Hi Lost in Australia,
I was born in a small community here in rural Australia. My parents were not from that region, so my sisters and I were not treated like locals. Most of the kids at school had families going back 5 generations in that region.
Now many years later, my husband and I have moved from the city to a small country town. We had an incident with a neighbour. She told us that she was born here so what she says counts. Oh dear. I thought to myself, nothing has changed.
I am a Christian, so I joined one of the local Churches. Even there I sometimes feel like I don't fit in. The strange thing is that my Mum's ancestors arrived in this region in the 1860's. Many are buried in the local cemeteries. I have looked up in a family history book and found I am actually distantly related to some of the people I have met here.
So what I am getting at, it doesn't have to matter if you are a local or from overseas, some people are just not going to welcome you in no matter what.
For me, I have learnt that it doesn't matter if I do not become great friends with people. I am part of a group who meets every week. Some times I feel like part of that group, sometimes not at all. I am learning to just make the most out of the time I have there.
Regarding volunteering, I have just signed up to help with the "Riding for the disabled" in our area. I don't know anything about horses, only that the last one I stood next to bit me on the arm. It is another opportunity to be with people and with animals.
The local council may have a whole range of volunteer options listed for your region.
My suggestion is that you make the most of the opportunities that come your way at all the social happenings you attend. Could you ask work mates if they want to go tot he movies or out for a coffee?
I joined a walking group last week. I know one of the ladies there. I ended up talking with different ladies. We won't become best mates probably, but at least I had people to talk with.
Check out the Social Zone here as well. It is not the same as chatting face to face with people, but you will get to interact with other people.
Like Paul mentioned, you are more than welcome to chat here.
If you have any Aussie slang you don't understand, we might be able to help you with that as well. Ha. Ha.
Cheerio for now from Mrs. Dools