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177 Nations of Tasmania

177 Nations of Tasmania

By Mark Thomson
177 Nations of Tasmania is a podcast project with the challenge to broadcast interviews with at least one member of all 177 of the nationalities represented in Tasmania's last census and find out about why they came to Tasmania, what they brought with them ( experiences, culture, traditions, skills, ideas etc), and the experience of settling on a small and fairly isolated island state not known for being very multicultural.

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Reza from Afghanistan : Staying resilient through tough times
One of the hardest things for many during the Covid pandemic has been the enforced separation from family. But imagine being separated from your wife and child for nine years as you tried to support them and forge a better future for your family in Australia, which is what Reza did until his wife and boy joined him in Tasmania two years ago. Reza is a Hazara, one of the ethnic minorities in Afghanistan subject to harsh persecution from the infamous Taliban. Reza has spent most of his life in Iran, after his parents fled there when he was very small.  But the situation for Afghans in Iran is neither safe nor secure, perhaps a kin to being in Purgatory after escaping from Hell. So, like many others, Reza chose to risk the long journey to Australia, taking a year before he was taken off a leaky boat on the way from Indonesia to Australia, and detained on Christmas Island.  After some time in Sydney and Melbourne, Reza got a job in Hobart and it's impossible not to hear the joy and optimism in Reza's voice when talking about his new home.  
September 11, 2021
Nick from Greece : A teenager's journey to the other side of the world alone
Can you imagine being 15 years old and being put on a boat by your father going to the other side of the world to a place where you didn't speak a word of the language ? Many of us can barely conceive of this, but this is what happened to Nick when he arrived in Australia on a long journey from his birthplace on the island of Lesbos, Greece.  At the time there was fighting on Lesbos between rival political factions, and many young Greeks were sent away or fled to find a better future in America, Australia and elsewhere.   After a few years in NSW, Nick would eventually come to Hobart in his 20s to pursue a business opportunity and with a friend run a restaurant and club that serviced the many Greek Hydro workers in Tasmania in the 1960s.  He also became involved in the activities of the local Greek community, a migrant community that became one of the most successful and prominent of Tasmania's migrant communities and perhaps provides a model for other less established communities to learn from.
September 9, 2021
Elena from Mexico : A life of colours
One could say that Elena's personality and career match the country and culture she comes from - Mexico.   When she was a young woman in Mexico, Elena decided she wanted to study "aestheticologie", which equates roughly to what we might could beauty therapy here. Elena had a successful career in Mexico working TV and other fields.  Through her work she would meet her Tasmanian husband and they would eventually come to Launceston with their two Mexican-born children. Things did not good to plan and Elena faced marriage break up and health issues on the way. Through a connection she became the host of a Spanish-language program on City Park Radio in Launceston, connecting her with many Spanish-speaking individuals and communities in Tasmania and beyond.  She is also a strong advocate for the rights of children with autism , after her son was diagnosed with the condition.  Music : "Del Rio Bravo" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
August 16, 2021
Nancy from Chile : Escaping imprisonment for resisting a military dictatorship
Nancy was 11 when the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown in a military coup, and even at such a young age she and those in the poor neighbourhood she lived in Santiago felt the negative impact of the change.  The regime of General Pinochet was one marked by human rights abuses and heavy political repression leading thousands of Chileans to flee to other countries. Chileans first came to Tasmania in significant numbers in the late 1980s, and Nancy and her family were among them, essentially political refugees fleeing one of South America's most notoriously brutal dictatorships.  Although many younger Chileans have left since the 80s for the bigger cities of mainland Australia, the Chilean community is still the largest Latin American community in Tasmania.   But for Nancy it had never been in the original plan to put down roots here, the plan had been to return to Chile when it was safe again to do so.   After ten years she returned to Chile but things were not as expected and when she returned to Tasmania it was with a different mindset and now she feels truly at home in Tasmania.
