Melbourne has all the benefits of a global city without the hassles for Saravanan Palanivelu.
Saravanan arrived in the Victorian capital in 2003 looking to upgrade his academic qualifications to help establish his IT career at home in India.
It was the first time Saravanan had left his family and at 23 years old he was a little daunted at living in a new culture.
‘I thought if I didn’t like Melbourne in the first few months then I could always go home,’ he said. ‘I had absolutely no plans to stay more than a few years but I’m still here today.’ Saravanan has since become an Australian Citizen.
International students love Melbourne for its high quality education, lifestyle benefits and cultural diversity.
Melbourne is consistently rated one of the world’s most liveable cities by The Economist magazine and Victorians come from more than 200 countries, speak more than 230 languages and dialects and follow more than 120 religious faiths.
Saravanan enrolled to study for his masters degree in network computing at Monash University, Australia’s largest university. It offers internationally-recognised qualifications and has campuses in Malaysia and South Africa as well as research schools in Italy and Mumbai, India.
Saravanan quickly made new friends and did well in his course.
‘Studying in Melbourne was much less stressful than studying in India,’ he said. ‘There was time for other things and I really enjoyed it.’
Saravanan was set to return home in 2006 after completing his degree when Victoria presented a new opportunity.
A friend told him of internships available at the Melbourne-based internet service provider he worked for. Saravanan thought this might kick-start his career in India so successfully applied.
‘Once I completed my internship the company offered me a fulI-time job,’ Saravanan said. ‘I began to think I would do well to stay in Victoria.’
Within a year Saravanan progressed to an even better job with one of the world’s largest confectionary companies, Cadbury. This job as a network engineer supporting the entire Cadbury Asia Pacific network substantially boosted his professional experience and skills.
In 2008 Cadbury outsourced its Global Telecommunications to global telecommunications giant, British Telecom. The company offered Saravanan the same job he’d held for Cadbury but with a more generous salary.
‘I think I’ve got a better start to my career in Victoria,’ Saravanan said. ‘India is very competitive and maybe I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities there.’
Victoria has demand for ICT professionals with particular specialist skills. Suitably qualified skilled migrants are sought in Melbourne and the state’s thriving regional centres.
Employers often provide a relocation allowance and the government supports migrants through services that include a network of regional coordinators.
The best thing about Victoria for Saravanan is the lifestyle.
‘Melbourne is a great city without the hassles,’ he said. ‘There aren’t people everywhere crowding you and people are much more relaxed.’
Saravanan notices and appreciates this in daily life.
‘For example, the respect people have for each other, the great sense of community and respect for rules and regulations.
‘People work hard at their jobs here but they like to have fun too. It’s not as stressful to live. The balance of life is better.’
Saravanan is now a permanent resident and lives with friends in a middle Melbourne suburb near his work.
He plans to become an Australian citizen in 2010.
Life is very different to what he could have expected in India but Saravanan is sure he made the best choice.
‘If I was in India I’d still be living at home being looked after by my mother,’ he said. ‘That might sound great but I’ve become much more self-sufficient and confident in Melbourne which is better for me in the long-term. I feel 100 per cent adapted to the culture. I’m used to a good life here now so I’m staying.’