Visa - granted!
Well, four months after I accepted the job, my visa has been granted. In a few weeks I will be heading to Perth, WA, for a three-year post as an astronomer. It's the first time I've worked away from where I grew up so it's going to be a big change, but hopefully an exciting adventure and I'm hoping to learn a lot while I'm there.
My job involves researching the nature of starburst galaxies - galaxies which for one reason or another have undergone a widespread and rapid burst of star formation - as well as working on the development of the Square Kilometre Array, a new telescope which is to be built either in South Africa or Western Australia. I'm also going to be involved with public outreach there, participating in the "indigenous astronomy" project as part of the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.
I love astronomy (in case it wasn't obvious), and I've always known that I'd have to move overseas at some point if I persued it as a career, but now that I've actually reached that point I'm really nervous about it! I'm going there on my own, leaving behind a lot of close family and friends, as well as my boyfriend. It's going to take some time to get used to being so far away.