Aussie families are increasingly heading overseas to reap the benefits of international mining. But what's it really like? Mining Family Matters women spill the beans on living and working in key mining countries across the globe. On this page you'll find two great testimonials on Indonesia ...
Plus here are some other stories if you're considering an international job ...
- Working overseas - top advice from an international recruiter
- A mining partner's advice on moving overseas
- Top 10 things to consider when you're moving overseas
- Q&A: What to expect when moving overseas
- Beating the blues when you return from working overseas
Tanya in Jakarta, Indonesia
I'm a 30-year-old(ish) wife of a geophysicist who, after 12 years in the oil and gas industry and based in Adelaide, decided to take a transfer to his company's Jakarta office. This was a huge move for us considering we had never ventured too far from home. With two young sons and a job that I loved, it was the hardest decision of our lives. But after a 'look-and-see' trip, we decided to give it a go. I think it has taken me at least six months to feel settled and happy, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by what Jakarta has to offer. I thought I would be stuck at home, day in, day out with my youngest boy who was not yet two when we arrived. And being a working mother before coming to Indonesia, this worried the hell out of me. I thought I would be bored. Not so. The Indonesians love children – especially if their skin is white and their hair is blonde – not to mention a bit on the chubby side. There are endless activities for the children to do. (Actually there is too much: I can't keep up.) Birthday parties, indoor playgrounds (too hot to play outside), water theme parks, Gymboree, craft centres – you name it, Jakarta has it. I thought I would lose my identity and just become another stay-at-home mum, but I have discovered such brilliant things to make my own. Whether it is helping at a weekly playgroup attended by a group of locals orphans or volunteering for reading duties at my eldest child's school, I now find myself running from one activity to another. The main problem this causes is punctuality issues, due to the masses of cars, bikes and buses on the roads. This, to me, is the main hassle with living in Jakarta: the traffic and the pollution (and not terrorism or becoming a bored stay-at-home mum). The opportunities for me have been endless which is such a surprise. I now want to stay as long as I can. I am loving the new friends and the brilliant short trips we can do to lots of other wonderful countries that aren't too far way. I now can see all the positives, when all I could see at the beginning were all the negatives. I can tell you, the positives totally outweight the negatives.
Lesley in Jakarta, Indonesia
Jakarta, where we live, was recently named by BusinessWeek as the second worst city in the world for expats. I find myself wondering, after 3.5 years here, if this is this REALLY true? Although I am not part of a mining family (hubby is in finance), I know plenty of mining expats here in Indonesia, most in the oil and gas game. We all experience the same issues and gripes: terrible traffic, flooding, pollution, typhoid and lack of good medical facilities. I have personally been affected by all of these, some daily (traffic and pollution) some spasmodically (flooding) and some only once (typhoid). But these are the facts of life here. And it is from these things which BusinessWeek gauges its list. To some extent I agree with the publication. The very things which we Australians take for granted are simply unaccessible here: walking on a pavement; walking in a park; hell... walking ANYWHERE for that matter! We go from air-con house to air-con car to air-con mall and back again (in the worst traffic in the world). Once in heavy rain it took me and the kids almost 1.5 hours to go a couple of blocks. I would have taken me 20 minutes to walk, 40 to crawl ... if there was a pavement... that wasn’t flooded. But surely Jakarta has some good things going for it too? The people on the whole are wonderful, gentle, kind, caring and love their families. Surely it doesn’t get much better than that, to be surrounded by such a wonderful, friendly people? The holiday opportunities are endless – we have Bali and Lombok at our door step, 1000 islands only 55km north of the harbour, countless volcanos to climb like Bromo and Ijen, Borobodour temples, Manado with some of the best diving in the world – the list is endless. And I hate to admit it, but the nannies and domestic help are a huge plus too. I am starting my own export business here and have two children, aged one and two. This would be so much harder, near impossible in fact, without domestic help to make sure the laundry is done, floor mopped and babies bathed. So do I agree with BusinessWeek findings? The jury is out. Is it the best place on earth to live? Absolutely not! But have I enjoyed my time here? Absolutely!
Ever worked and/or lived overseas for an international mining company? We'd love to hear your story!