Naji and Erica Rizk
Originally from Lebanon, Erica and Naji Rizk of The Rustic Fig Cafe say Adelaide’s secret charm and idyllic lifestyle won them over.
After deciding to make the big move to Australia from the bustling lifestyle of Lebanon, Erica, Naji and their two teenage children had only the city to decide on. While considering Hobart, Brisbane and Perth initially, they say they were drawn to Adelaide’s appealing lifestyle – an unexpected but welcome surprise.
“We didn’t want the hustle, bustle and drama of Lebanon and were looking to relocate,” says Naji. “We knew we wanted to come to Australia but were not sure where exactly.”
He and Erica say it was a suggestion from a migration agent (namely, Hannibal Khoury – Thames Migration) that led them to Adelaide.
“We could see it would provide the lifestyle change we were wanting for us and our children,” Erica says.
While many of their friends had already settled in Brisbane and Perth, the family made the bold move to call Adelaide home – a surprise to many of their family and friends. But the move has paid off for the family, settling into their new life happily, and with some exciting changes too.
“While we don’t have any family here in Adelaide, we are happy with the lifestyle the city has offered us,” Erica says. “Our kids are now in year 10 and 12 in high school and have really settled in. We are involved in our local church and have had so much support from everyone we have crossed paths with. The community is very welcoming.”
Not only has school proved a seamless transition for the kids, but so too have extra-curricular activities. Their son has joined a local soccer club while their daughter has immersed herself in charity work as an ambassador with the Australian Refugee Association.
But it’s not just the kids’ lives that have been through a transition. The Rizks have also embarked on another enormous journey with their move – starting their very own business.
Now the proud owners of Erindale cafe The Rustic Fig Cafe, Erica and Naji say that the assistance provided by Immigration SA really helped to facilitate their dream. After attending an information session run by Immigration SA, the pair were inspired by guest speakers to embark on their own business journey. Business advisors from the Business Enterprise team at Adelaide City Council further encouraged the couple, offering advice and support in beginning their new cafe.
Now employing two further staff, the bustling cafe provides the ultimate career and lifestyle change for the Rizks, and they’ve never looked back. With a focus on Lebanese street food, utilising local Adelaide Central Market ingredients, the business has also been a way for the family to maintain and share their culture in their new Adelaide home.
“It is very easy for any nationality to retain their identity here in Adelaide,” says Erica. “If you are looking to migrate to another country you need to have an adventurous spirit, but coming to Adelaide has just been wonderful. There is always someone wanting to help you. People are very generous and want to help you succeed, and they are not out to get you. The experience for us was so easy.”
While they would recommend the move, they say they don’t want too many people to know about their new hidden gem of a home.
“We feel that Adelaide chose us!” Erica laughs. “We love that nobody knows about how wonderful it is yet. We want to keep it a secret!”
|Who: Erica and Naji Rizk
|Visa Category: General Skilled Migration
|What do you love about Adelaide? “We are living in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide and love it. It is so safe, clean and relaxed. We don’t have to worry about the safety of the children. The produce available at Adelaide Central market is fantastic. Naji likes to go there early in the mornings a couple of times a week and pick supplies for the café.”
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The story originally featured http://www.migration.sa.gov.au/resources/celebrating-20-years