brazil, I was still int the college and then…
So, was that six months to study English?
Three months, just for a holiday, actually, but I had I had to learn English somehow because I was working as a labourer, even though I was 16.
And then I had to go back home and then went through the whole uni process. But ever since then I’ve always had it on the back of my mind that I would like to come back to Australia once and then five years, six years later I decided to come abroad once again and here I am.
What about you, Luma?
I came, I don’t remember exactly the year but I was 18 and it was in the middle of my university. I went to an exchange in New Zealand so, I was there for eight months.
So, it’s like 90 percent Australia, almost there, but not quite.
Yeah, exactly! And then I decide to go travelling because I was supposed to be in Australia for only a month and end up staying six months.
So, how did you do that? Did you have a certain visa…?
Actually, I was with a tourist visa, but that time was easier to get the tourist visas so I got three months visa that I applied straight from New Zealand. And then once this one was finished and applied from Australia to another three months visa. But I believe that nowadays is much harder to do it.
And so, what happened after that, you went home to Brazil?
Then I went home. Finish my university was building my career back in Brazil and then I was like no I want to go back to Australia. I always felt… I love Brazil it’s my country, but I felt that the problems that we have in Brazil is what we have here and what makes life so much easier our life quality that you have here in Australia it’s… you can’t compare.
So, what are the biggest differences with regards to quality of life? And I guess too, aside from that, what makes you come straight after university? Because that seems like it’s probably the hardest time to move because you’ve just, you know, graduated you have your career going, because Kell did exactly the same thing. She was a journalist, worked for a few years after her degree and then left it all to come to Australia effectively start from scratch, it seems like a lot of Brazilians are doing that. So, what are the biggest differences between Brazil and Australia?
I feel that in Brazil we kind of okay, you finish your high school, you need to go straightaway to university. Is more cultural than here in Australia where a lot of people once they finish their high school they can’t have their own time to decide what they want to do with their lives.
And they tend to go overseas.
Then they go overseas and then once they are back in they know exactly what they want to do then they start doing uni or they can even do some technical course but in Brazil is really rare. You have like really few options to do it. So, normally people finish university, finish high school, go to university find a job and then decide building their life.
I heard that it’s hard, like Kel was saying she was working 12 hours a day, six, seven days a week and getting paid nothing.
That was the main reason, actually, the salary is really bad back home.
Because that blows my mind too. You were saying Arthur, you are a lawyer and their salary is bad, whereas for me in Australia that’s like…
You can’t even compare, actually. The salary was… was really bad and I was working like 12 hours a day, without seeing the sunlight and I thought, alright, I’m 23… More time I spend back home, more roots you create and it’ll make it harder to travel abroad once again. So, I thought alright that’s the right time to do it otherwise it’s going to get harder.
It’s never going to happen.
Eventually, I’ll get married or… that’s pretty much the process that you’ll plan now.
That’s funny because most Brazilians you meet here probably are at that stage in life, right? They’ll finish university or… in fact, yeah, they tend to finish university and be at that stage where you would otherwise be organising your career, but then they come to Australia and just say no, screw that, I’m starting again.
That’s right. And here, for example, back home to eventually just to buy a car, as simple as that, you have to work for at least one year, saving up as much as you can to buy this simple car you can find.
That blew my mind as well. Kel was telling me about that and that some people you pretty much can’t get on without a loan from the bank. That it might be 10 years’ worth of repayments.
So, expensive to have a car there.
Unless you are in a high position…
Petrol can be like 2 dollars, 3 dollars a litre?
Even more, even more nowadays.
Because that’s something we take for granted. But so did that blow your mind when you guys both came to Australia and you saw that things were completely differently here at least with regards to all these things that previously you would have thought we’re out of your reach or at least very difficult to get? Did that shock you?
I need to say my experience back in Brazil, I was building my career and I was actually getting paid well. So, I couldn’t really complain like just finishing graduation and be able to work in a big company and getting paid good money. But then you feel that… I was really young, I was 23 and started like okay… I still have so many years to do exactly what I am doing now and what I feel here in Australia it’s much easier for you to get all these things, but you need to work hard. Is not like everyone thinks like you arrive in Australia and you’re going to have the dream life. It’s not like that. The life… at the same time you get paid really well, your life cost is high as well, but in the same time if that’s fair.