August 5, 2021
Jeff from Canada : Home in Tasmania, heart still in Canada
Jeff was born in Toronto and came to settle in Launceston via Western Australia and Hobart, for a combination of lifestyle and work reasons. Jeff's a Skin Cancer Specialist, and Tasmania has the second highest rate of melanomas in Australia after Queensland, which has is the skin cancer capital of the world.  He met his Australian wife on a flight from Vancouver to Mexico when he was still a medical intern and she was doing a ski season in British Columbia.  Although Canada and Australia are largely culturally very similar, Jeff has observed a few differences especially around education and has some astute observation around a few idiosyncratic quirks of life in Tasmania including the Launceston-Hobart rivalry and the custom of wearing shorts in winter ! 
July 14, 2021
Carole from Belgium : On a new journey of motherhood in Tasmania in the time of Covid
Carole grew up in Brussels in a cosmopolitan neighbourhood in a country in which the two major cultural and linguistic groups have lived side-by-side for a long time. Growing up in this environment, Carole speaks of having to be open to differences in others and this can be seen no better than in her advocacy for her son Lio, born just before the Covid lockdown in Tasmania and diagnosed with Down's Syndrome.   Like many migrants, she has faced the tough situation of not being able to introduce her little boy physically to all his family in Belgium and talks about dealing with this.  Just over 8 years ago a friend in Belgium asked if Carole wanted to accompany her to Australia. It was not a place Carole had considered. She had just spent months working in Zambia and traveling around Africa and was looking to travel some were similarly more adventurous.  But she ended up coming and meeting her current partner in Mackay, Queensland.   However, neither of them were keen to stay long term in Mackay and after a holiday to Tasmania decided to make the move to Hobart. Music : "Night in Venice" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
July 11, 2021
Anna : A Hungarian with memories from before the war
Anna's story highlights how complicated defining "nationality" can be sometimes, and though I'm trying to use a standard based on the Australian Census's "Country of Birth", there is a category "Eastern Europe, not fully defined", showing that many people in Eastern Europe throughout the 20th century were displaced or found themselves within changed borders.   Anna was born in the 1920s in what was then Yugoslavia ( today it is Croatia), but only a few years before it had been part of the Hungarian area of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In fact, as a result of being on the wrong side in WW1, Hungary lost 60% of its territory, leaving many Hungarians living within the borders of different countries. In Anna's case, she would grow up in Burgenland, Austria, on the border with Hungary, and the majority were Hungarian speakers and her early schooling wasin Hungarian. Of course, WW2 and the German annexation brought some shocking changes and Anna suddenly found herself at high school where instruction was suddenly only in German. The Nazi occupation was a hard time, but after the war, she met a Hungarian emigre in a refugee camp and married him two weeks later. They emigrated to Australia in 1950 and settled down for a time in country Victoria.  Later they moved to Sydney.   After her husband died, she would visit her son, who had moved to Tasmania, initially to pick apples...and eventually she moved here. But this is the briefest of summaries of a long life. Listen to the episode to hear about life in rural Austria in the 1930s and 40s and more about the migrant experience from a member of a generation of which fewer and fewer remain. 
May 26, 2021
Jenny from Slovakia : Escape to Australia after Soviet tanks rumbled into Kosice
Jenny or Yenni was born into a Hungarian family in the eastern part of Slovakia, then Czechoslovakia. Jenny was a child when Soviet tanks occupied her home town of Kosice, and then grew up as part of the first generation of "socialist youth" in post-war Czechoslovakia.  Things were going well until the "Prague Spring", initiated by the Slovak President of Czechoslovakia Alexander Dubcek, an exciting period of unprecedented freedom and possibility for the people of Czechoslovakia.  This was crushed in 1969 when Soviet tanks and army rumbled into Czechoslovakia and when arrests started at her work, Jenny made the decision to get the family out of the country.   The family was able to get to Vienna and eventually apply for asylum to Australia and Jenny and her family arrived in Hobart in 1969 with just a few suitcases and very little English.    Although it took Jenny several years to become truly proficient at English, she was eventually able to write several books based on her life experiences.
