Over the last few years, Shane Masters has tried three times to come home.
Past attempts have been thwarted by a lack of job opportunities which matched his background and experience. When he first left home for overseas after university, it was easier to get a job as a lawyer in London than it was at home. Then it became easier to stay overseas because that was where the demand for his experience in Ag Tech came from rather than a job in Australia where, as he was once told, despite his many years of international experience and new MBA, he would have start from the bottom. Again.
Shane finally cracked the code to returning home in 2020 after proactively building networks in Australia while overseas. With the job opportunity and family sorted – you could think it was finally plain sailing for Shane.
Until you added COVID into the mix.
It took Shane and his family five months, countless cancelled trips, $52,000 worth of booked flights and a nervous drive to Belgium from France (to avoid a train strike) to finally arrive back in Adelaide in August 2020.
The six-month ordeal put enormous additional stress on Shane, particularly when he returned home to hear the unsympathetic chorus of some Australians who thought ‘all expats could have come back when the Government told them to…’
If only it was that easy.
Shane has been long aware of the challenges to mental health being both an expat and repat can bring. He founded the ‘Australia Day Games’ when he was living in Sweden to provide a supportive network for Australians living away from home. Now back in Adelaide, he is also acutely aware of the mental health challenges returned expats are facing, particularly in the face of COVID.
He’s even thinking of bringing the Australia Day Games….to Australia. So get your inflatable sharks ready, Shane and his throwing competition could be coming to a town near you.