It pays off.
Yeah exactly, you get everything, basically, from the government even if you’re still not Australia you feel safe in the country, you know that with the money they would get even working as a waitress or a cleaner or whatever you do, you’re able to survive.
And then start saving money and doing your things, when in Brazil if you don’t have university or anything is just like… if you don’t have your family here… it’s almost impossible.
That’s one of those things, I was chatting to Kell about it recently, I kept mentioning her because this is our connection with Brazil, but I feel like it’s sort of a double-edged blade where in Australia you can rely on the government for a lot more so you don’t have to rely on your family for much and so that those connections aren’t very strong. Like, if you don’t just decide to live in the same place as your family, you might, you know, not really see them very often or you don’t need to rely on them for anything. It’s kind of like we live in a society that’s so good today that our familial and social connections aren’t as strong because we don’t need them.
So, it’s a double-edged blade, but what surprised you about cost of living here in Australia too? Are that things that were more expensive, things that were less expensive, things that shocked you or was it just like you sort of got what you expected when you came?
I think the main point will be the rent, the rent in Sydney is quite expensive.
But as soon as you start working you realise that you have enough money to organise yourself, but if you compare the rent, in Sydney let’s say, where we came from and compared back home it’s extremely high. You wouldn’t think that it’s affordable, but once you start working and then building up your own budget you can easily deal with that.
What did you think of certain jobs too, like being a waiter or even being a tradie, being jobs where you can actually make quite a bit of money?
That’s right. It depends how keen you want to learn something new.
And I think it’s amazing as well like. It’s fair to everyone. I don’t believe that you need to have a degree to be someone and get paid well, you’re all doing a job and you should be that need to be valuable like it is still a hard work. You need to have your knowledge so…
That’s what was crazy, I feel like tradies here in Australia and I’m so used to people who build walls, build houses, do the electrics, do the plumbing everything like that, at least for me, those people make a lot of money. They have to work in their arses off, but they make a lot of money and that would be… I remember going to school and having a guy who was in primary school with me. I remember when we were in high school he dropped out of high school at year 10 so, he was 16 and became an electrician or something and the next year he had a new car, a few years after that he bought a house and we were all just like, you know, barely at university and just like what the hell that we decided?
That blew my mind that that was not the case in other countries. When I heard about Brazil and if you’re a bricklayer or builder or something you just do not make much money at all.
And one of the good points about that it’s even if you’re getting paid really well here in Australia you hang out with the same guys that are getting pay way lower than you do.
Yeah, there’s not the separation, classes or anything.
And back home if you are getting paid really well usually you won’t have to deal that much with whoever is getting paid your way lower than you do.
There’s a big separation there.
That’s right. So here in Australia it’s…you can easily get motivated with that because you see the guy just beside you, doing eventually the same work as you do or slightly different, getting paid really well…
So, the motivation is there and you know you can get there because 10 years ago he was in your position.
But you need to consider the population, like the population of Australia compared to the Brazilian population. Here they need people to everything basically so, the service need to be charged more.
And I think we have really high standards. You’ve got everything has to be perfect, everything has to be safe, and so, as a result of that you can charge through the nose because you got no option.
Because you really know what you’re doing.
Well, you can’t build a house without it complying to all those safety regulations and everything or else that will be torn down because it’s illegal. And so the builders could be like well, if you want it, it’s much.
That’s the price.
And there’s a lot of houses being built, right?
So, what were your first jobs when you went to Australia and how easy were they to find and what were your experiences getting work here?
My first job was as a kitchen assistant, actually…in the city.
I didn’t know what to do and I used to walk around the whole city just handing resumes all over. I was struggling to find a job actually because you don’t know how to deal with your employees, it’s your first time trying to find a job.
And how was your English at this time as well?
It was quite bad. I was able to understand, but I was quite shy to speak, I couldn’t interreact that much, if you know what I mean? It took me a month to get a first callback and he said alright, come over and let’s do a trial. It was a disaster, actually.