May 18, 2021
Darya from Ukraine : From landscape architecture to magazine publishing to helping migrants in Tassie
Ukrainians have a long history of settlement in Tasmania, being amongst the earliest groups of post-war European migrants to settle in Tasmania. But nowadays, this migrant community is relatively small and elderly.  However, Darya is one of the new generation of Ukrainians to now call Tasmania home, after coming here on a Prospective Marriage visa. Darya's childhood was spent mainly in Kiev in the 90s, a dark time in the country as the economy crashed and criminality was abundant. But by her high school years, the future was looking much brighter and Darya had the opportunity to go to the vastly different culture of Japan and study a  4- year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. After returning to Ukraine, Darya pursued a number of different and varied jobs, before eventually working  as a tour guide, mainly in Kiev.   She met her Australian husband at a friend's wedding in Ukraine and she would eventually come to Tasmania multiple times, before moving here permanently last year, just before the international border closed.  She now works at the Migrant Resource Centre in Hobart as an intern Project Officer, helping run programs to help other migrants. 
May 5, 2021
Ivalu from Greenland : From icebergs and fjords to towering trees and greenery
It would be hard to imagine finding anyone else coming further away to be in Tasmania than Ivalu. Hailing from Greenland, the world's largest island on the far north of the globe with a sparse population of around 55,000, Ivalu talks about the experience of growing up in this remote and unique place.   Ivalu had already travelled widely before she came to settle in Tasmania several years ago - an exchange year in Panama, study in Denmark and a Masters in Indigenous Studies in Tromso, Norway.  Her study in Norway lead her to meeting the Australian man who would ultimately draw her to Australia. She now lives in Judbury, a small settlement 16 km from Huonville.   Though Tasmania and Greenland lie on opposite sides of the world and are vastly different in so many ways, they both share a level of remoteness and natural beauty, where the evidence of the power of nature is never too far away.
April 20, 2021
James from Malaysia : Growing up with cultural diversity and harmony in Sarawak
James grew up in the Malaysian province of Sarawak in Northern Borneo. Although James comes from Chinese heritage,  Sarawak's population is culturally diverse and the festivals of each major ethnic group is celebrated by all.  With a strong interest in Malaysian elections, both personally and academically, James was drawn to Tasmania by a work opportunity at a South-East Asian Studies Centre at the University of Tasmania.   Tasmania and Malaysia have strong connections going back decades, whether it be through the large number of Malaysian students at the University of Tasmania in the 80s and 90s, or through the commercial links around forestry and hydro-electricity,  it's the SE Asian country with which Tasmania has significant ties.
April 16, 2021
Edward from Nigeria : Finding familiarity in Launceston
With a librarian mother, Edward's early life was immersed in books, and planted a seed of curiosity to see the world outside his own country. Growing up in an English-speaking environment that was heavily influenced by British culture, meant that Edward has not felt the "culture shock" so much of adapting to places, and he has a lived in a few before Launceston. In fact, Edward has found much that is relatable in Launceston to a similiarly sized city in Nigeria.  For many Australians, their knowledge of Nigeria is often limited to the ubiquituous Nigerian email scams of years past, but as Africa's most populous country and a major centre for film and music, it deserves more attention, and Edward reveals some aspects of Nigerian society and culture that may surprise.  Music : "Tafi Maradi" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License
April 2, 2021
Ariana from Brazil : Connecting through coffee culture
So what associations come to mind when you think about Brazil ? Sun, samba and soccer, perhaps ? But as well as that it's a big country geographically and one of the most diverse racially and culturally on earth. Ariana is a rare example from the people I've talked to, in that she both aimed to come to Tasmania and was able to secure a job here before moving, which took many attempts over 9 months.   As someone who worked in the airline industry for many years, it's perhaps not surprising that Ariana has moved around a lot, both throughout Brazil and the world.  Like many Brazilians started work at an early age, helping her mother with her house-cleaning business.  But it was her dream to become an airline pilot, a dream that seemed impossible, but Ariana started to go in that direction step by step, and eventually worked as a flight attendant for a Brazilian airline...and from here a new world of possibility opened up. But it was only after working in New Zealand that she decided that she didn't want to return to Brazil but instead make a new life abroad.
April 1, 2021
Anna from Finland : From a land of singing and saunas
When Anna and her husband visited Tasmania for a short holiday several years ago, they had not imagined they would be coming back to live, but a year later Anna's husband was offered a job at the University of Tasmania and they decided to come and give it a go.   Although the cultural transition has not been too massive, there have been some noteable cultural differences to adjust to, especially in the style of communication.  Anna grew up in a small place in Finland and went to a primary school with barely 20 students in total.  She developed a love of music, especially for playing the violin and through this she has connected into the local musical community in Hobart and plays in a local orchestra.   
