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An Expat Talks about Living in Brisbane, Australia

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Brisbane

How long have you lived there?

18 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

If you've got kids, you're automatically going to meet people through childcare services; ditto work. Otherwise, join sports clubs - sport are huge here - and make sure you introduce yourself locally to neighbours. We've found ours very welcoming.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

There is diversity here - racial, cultural, religious - but less than the other centres, and I think attitudes are less enlightened. Brisbane's often quoted as a country town that's exploded in size, and we've definitely seen that... I think attitudes here can be quite entrenched.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

I'm not aware of any stand-out industries, but there is masses of development going on - when we arrived in May 08, 1,200 people were arriving every week - so construction is big. There's heaps of ongoing housing development and the State Govt is ploughing serious money into transport infrastructure, to keep the economy turning over during the GFC. Beyond that, it's the usual office / corporate / retail sectors...

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Brisbane's a pretty laid back, low-stress city. Work doesn't seem to be the number one priority - that's lifestyle and sport, especially sport!

If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Do your research and be clear on what you're looking for. Brisbane can offer you an easy, laid-back lifestyle, with lots of outdoor living. Blue skies are the norm, winters are warm and dry and the worst humidity and storms of summer only last about 4 months. It's very live-able. People are largely friendly and relaxed, and there's a slow pace.

You're further away from the sea - and good beaches - than you may expect, though there's plenty along both coasts to explore. There's some beautiful scenery and nature walks, on numerous day drives.

That said, if you're looking for high culture and a sophisticated, cosmopolitan centre, it's probably not for you. Attitudes can be very old school, customer service is a rare thing - the downside of the laid-back vibe - and many people have never travelled outside of their state, let alone Australia. It's a developing city and it hasn't quite caught up to itself yet.

Whatever you decide, it's what you make of it - expect culture shock and roll with it!

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