It was a disaster?
It was a disaster, the trial was a disaster. Because I didn’t know what to wear. They asked me to wear boots, I said what sort of boots? I went with shoes and jeans and everything and he said man, you are completely wrong! And I said alright let’s give it a go.
It’s my first day, give me a break.
It’s my first day, take it easy! It flows, as soon as you start walking by yourself. It gets easier.
So, was that what you expected to be able to get a job that soon or that slowly?
I just hope I was hoping for it, actually. I thought I would be able to find a job way earlier that I did. Because I was eventually overconfident on my skills, but as soon as you step here and you hear different accents and you try to understand everything, the reality is way different then you think. But it’s challenging at the same time, it’s rewarding when you find a job and say alright, I did it by myself, I’m proud. So, that’s there was a first major step as a kitchen assistant in the city.
What about you, Luma, what did you get?
The first time that I came to Australia actually I worked in hospitality as well and I was working as a cleaner as well. Basically, my English was… I was still improving my English and took me a while actually, because I was young as well and had no experience so everything was new for me. The second time that I came to Australia I was a little bit more confident with my English and with the accent as well because I’d been here before. But is it still like the Australian accent is so hard even if you like you think ”I know English” no once you come to Australia you don’t know.
You need to start again.
Yeah exactly. And that I got two jobs as well. In hospitality and was also in retail. It was my first experience with retail as well and it was winter so… to everyone coming to Australia winter is harder to find a job in the main cities because summer is like more tourists so they need more people.
Especially in hospitality.
Exactly. So, it took me a month as well to find a job. It was a little bit desperate because I didn’t have much money as well. I had my course to pay and the life cost here it’s not easy, but once he got the first job I got the second one as well and was… everything worked well.
Everything fell into place. How did you get it, though? Did you do the same thing as Artur where you…
The same thing. I just did two different kinds of resumes, one more to hospitality, because I would say is the easiest way for you to step in in any kind of jobs here in Australia is Hospitality and then I did a different one to try retail as well, because I still wanted a place that… because of the hours flexibility as well, I was studying and I fell that retail I would practice my English a little bit more as well.
So, there was one point that we should be proud of ourselves as Brazilians. Like if you step in here by yourself, right? you don’t know what to do. You know you don’t know where to go when you get a chance to meet somehow a Brazilian community and they know what you’ve gone through to get here and they know how much you’re looking for or you’re trying to achieve your position. So, they will help you out somehow. Yeah. And I’ve been talking to a lot of different friends from all over the world and Brazilians they have this some strong bond to help each other. So, eventually if you’re struggling to find a job, you can make sure that if you find a Brazilian they’ll help you out.
Especially those Facebook groups, right? You know, 10 years ago you wouldn’t have had that, but nowadays Facebook groups is where it’s at, right? If you need help, you need sell something, buy something or find a job.
So that’s the point that we should be proud of ourselves like helping each other. It happens often.
There is such a strong community, but you have to sort of take care not to fall too deeply into that community?
That’s what I was going to say.
It might become a trap if you stick together for a long time because you get out talking with you like a few days ago you can easily live your life in Australia or at least in Sydney…
Get comfortable, right?
Without talking English, without getting to know a different language. You can, I mean, do pretty much everything without… not everything, but if you don’t have the wish…
Becoming easier and easier to avoid using English.
You can work with Brazilians, you can… I mean…
That’s the double-edged blade with multiculturalism, right? Once you get to a certain threshold where there are so many people from every country it is sort of becomes very, very easy to avoid having to interact with the locals and learning the language.
There is a fine line and you must be aware of that.
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So what advice would you guys have for people who come from Brazil or any other country where there is a big community in Australia and you first get here? How do you sort of balance interacting with that community to help you, but at the same time not falling in too deeply with it so that you don’t spread your wings and get a job and speak English and integrate?
I would say the main thing would be like stay aware about where you stepping in. As soon as you first get here, somehow you need to interact with people from back home, just to get used to get some tips to know where to go, what to do.
Otherwise it feels like solitary confinement, right?
