Being an immigrant in a new land, especially one as exciting and filled with opportunity as Australia, can be an incredible experience rich in new discoveries and great experiences. Yet it can also bring with it unwanted experiences and personal challenges that aren’t expected when first setting out. Among these, the feeling of being an “outsider” or somehow different from others in the community can have a significant psychological and emotional toll, especially when sustained over long periods of time. In native lands, people may have been used to voicing their opinions, receiving equal treatment from employers and from the government, and in general feeling well-integrated with others. Yet upon moving, immigrants may feel as though their ideas are seldom if ever considered, and prejudice may be felt in the workplace and among peers. Though Australia is especially receptive to newcomers as compared to many parts of the world, there are still some who oppose the residence of immigrants past a short visa period, and facing the stigma of being a “foreigner” can weigh on any immigrant’s overall personal and social experience.
When immigrants apply for citizenship and take the citizenship test, however, they are likely to discover that this process not only helps them to better understand the people and customs of the country itself, but that other citizens are more receptive to their needs and ideas, allowing for an opportunity to become a meaningful part of the community. Though community involvement is often relegated to political correctness or is tarnished by a sense of unimportance, the psychological and professional benefits of joining with others and sharing personal thoughts and experiences as a respected and equal member can be invaluable. From making new job contacts to finding new friends and joining in on significant community decisions, new citizens can take an active part in the life and vitality of their area, making their experience in Australia more pleasant while also contributing to the well-being of others.
If becoming a member of the Australian community was as simple as pushing a button, more people might naturally feel inclined to obtain citizen status. Realistically, the pat to becoming a citizen is more complex, and requires the completion of the citizenship test along with paying careful attention to forms and other necessary paperwork. In some cases, immigrants may have to try more than once to complete the process of becoming an Australian citizen, though the sense of accomplishment gained upon attending a citizenship ceremony and being issued an Australian passport are events likely to be well worth the effort. In many ways, deciding to to become a full or dual-citizenship Australian can be intimidating, but working past this challenge and getting involved in the Australian community can have an incredible impact on the ultimate success or failure of a newcomer’s attempt at creating a new life and finding personal prosperity down under.