Australia Immigration

Singapore woman embraces Australian citizenship 30 years after arrival

by Ray Clancy on August 29, 2014

in Australia Immigration

Not everyone who moves to Australia wants to become an Australian citizen, but for those who do it is not always a decision that happens quickly.

Sometimes, it can be a life event that prompts the urge to become a citizen. But for Rachel Low of Singapore, it took 30 years for her to make up her mind.

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The decision to become a citizen is not always a quick or easy one

Turning 60 was a major milestone for her; she ended up becoming an Australian citizen not just on her significant birthday, but also on the 60th anniversary of Australian citizenship.

‘It was so special. I’d come of age. I felt very proud, valued and I felt like I belonged at last and I could make up my mind that I am an Australian. I’d deliberated for a long time and I was ready,’ said Rachel who had always felt at home in Australia because her children were born in the country.

‘For most of my life, I’ve been in Australia and always called Australia home because my children were born here and my husband works here and I’m very happy here. We feel so at home and I feel Australia’s becoming more and more a multicultural society, so this is where I belong,’ she added.

But the transition from Rachel’s tropical homeland to Australia wasn’t an easy one. ‘When I first arrived here, I wasn’t used to the place and the weather because in Singapore there are not four seasons and it was always hot, so I often felt cold in winter. I felt lonely, I had no friends, so I missed home and I used to cry, so that was quite sad,’ she explained.

Rachel now dedicates her time to helping other new migrants settle into her adopted city, Canberra, teaching English as a volunteer for the Adult Migrant English Programme and being a hands-on helper with new arrivals, something that brings her great pleasure.

‘I help migrants, not only with their English but settling into Australia. When I was a bilingual community educator, I helped them to understand more about Australian law, healthy lifestyle, and everything that they need to know about Australia,’ she said.

‘And now I help by bringing them shopping, buying things for them sometimes and I think I have a sense of satisfaction. I feel happy to be able to help them settle because I know how it feels like to be a migrant, coming to a new country,’ she added.

She has even come to enjoy the climate she once struggled with. ‘Now I love all the four seasons because there’s so much change and every season has beauty, so I really love Australia. The weather, the food, and now there’s so many different restaurants and so many different activities and it’s really good for family life as well,’ she pointed out.

And she’s eager to share her passion for Australia, calling her new home ‘a land of opportunity’, adding that if you are willing to work and strive and you have a goal and ambition you will achieve what you want to achieve. ‘I think we are the luckiest country in the world, not just a lucky country,’ she said.

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