Multicultural hub to make life easier for Coast migrants
A ONE-stop web portal providing essential information for new migrants on the Coast has been launched by Sunshine Coast Council.
It aims to help new residents feel welcome and enabling them to connect with services and their community.
Sunshine Coast Council's Multicultural Welcome Hub, Handbook and Directory provide a quick and easy way for migrants to tap into information about a suite of topics ranging from health, education and transport to helpful tips on forming connections in a new community.
Migrants who have relocated from all over the globe, including Tibet, Kenya, Thailand and Germany, share their personal stories of the challenges, joys and opportunities they experienced moving to a new community.
Juan Etheridge shared her story of moving from Udon Thani - a provincial city in Thailand's north-east - to the Sunshine Coast in 2009 to be with her husband John, a Eumundi resident.
She hopes her story will help others understand how to navigate some of the challenges and inspire those contemplating a move to the Sunshine Coast to put it into action.
"Learning from other people's experiences is really useful, whether they are good or bad, you can apply what they have learnt to your own situation," Mrs Etheridge said.
The biggest hurdles Mrs Etheridge faced were learning English and understanding the culture.
"There's just so much to learn and adapt to,'' Mrs Etheridge said.
With the help of "wonderful" English as a second language (ESL) teachers at TAFE, Mrs Etheridge not only improved her English but also developed strong friendships with other migrants. A decade on, and she is thriving - running her own Thai restaurant in Eumundi and enjoying the beautiful climate, tropical produce and laid-back lifestyle.
"The Sunshine Coast is such a beautiful place to live. There's never any drama here, people are very welcoming and it's not busy like city areas," Mrs Etheridge said.
Sunshine Coast Migrant Settlement Worker Linda Dennis said the new hub and directory would alleviate a lot of the frustration and confusion migrants can experience.
"When people come to the Sunshine Coast from overseas there is such a range of information and services they need access to and people often don't know where to go," Ms Dennis said.
"Having a central point will really improve accessibility to this information.
"Of course, the web portal will also be available 24 hours a day meaning people will be able to access it in their own time and at their own pace and even explore options before moving from overseas".
The Multicultural Welcome Hub can be accessed by visiting Sunshine Coast Council's website at www.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au and clicking on Multicultural.