March 22, 2021
Jaewon from South Korea : Making art and Korean pancakes in Launceston
Jaewon first came to Australia as a student, looking to improve her English in Melbourne, but in the process met the man she was to marry and they lived in the Middle East and South Korea before her husband got a job in Launceston, a place Jaewon knew nothing about beforehand. Having young children though has helped get to know people in the local community and build a social network, but Jaewon had to adjust to being a full-time mum for the first time in Launceston. Eventually, she had the idea to start a food stall with a friend making Korean pancakes, and 5 years on they have a regular stall at the Launceston Harvest Market and other markets around Launceston. Moving the Launceston has also given Jaewon the opportunity to follow a passion from childhood of having a little studio to paint.  
March 20, 2021
Melika from Iran : Even Covid-19 can't break a love affair with Tasmania
Melika and her husband came to Tasmania in what proved to be the most challenging time imaginable - 3 weeks before Covid-19 hit Australia fully and the international and state borders were slammed shut.  Neither of them had a job and wear very worried that finding work was going to be very challenging. Things worked out for Melika, finding work within a month, but were much more challenging for her husband, who after many months of trying without success, eventually got an IT job in Adelaide. Melika, who is from Tehran, is a qualified architect, a job she dreamed of doing from a young age. She had wanted to emigrate, though her husband was reluctant, but when researching Tasmania and seeing pictures online she fell in love with the place and persuaded her husband that they had to come her and give it a go.  In the mean time, as you will here, Melika has embraced the beauty of Tasmania's nature, becoming something of a "tree-hugger".    Iran is a country about which many Australians have misconceptions, and you can hardly blame them with regularly negative news about Iran in the media.  With a growing Iranian population in Tasmania, it's important to know that there are a lot more sides to Iran, it's people and it's ancient culture. Though Melika's is but one of many many stories, I hope that it will make people see that there is another side to Iran and one should always question one's preconceived ideas about a place and its people.
February 14, 2021
Arman from Bangladesh : From broken dreams to new opportunities
Arman was brought up in a fairly small, rural area of Bangladesh, but was sent to school at a competitive cadet college ( a kind of boarding school) at 12 years of age, surrounded by ambitious high achievers.  Arman has set his sights on getting into the army, but when his efforts failed his self confidence, sky high until that point, took a  hard hit. Being forced to taste failure for the first time though ultimately lead to a new path as his mother applied for him to study Business at the University of Tasmania, where he started study just over 5 years ago.  With few other Bangladeshi students around, Arman had to get outside his comfort zone, learning to apply for a casual job for the first time in his life and volunteering at multiple organisations.   Arman also talks about the social and family pressures in Bangladesh culture versus the more easygoing style that he appreciates in Australia. 
February 12, 2021
Eri : Dancing a non-traditional path out of traditional Japan
Eri comes from the old Japanese capital of Nara - a small peaceful city which could represent a picture postcard of traditional Japan. But the path Eri has followed has been anything but traditional and has brought her to Tasmania via Germany, England and India.   Eri was always interested in dance, but only learnt of the field of dance psychotherapy while living and working in Germany and this later lead to study in London. Eri had from a young age become fascinated by other cultures and ways of life outside her own, and after 2 years England she decided she wanted to really get out of her comfort zone and travelled to India, following again her passion for dance.  She later came to Australia to work and earn enough money to return to India. But fate took a different turn and she ended up coming to Tasmania and meeting her future husband, who she now lives with in Hobart. Photo credit : Yuko Masuda
January 31, 2021
Helena from Czechia : Small twist of fate and a life changed forever
Helena and her husband were living an idyllic lifestyle breeding horses in rural Czechoslovakia and looking forward to buying a rustic old property to set up their own horse-breeding farm, when a fatal accident triggered a series of events that would change the course of their lives and lead them to Tasmania.  After their manager was killed in a car accident, his replacement, an ardent Communist party member, did not approve of their activities and their chances of getting their property disappeared.  Later, as they had some success breeding horses, they attracted the attention of local Communist members who tried to coerce them into joining the party, this soon lead to regular harrassment and ultimately the decision to get out.. a decision which could mean never seeing their homeland again.   It was no easy job to get out of the country even for a holiday, but Helena had an aunt and uncle in Tasmania and they decided they would try and migrate there in the mid-1980s. After some dramatic moments escaping Czechoslovakia and Europe, Helena, her husband and two boys , ended up in Tasmania. But with little English and few job prospects, it was tough to adjust at first.  However, like many migrants, Helena persisted through adversity and has had several interesting careers in the meantime. It's a story full of both light and shade with a healthy bit of humour too...and some interesting experiences of cultural differences, including on her return to Czechia. 