Otherwise it becomes harder, but just stay aware because we are here for a reason, right. The number one reason for all of us mainly is to learn a new language, pretty much.
So just don’t get too comfortable.
Don’t get too comfortable, that’s it. You don’t have to go out of your comfort zone, like say, to learn English you can easily do at home you know like, watching movies with subtitles, research, you have YouTube, you have like amazing YouTube teachers as you do.
Good plug, good plug, check me out on Youtube, guys!
And even like okay, if you’re looking for a place to live, try to find a place that is not only like Brazilians living over there, people for other places that I need to speak English and even when you’re trying to find a job as well, try to be… Try to find jobs at places that you know they need to speak English. I know people that been here in Australia for four years, sometimes even more and they’ve been their whole life here and working as a cleaner, only work with Brazilian people and they don’t feel confident even trying to find a job in Hospitality.
After that long too.
After four years in Australia because they think their English is not good. And I know people that have been here for that long and don’t speak English at all.
The good thing I think about hospitality is there’s so many different positions in a restaurant that require different levels of English that you can kind of work your way up, right? Like I to work as a dish pig, washing dishes and then you can move into the kitchen or you can move in to being a waiter. You eventually become a manager and all that sort stuff as well.
And what I think as well, it’s even bad like for as a Brazilian coming here only, for example, if you go somewhere you only be speaking in Portuguese, you need to interact with the people from the country that you decide to live.
Well, why come otherwise, right? The last thing I would want to do if I went to Brazil would be where are the Australians? and how do I avoid speaking Portuguese? Although It can happen, you know, passively, right? Without necessarily wanting to, but I think it’s good to have that self-check of like okay, I’m hanging out a bit too much with people my country and working with them, I’m living with them. What are my goals? I guess, so you need to keep that in mind.
So how do you go with the language and learning it? What did you actively do aside from obviously coming here and getting a job with other English speakers? Did you guys look specifically for houses with English speakers? Did you study at schools? Did you study on your own? What was that process of learning Australian English like?
I was mostly studying on my own, actually, as I said before I used to watch a lot of movies with subtitles. I used to read a lot. But I think for me the main point and the most useful tool that I had was my boss actually she used to correct me all the time and I was trying to talk, trying to speak as much as I can and she used to pick every single mistake that I did.
Did you have to ask her to do that?
She was just a natural teacher. Artur, you were doing that and you need to do this way. So, it’s good when you when you get to meet people that are keen to help you out and correct you. Because you can easily talk, I mean, not exactly on the right way, but they can understand you somehow.
But that’s the first step, right? You communicate and you want it perfect. You have to work even harder.
I was lucky enough to have someone to correct me for at least one year. And then you was probably the major point that I’ve had to improve my English somehow.
What about you, Luma? What was the process like?
So, I actually when I decided to study here I was basically studying only with Australian people. So, it was like, you know what?… I was living with Brazilian…
You got thrown in the deep, Luma.
Yeah because it’s easy for you to live with someone for your country in the beginning and, I need to say, even I wanted to be all the time with English speakers, and living with someone that speaks the same language with you sometimes give is like okay, I had a big day I can get home and speak Portuguese, but I was studying only with the Australian people and all my jobs there was not even one Brazilian. So, I was speaking English my whole day and what I feel as well a lot of people come here to Australia, they pay just a course to stay here in Australia because as Brazilians you can only get the student visa. I think now you can have a working holiday, but a tip that I would say to people go and really enjoyed the classes because even though it’s not what you want, even though they seem like really not the best course, you’re still spending your money on that and it is still a way for you to prove your language.
And meet people.
I see from my sister, she she’s here to learn English and she goes through every single class, she does all the assessments and she says I’m paying for that and I know how hard I’ve worked for that and even though I know a lot of people don’t even care, I’m doing it and I’m improving my English. So, yeah, if you come and spending money here just make sure that this money is bringing something back like.
Yeah you get something out of it, that’s not just effectively paying all that money for a visa.
Well, shifting onto visas. What visas are you guys currently on? And what was what’s that process been like getting those visas? Because you’re on…
We’re currently on a bridging visa. We did apply for the 187 visa in February and I am a swimming instructor nowadays. So we had to go through these skill procedure, like you have to prove that you are… I’ve done this sports coaching diploma in Australia and then you have to prove a few extra things like you have to go through the English test.
