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In 2011, my husband was given the chance to work in Australia on a 457 visa. It was a great opportunity for our family, so in October of that year my son and I joined him in Melbourne. It was very exciting, but I must admit that I also felt very uncertain about the future. I didn’t know what to expect and how to make a home in a new country. I left all that was familiar in India, and I did not have close family and friends nearby to make me feel welcome. 

There was a lot of struggle in the early days. Many things were unfamiliar to me: the food, the way of life, the language. 

Children adapt easily and my son soon had friends and the English communication skills to talk with others fluently. When I saw that he was starting to enjoy himself, I started to loosen up a bit and began to appreciate Australia for the beautiful country that it is. I discovered that Australia offered the lifestyle that I had been searching for.

Making Australia my home

I began to appreciate the multicultural atmosphere. I started to develop friendships with other mothers at my son’s school. I got a job at a government department using my skills and qualifications as a software engineer. I discovered that there were actually a lot of Asian grocery shops around my neighbourhood, and that I could continue to cook our traditional dishes. 

Australia started to feel more and more like home. I was getting increasingly sure that this was where I wanted to raise my son. I began the process of applying for permanent residency.

Being prepared to overcome challenges

Getting myself ready to show my language skills in an IELTS test was the first step I took towards permanent residency. I was already using it in my daily routine around here in Australia, but I was not as confident in terms of sitting the IELTS test. I knew I could benefit from having revision focused on the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking. 

For that purpose, I enrolled in an IELTS preparation class at the English language institute called 'Hawthorn Melbourne'. There are many accredited language schools offering English language classes in Australia. Hawthorn Melbourne is one of them. My experience there was very positive – the instructor in the course was really supportive and helped me know what to expect in an IELTS test. 

I supplemented what I was learning in class with my own review. I got a lot of helpful resources from I used lots of resources, online books, CDs, library books and practice sessions. 

On my first attempt, my score was below the required score by a small margin. I felt disappointed, but at least I knew what I needed to do. I improved my writing skills more because that’s where I was stuck. I did a lot of practice tests before booking my next test. Then, I reapplied and got the score I needed!

IELTS helped me achieve permanent residency in Australia

I can say that we have truly achieved our dreams of having a better life here in Australia. My husband and I both have great jobs, and now have our own house and car. We have been to New Zealand and Sydney, and still have many more places we want to visit. 

Our biggest achievement was getting our permanent residency. With the initial step of getting my required score in an IELTS test, I was able to apply for PR and can now look forward to making Australia our permanent home. I can’t wait for our citizenship in 2018!