January 13, 2021
Olga and Yuri : Getting out of Russia and finding freedom
The Cold War and the Soviet era can feel like ancient history for some people, but for Olga and Yuri the oppresson of Soviet Russia is still part of their lived experience.   After  being involved in political activities in Russia, they were subject to threats from the KGB, job loss and imprisonment, and then experienced a wait of many years to get out of Russia and discover the West.   They eventually chose Australia to migrate to in the 1980s before moving to Tasmania in the late 1990s. They brought with them 3 children, who have stayed and settled in Tasmania as well. Olga has written a book about her family's experience of living in and esaping Soviet Russia, titled "Let Me Out Of Russia"
December 15, 2020
German : A Venezuelan chef with a passion for travel
German left Venezuela 5 years ago, before the economic, social and political situation seriously deteriorated. His reasons for leaving were more related to a love of travel than the situation in the country that has caused many Venezuelans to leave in the past few years. After some time in the USA, German was thinking to go to South Africa where he new people, but his girlfriend persuaded him to follow her to Brisbane, Australia around 4 years ago, where he studied English and then Cookery. After breaking up with his girlfriend, he decided to make a new start in Tasmania, a place he didn't know a lot about but he was able to continue his studies here and got a job in a kitchen a month after arriving. 
December 1, 2020
Catherine from France : Putting down roots in Cygnet
The township of Cygnet and the Huon region in which it lies were both named by French explorers in the 18th century, so it seems an appropriate place for a Frenchwoman to have settled down in.  Catherine moved here 9 years ago with her husband and the area bears many similar features in common with her birthplace in Normandy - the apple orchards and cider, the cows in green paddocks and even the bird sounds all reminded her of her childhood.   Although she has lived in Australia since the 90s and Tasmania for 9 years, at first she was shocked by some of the cultural differences such as seeing women drinking cold beer directly out of a bottle - not the done thing in sophisticated France at all.  After a tumultuous youth growing up with the backdrop of the French Algerian war which sparked disturbances in Paris,  Catherine developed a sense of responsibility early in life as well as what was to prove a lifelong devotion to yoga, Many years later, her Australian husband, Bob, would credit the yoga for her surviving a dangerous brush with cancer, an experience which Catherine describes in more detail in this episode. Catherine also talks about her Moroccan roots through her father's line and her grandfather and father's role in French Resistance during the Second World War and how this impacted her father's life in Paris afterwards.  
November 14, 2020
Nicolas : Born in Palestine brought up in Chile and finding a new home in Tasmania
Nicolas was born in a small majority Christian town in Palestine, but when he was 2 his family left for Chile, where they had long-standing family connections. In fact, migration from Palestine to Chile has a history going back to the 1920s.    Although the family settled with in Santiago,  Nicolas never felt like it was quite home, and as an adult returned to Palestine to reunite with family and to work.   But it didn't quite work out as expected and Nicolas headed back to Chile to work in the family's restaurant business.   From talking to an uncle who lived there, Nicolas decided to try his luck in Australia, eventually studying engineering in Tasmania. 
November 6, 2020
Boyd from Zimbabwe : Leaving the past behind and making a new home
When Boyd arrived in Australia with his family at 18 years old, his father's first act, perhaps a symbolic one, was to take the family out for a seafood lunch and told his children that Zimbabwe was where they were brought up, but if anyone asked to say "Australia is my home now".   Advice Boyd credits with helping him settle down in the new country much quicker.   Years later he returned to Zimbabwe with his father and heard for the first time about some of his father's experiences as a soldier in the war leading up to independence in 1980, experiences which had long-term impacts on his father ( as with many veterans of armed conflicts). 
