Durham, North Carolina native Malik Dixon has lived abroad since 2003. He started in Japan, moved to Qatar and the U.K. before settling in Sydney, Australia 12 years ago.
After spending time in Qatar as a teacher, he decided that Sydney was the best place to complete his Master’s degree. Since then, he has found love and started a family. He and his wife are now raising their 2-year old daughter in Sydney and the couple feels it is the best place to do so at the moment.
“My wife is Jamaican but was born in New Zealand and grew up in Australia so we have a support system here,” Malik told Travel Noire. “The quality of life is also amazing. I have been in Australia for a while now so we are settled and content in this region. It just felt like the natural thing to do.”
Sydney is a diverse city with lots of state-of-the-art parks and playgrounds, which are perfect for their young daughter. In addition, the area has stunning beaches, harbors, and world-class landmarks that they can visit together as a family.
Another attraction for Malik and his wife, was the work-life balance.
“People don’t work themselves to death here. Everyone is entitled to 4 weeks a year of paid time off, in addition to 10 paid sick days.”
When his wife became pregnant she was given 12 months of maternity leave, and 4 of those months were paid by the government. Australians believe in a family first mentality.
Safety was another factor for the couple’s choice to remain abroad.
“There are things that I had to worry about growing up that my daughter will never ever be exposed to. I will never be fearful that she may be killed by a gun simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or that her life might be in danger when getting pulled over by the police. That’s not to say that Australia is some kind of Utopia. In fact, to its indigenous population, it’s the complete opposite. Like all colonized countries, Australia has a dark and shameful history when it comes to the treatment of its First Nations people and while things have improved, there is still a wide gap that needs to be closed.”
Although he is far away from his family in North Carolina, Malik makes sure his daughter is well connected to her family back in the U.S. They utilize technology so that she can bond with her paternal grandmother and aunt, and understand her roots from both sides. He even hopes that she will one day attend his alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University.
The couple travels to New Zealand often, his wife’s birth country, and would consider moving there if they ever left Sydney. He describes it as their second home noting that New Zealand’s landscape is even more beautiful than Australia’s.
We asked Malik to offer some advice to other parents considering raising young children abroad, here’s what he said:
“The best advice I have is to make sure your children are socialized with Black American and/or Black people in general. There is so much technology out here today there is no excuse for your children to grow up without that beautiful experience. We are lucky to have a community of African Americans in Sydney and my wife is part of a Black mothers group, so my daughter is always exposed which I’m thankful for. My daughter will always have a connection with America though. I plan to take her to homecomings, the local Masjid, football games and tailgates. She will always know where she came from. I’ll also do my own teaching so she knows all about her our culture and people.”
To catch more of Malik and his family, you can find him on Instagram at @thatdudemalik.