Volunteering in Australia
There is much more to joining a community in Australia than just exploring your new town or city; it's just as important to become engaged and get actively involved. A great way to do this is by volunteering, attending local events and joining sporting or social clubs. 36% of adults in Australia did some kind of volunteering in 2010.
Australian experience through volunteer work
Beyond joining the community, becoming a volunteer also provides you with 'Australian' work experience. This experience is useful for your resume, and helps you make new contacts. In addition, volunteering helps you practice your English skills.
Australians really appreciate it when new migrants participate in community functions. There are lots of ways to volunteer your time and help your community. You might like to help out at your new church; coach your child's soccer team; become a volunteer surf life saver; assist a local non-profit organisation; or volunteer at a community event or festival.
You could also get involved in local politics. You can't vote or stand as a candidate until you're an Australian citizen, but you can certainly volunteer for a campaign. It is a great way to become familiar with the issues that affect your local community.
Depending on your visa type, you may have to be careful about how much volunteering you do!
Volunteering is generally considered work in the eyes of the immigration department, so depending on your visa status, add the time you spend in a volunteering role into the hours you are working. For example, if you are on a student visa and volunteering 15 hours a week, that means you have used up 30 of the 40 hours of employment allowed in a 2-week period. However, do check on this as it may not be the case for your situation.