October 15, 2020
Dona : Growing up in a small village in the Philippines, and finding a new life in Tassie
Dona grew up in small village in the Philippines where just getting to school required  deep commitment - literally, as kids had to cross a river with no bridge to get to their primary school.   Dona had a strict religious upbringing, but broke family traditions and expectations by not marrying a pastor, rather she found love online with a man in Tasmania.  15 years ago, she came to Tasmania knowing nothing about life here, in fact before she came she had confused it with Tanzania !  Despite a disappointing lack of big shopping malls, Dona has learnt to love bushwalking  and nature and does volunteer work helping to support new arrivals through food,  and has initiated a charity to help young footballers in the Philippines with the help of local Tasmanian soccer clubs. 
October 13, 2020
Paola from Argentina : Finding a sense of belonging in country Tasmania
When Paola left Argentina for the first time having just finished uni studies, she never expected she would have ended up at the bottom of the world in southern Tasmania.   The plan had actually been to backpack around Europe and go back to Argentina,  but a 500 km walk on the Camino in Spain with an Aussie guy she met travelling lead to a kind of spiritual awakening, falling in love and then moving to Australia.  Just over two years ago her and her husband made the decision to trade a successful life in Sydney and move the family to a country property just outside the township of Cygnet, a 50 minute drive south of Hobart, a decision which has exceeded her expectations in many ways.    
October 9, 2020
Elaine : An American in Tasmania
Elaine arrived in Tasmania in 2013, when her husband got a position in the Philosophy Department at the University of Tasmania. Originating from a small town in the "Rust Belt" state of  Ohio, she came via Melbourne ( 19 years ) and London, looking for a change and a place to concentrate on her writing. Americans now make up Tasmania's 7th largest migrant group,  and it's a group that has been growing,  according to the last census. As a long-term resident of Australia/Tasmania , Elaine has some interesting reflections on some of the cultural differences between Australia and the US and also about how living abroad so long has changed the outlook she has of her country of birth.   Also, despite not being a particularly sporty person, she has developed a passion for Aussie Rules football ( You'll have to listen to find out what team she supports), particularly the women's pro league.
October 7, 2020
Carlos from Peru : A lesson in persistence in battling language barriers, disability and more in a foreign country
After Carlos's mother remarried and relocated from Peru to Tasmania in 1972, 12-year-old Carlos was meant to follow. His visa application was rejected and Carlos was left in the care of his elderly grandmother who was too old to look after him properly.   Carlos, though a victim of polio at an early age had made him lame, lived a privileged early life, but left to educate himself through his high school years, life was tough in Peru.   His parents had stressed to him the importance of getting an education should he make it to Australia, but it wasn't until 1984 that he was able to visit them on a tourist visa and after many trials was able to get residence.    Although initially he did not like Hobart - he spoke no English and there were almost no Spanish speakers,  he would eventually go on to study art in Hobart and become an accomplished wood artist. Carlos's is a great story of resilience and persistence and a strong pride in his Peruvian heritage
October 4, 2020
Carlos from Colombia : Finding a safe place in Tasmania
Like many other recent migrants, Carlos was drawn to Tasmania by the regional migration programme, after spending a year in Melbourne.  He and his wife had decided to leave Colombia 4 years ago to seek a safer and more secure life in Australia.    Carlos bought with him much experience working in social projects in Bogota,  but with few employment opportunities in Tasmania, he ended up working in an apple orchard and doing cleaning at the university.  However, through persistence he managed to get an opportunity work in a job that he now loves with the Red Cross. Although Tasmania seemed a bit too quiet for him at first and the lack of variety you might get in a large city is something he misses,  coming from Colombia he appreciates living in a safe and secure environment above all. 
