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Thoughts and Reflections on African Migration and Settlement in Australia.

Friday, January 07, 2005


He likes to think that “Australia is a rapidly growing economy and a melting pot of cultures”. But, as a foreign-trained medical doctor, who migrated from Nigeria to Australia, Dan Uche has had his fair share of disappointments in the job front.

“It would not be an exaggeration to say that I have experienced difficulties in a number of areas since my arrival in Australia” Dan admits. “But the most important thing for me at the moment is to embrace the new culture, adapt, improve my knowledge, and look for an opportunity to use my skills”.

A chance meeting with the good doctor was a golden opportunity for me to take stock of the challenges facing some of the new African migrants to Australia, as they struggle for survival; trying to come to terms with the reality of living in the brave new world of the 21st Century.

“I completed my studies at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Nigeria a few years ago before coming to Australia in search of greener pastures”, Dan explains. “But the non-recognition of my professional credentials poses the greatest danger, as far as I am concerned”.

“Meanwhile, my goal is to work as a General Practitioner (GP) in the rapidly growing health sector in Australia”, he says. “But, as a foreign-trained doctor, I have to go through an arduous registration process in order to be allowed to practice”.

Yet, he is not bitter about the experience. “I know finding one’s way in a new culture is not always easy; but I’m excited about the prospects of living in Australia and the different opportunities available to me here”.

“I didn’t know what to expect at first but I have already made some progress: in fact, I have successfully completed the Australian Medical Council Multiple Choice Questions, (a preliminary examination)”, Dan said, with a sigh of relief.

“Nevertheless, I think there is still a long way to go yet, before I find my rightful place in the Australian culture and society”.

In fact, Dan does not in any way underestimate the enormity of the problem confronting him, as a new migrant.

“Trying to penetrate the system is no mean task”, he said; taking a deep breath. “There are enormous challenges for the new arrivals, mainly because of the socio-cultural differences; and lack of local experience and right contacts”.

“At the moment, however, I am searching for an opportunity to undergo some form of clinical training…While at the same time seriously preparing myself for a series of compulsory clinical examinations in the months to ahead”.

Thus, “if all goes well”, Dan still believes he might just manage to “pull it off”, and work in his chosen profession in the near future. Then again, this is Australia where medicine is not just a profession, it is a birthright.


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