“The sun rises everyday, everyday I follow the sun! “
Can you present yourself (name, nationality, age)?
Serena, Italian, 26 years old.
What were your motivations to change your life and come to the other side of the world? Why did you feel attracted to Australia?
It was a dream since I was 15. My dream was to live in Australia and to travel around in a van. I felt absolutely attracted to the wildness and vastness of this country, qualities that make Australia so unique. I was also motivated by the opportunity to grow and to be independent, (which I still am today), without depending on anyone, especially not family.
What were your biggest fears about coming here and how did you overcome those fears?
Believe it or not, I didn’t have any fears. My biggest fear was to get stuck in my country and never live my dream.
What were your first impressions about the Australian way of life?
Very cool. I first arrived in Byron Bay and noticed that everyone goes surfing after work, sometimes even before work. If you live along the coast (and if the water is accessible) more than likely you would experience this kind of lifestyle. In cities like Sydney, the lifestyle can be a little bit faster.
What are the main differences between your home country and Australia? What really surprised you in Australia? What did you not expect?
The simplicity of the lifestyle: walking barefoot in the shops, going to the beach and taking it easy :-). On the other hand, I did not expect that the traditional Aboriginal culture has almost been completely lost.
Can you describe your experience in Australia in three words?
Courage: the courage of taking actions and not thinking too much. When I saw an opportunity, I took it.
Intensity: I worked very, very hard and I kept focusing on my goal: that is how I succeeded in my Australian adventure.
Daydreaming: even when sometimes things turned hard, I kept imagining myself at the end of the tunnel, being an Australian resident – and soon a citizen.
Can you describe a typical day in your new Australian life?
I don’t really have a typical day. I mean every now and then I change my routine, but at the moment I wake up in the morning and take my time. I start making my coffee while I am surrounded by the beautiful sound of native Australian animals, the garden outside is pretty big and tropical.
I get ready to go to work but I don’t start until 9.30… pretty late, I like my sleep-in. Once I walk into my workplace, those cute little kids start screaming, or making various other noises – (as they don’t speak yet)- and come to me for cuddles. What at horrible start to a work day – I love it! The day usually goes pretty smoothly (if I am lucky enough), and once I finish my shift, I go swimming or join a group of friends and play capoeira or go for a walk with my friend and her dog.
The ocean in Darwin is inaccessible for swimming even though some crazy people (in my opinion) go surfing when the waves are high, despite the presence of saltwater crocodiles.
What is the one thing that you did in Australia that you feel the proudest of?
Basically, it is “to keep dreaming”. It may sound a bit cheesy, but honestly, I think that it is the thing that I am the proudest of. So many people are obsessed with careers and qualifications and they forget to dream… or they have no time for it anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I am very ambitious and next year I am going back to university to up-skill myself… but I am a dreamer first!
What did you do here that you would never have done in your home country?
Learn and speak different languages. Having friends from all around the world has “expanded my horizons”. Here, in Australia, it is like the “paese dei balocchi” from the Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio, but in the good way. It is the land of opportunities.
I never thought about child-care before. I now love it! Here you are never too old to study, you can change your career any time. Travelling is “a religion”; people travel anytime and having children does not prevent them from travelling. It is a country pretty much oriented towards outside activities… an outdoors lifestyle apart from the wet season in Darwin.
How has your Australian experience made you a better person?
I have always been a good person. I am wiser, I have more patience, I APPRECIATE the world much more because I have met people from everywhere, and so I have lived virtually in many others places by listening to people’s different experiences and understanding different cultures…and I am definitely more responsible!
What would you take from the Australian way of life to your home country?
What are your next goals in Australia?
- Apply for my Australian citizenship
- Work for three months in Fitzroy Crossing, which is an Aboriginal community in Western Australia
- Apply to study at university
- Keep travelling in a van and see the WA coast
What do you want to achieve before going back home?
I am not going back home.
Why did you need GO STUDY?
I was very young with no travel experience.
What made you choose GO STUDY?
I attended an expo in Milan in 2010 and GO STUDY had just opened their office in Milan under the management of Jacopo Corona. When I met the people involved with GO STUDY, I understood that they were working with passion and professionalism – what a great mix. When I did my application through them, it confirmed my first impression.
How did GO STUDY add value in your Australian experience?
I had great help from GO STUDY in Milan and Sydney. They were honest and ready to help me at any time. When I chose my course for my student visa, I initially thought about doing a Diploma in Tourism, but Jacopo instead suggested that I study child-care. Back then I had no idea about what would have given me more job opportunities – I have no doubts now!
During my studies, the Government changed the law and the diploma was going to take two years, even though we were all enrolled for a one year diploma course (plus six months for Cert 3) . The high risk was to extend our student visa and so spending more money on the visa extension (they are very expensive), and on the school fees as the course would have been longer.
However, GO STUDY , suggested that all of us stay with MEGT, because it is a great school with a great reputation and great people working behind it, such as teacher Barbara Galati, who also designs the assessments and curriculum. To cut the story short, I stayed at MEGT and the school negotiated a special agreement with the Government that allowed me to finish the diploma in one year. Some of the students that changed school struggled to find a job.
I went home for a holiday at Christmas 2014 and had to apply for a new passport as, somehow, it demagnetised. Once again, Jacopo helped me because I had some trouble linking my new passport and my student visa.
That is what I mean by passion and professionalism.
What did you want to achieve through your studies in Australia?
I wanted to feel accomplished in my career as well as develop fluency in English.
Which program did you choose to reach your goals?
Diploma in Child Care or Early Childhood.
Can you describe a regular day at school?
School started at 8, lunch was at 12 and it finished at 4. Every day was full on as half of the learning happened in class. We were often engaged in beautiful creative activities, such as making drums, creating felt boards etc. I had so much fun and I have also used everything that I learned during my course in my professional work.
How did your studies make a difference in your Australian journey?
It made all the difference. First of all, having an Australian qualification allowed me to get into the work world and, most importantly, to get sponsored!
What is your life motto or your favourite quote?
“Hakuna Matata” and “Think outside the box”.
What advice would you give to people who want to go to Australia?
If you only think about Australia, just stop everything and come. Less thinking – more actions.