October 4, 2020
Grace from Vietnam : A musical accountant with an adventurous spirit
Grace Nguyen, or to give her her Vietnamese name, Ngoc Thanh Tu Nguyen, is not perhaps your typical Vietnamese accounting graduate.  She came to Tasmania 8 years ago with some music and business studies in Ho Chi Minh City behind her.   In her time in Tasmania she's been a volunteer for the Wilderness Society, sang with the Southern Gospel Choir, played a role in a music with a local theatre company and even tried her hand at pole dancing classes , and that's on top of having studied a three-year degree in a language that she really struggled with on first arrival. Grace also offers some great advice on one of the toughest issues facing new migrants to Tasmania - how to tap into the "hidden" jobs market.
September 5, 2020
Claudia : How an unlikely holiday romance brought a Swiss village girl so far from home
When Claudia contacted me about participating in the podcast she told me she met her husband after buying a used car from him in Tasmania almost 20 years ago, and I was instantly intrigued. In fact the full story could easily come out of a romance novel -  Girl from a village in the Swiss Alps with minimal English language meets New Zealand single father after buying used car from him on Bruny Island and they end up getting married.    Claudia grew up in an area of Switzerland often refered to as "Heidi land", after the well know childrens books, in a small village full of traditions and rituals and a strong sense of community, something she also found in Tasmania.  Like many migrants, setting up life in Tasmania meant in many ways starting afresh, with her teachers qualifications not recognised in Tassie at the time. 
September 2, 2020
Kalana : A Sri Lankan finding peace and purpose in Tasmania
When Kalana came to Tasmania in October 2019, he was 110kg and feeling a bit lost  after four not-entirely-happy years studying and working in Melbourne.  But in his short time in Hobart he has experienced some dramatic improvements in his physical and mental well-being, mainly through small things that many of us locals would take for granted, such as free music events and many places to relax.   Kalana grew up in Colombo with his mother and two sisters and the family struggled in his young years, moving house many times.  But everyone around them struggled too, so he did not feel it so much.   When he moved to study in Melbourne it was the first time he'd lived a way from his familt, a bit step for a young man.   In Melbourne he got a job at a motel and eventually he realised that he preferred hospitality to accountancy...a choice that was costly in the short term but contributed to his choice of Tasmania as a destination.
August 31, 2020
Teodor : Escaping Communism in Romania and finding "A Luminous Future" on the other side of the world.
The story of Teodor Flonta's life could easily make an intriguing film script, beginning in a small Transylvanian peasant village surrounded by extended family and old men with moustaches who would fascinate him with their ghost stories.  When he was young his father declared an "enemy of the people" by the communist regime and throughout the 50s was arrested, imprisoned and tormented.  With an aptitude for languages, it seemed Teodor was destined to leave Romania and eventually did after meeting his future Italian wife, Ariella. After 7 years in Italy they moved to Australia to teach Italian in Adelaide. Teodor arrived in 1978 with no English but by the 80s was running the Italian department at the University of Tasmania. As Teodor has had a long and eventful life, this episode is longer and divided into three chapters. Part 1  will give you a real feel of peasant life in the Romanian village, but also understand the personal impact of the communist dictatorship that ruled Romania on peoples' lives. Part 2 focuses on how his interest and aptitude for languages was the first step in a journey out of Romania, meeting his Italian wife Ariella.  The third part is how he came to Australia and then settle down in Tasmania as a lecturer in Italian. In many ways it's a personal story of particular place and time, but it also touches on universal themes that continue to effect new arrivals to our shores fleeing repressive regimes and political or personal persecution. Teodor also reads several passages from his book, "A Luminous Future" , which focuses on the experiences of his father in Communist Romania.
August 5, 2020
Prakash : Pride in Nepal but at home in Tasmania
Prakash arrived in Hobart in 2009 with his wife with the intention to study Accounting, however, after only 6 months he switched to studying Commercial Cookery, though he had no prior experience. It proved a fortuitous joint as it lead to him eventually getting a position at a popular local seafood restaurant where he has now worked for 10 years , in the meantime being initiated into the mysteries of Aussie slang and occasional pranking by workmates.   Prakash is a proud member of the growing Nepali community, now one of the largest  and fastest-growing in the state and has been heavily involved in the Nepali-community based cricket team the Gurkha Legends, for which he has big dreams.    