Yeah, was it ILETS?
Yeah, it was IELTS and you also have to find an employer who is able to offer you a two year contract.
So, they don’t necessarily need to sponsor you and pay for the visa or anything, but you need to show that you can find work that will last for at least two years.
And especially, well this 187 visa it has to be in a regional area of Australia.
And that’s how you ended up here, right? in Canberra.
That’s how I’m in Canberra. And so that was the process that we had to go through.
Yeah, but that’s good, right? Because after that what’s the step after the 187 visa and you finish your two years here in Canberra at least?
So, once the visa is approved you get the residency straightaway and then after that you still have to stay with this employer for two years. So, you’ve got the residency ever since the beginning of the visa and you just have to stay on the same employer, on the same workplace, for two years more.
And so Luma you’re on a partner visa?
Yeah, I’m on a partner visa here with him, but I arrived here as a should and as well. I applied for his student visa, but I was studying industrial design here which is a little bit different from what most of the people who come to do here in Australia. But I had like, at that time, I was able to get skilled visas and everything, but it changed. So, what is happening here in Australia is that the visas are changing a lot, every year or even every six months they’re changing the laws, which makes it harder if you decide like… to come over here and you have a plan, save your money to do something and then suddenly it doesn’t work like that anymore, but the good thing when I got here was I went to an immigration agency and spoke with a lady helped me a lot and she said something that actually nowadays makes a lot of sense. That she said don’t come here and just study anything because of the visa. Because then, for example, if you were studying you’d be a hairdresser for example maybe next year it’s not there anymore and if it’s not what you love then you spent your money, you spent your time you wasted it. And what are you going to do now? So, do what you really wonder or at least something that’s close of what you want to do in your life or something that you like, because you never know and sometimes in the future that thing that you studied can come back. So if it is something that you like it won’t be a waste, even if you decide to go back to Brazil are you going to use it that over there.
Yeah, it does say a lot about planning, right? And thinking about where am I going to want to be in two years, three years, four years… far out. So, I guess I should probably finish up soon. I’ve kept you guys for a bit. What’s the plan in the future? What are you guys hoping to do once… I guess Artur, I guess once you finish the two years at this workplace, you planning to stay here in Canberra, move elsewhere? Go back to Brazil? Move to Thailand?
I’m having a good time in Canberra, but I don’t think this is the place that I would like to live for 10 years more, let’s say, because I really like the lifestyle of the beach. So I’m looking forward to spend this whole time in Canberra, as I should, and then eventually move up the coast, eventually close to the Sunshine Coast or something, and just have a lifestyle slightly different than Canberra so, that’s my main plan nowadays, just going with the flow and see how we go.
And would you go for the citizenship and that sort of stuff?
Yeah, that’s the plan, that will be the consequence if everything goes well. So fingers crossed. You’re still positive about the outcome, let’s see.
Ah, brilliant. Luma, what about you?
Still, I want to build my career, I think that’s my main focus now. Work as industrial design here in Australia, but I also have to have residency. I still want to spend some time in Brazil. I don’t know for how long, if it’s for or six months or…
Just to work or?
Just to feel how it’s over there, after I’ve been so long far away from home. Sometimes it is good to go back and be close to your family and see how you feel at home and once you have the residency you have the options so, at least knowing that you are able to choose where you want to live that makes a big difference. And yeah…
Artur, Luma, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Thank you so much, Pete. It was a pleasure!
Awesome well that is it for today, guys. Thank you so much for joining me.
Remember, this episode is brought to you by the Native English course. If you would like to sign up for that, go to lingova.com, L I N G O V A .com and use the coupon AUSSIE, A U S S I E, to save 15 percent.
Thanks again, Arthur and Luma, for coming on the episode. That was amazing to chat to you guys in here about your experiences moving to Australia, struggling with the language, finding work, and then getting a visa, and all that kind of jazz. Thanks again!
Guys, I hope you have an amazing weekend and I’ll check to you soon. See you later.