July 25, 2020
Ruth : Fleeing persecution in Eritrea, finding safety in Tasmania
A common response when I've mentioned Eritrea is "Where is that?" or "I've never heard of that country".  Eritrea is a country on the Horn of Africa, bordering Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti, which gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. Since then it has been a one-party state with, according to Human Rights Watch, one of the worst human right records in the world.  As a result, many Eritreans have fled the country to escape persecution or the country's compulsory and indefinite military service.  In recent years, more and more Eritreans have settled in Tasmania, with the community now estimated in the hundreds. Ruth ( not her real name ) agreed to talk with me about her story of escaping Eritrea to an refugee camp in Ethiopia and sharing some of her experiences of settling down in Tasmania in the last 3 years.   I hope that Ruth's story will help others appreciate the difficult realities many refugees face once they have fled their country and appreciate better what to us are unthinkable conditions that drive people to flee their home.
July 24, 2020
Tabish : Finding similarities between Pakistan and Tasmania
The Pakistani community in Tasmania is one of several South Asian groups that has grown quite noticeably in recent years, partly driven by the Australian Government's Regional visa program.  Many Tasmanians would be unaware of this.... unless they are involved with local cricket, which is where I met Tabish, a big hittting batsman from Islamabad.   Tabish spent 9 years in Sydney before moving to Hobart with his wife and two girls. a year and a half ago and now says he is in love with Tasmania, with many aspects of life here reminding him of Pakistan.  
July 17, 2020
Thanatcha from Thailand - Passion for teaching piano from Pattaya to Launceston
Thanatcha  aka Oil arrived in Launceston just under two years ago after meeting her Australian husband at an international school where she was working in her hometown of Pattaya.  She starting teaching piano when she was only 15 and now teaches it from her home in Launceston.    Thanatcha talks about the challenges of settling down in Launceston, a town vastly different from where she came from, how she''s learnt to adapt to local culture and the value to migrants of understanding "footy" for getting to know locals. 
July 13, 2020
Gergana : Bringing music from Bulgaria to Tasmania
Bulgarians are probably the least represented of the Balkan peoples in Tasmania and Australia. For many in Australia, Bulgaria is a land of dark mystery more commonly associated with burly Olympic weightlifters than classical concert pianists.  .  In this episode,  find out about how a Bulgarian ends up studying at "the end of the world" and how she sees life in Tasmania and hear about a unique and rather surprising Bulgarian custom. Music extracts played by Gergana Yildiz from "Spring Caprices" by Lubomir Pipkov.
July 9, 2020
Eddie - From Tanzania to Tasmania
After living the first 32 years of his life on the island of Zanzibar in Tanzania, Eddie Mohammed married a Tasmanian lady and made the decision to leave his old life behind and start anew on the vastly different island of Tasmania.  Settling in was hard,  with the challenges including the weather, finding employment ,adjusting to unfamiliar social customs and no African population to speak of all facing him.  A chance meeting led Eddie to joining a local soccer club and sport proved to be his pathway to feeling more at home - he got work and a social network. Eddie now coaches youth soccer and has coached and mentored young African migrants, and his influence has often extended beyond the soccer pitch.
July 1, 2020
Aidan Tkay - Born and bred in Uganda, but roots in Rwanda
Aidan Tkay  was born in Uganda to parents of Rwandan heritage.   He grew up in the crowded city of Kampala at a school with many different African nationalities whose families had sought safe haven in Uganda,   In his teens he became passionate about music and performance and he has brought this passion to Tasmania and has performed his Afrobeats-influenced music at numerous local events.  A trained social worker, he went from working for NGOs in refugee camps in central Africa to now working in disability services in Hobart.   You can hear some of his music here -
June 20, 2020
Kadir from Turkey : Starting from scratch in Tassie
Kadir was born in a small city between Ankara and Cappadocia in Turkey.  He arrived in Hobart 19 years ago, the hometown of his wife at the time., who he had met while they were both volunteering in England.  Kadir was a qualified physiotherapist, but faced a hard struggle to get his qualifications recognised and like many new migrants, he had to start life all over again.  After years of study and then jobs in restaurants and a bakery, Kadir got a position as an interpreter at Centrelink, where he still works.    I talked to Kadir about his experiences as a migrant from Turkey to Tasmania, the challenges and the cultural contrasts that he has observed. 
June 19, 2020