I belong here

“I first dreamed about moving away from Peru at around ten years old. Like many others, I was fascinated with the idea of studying abroad. New York was always my first choice, but as I grew up, I became aware of the living expenses, which was the end of it. Australia wasn’t really on my map, but it checked all the boxes when I finished my research. My application to UTS was smoothly processed, and I landed here in July 2005. 

I loved the new chapter of my life, but I had still not decided if it would be a permanent stay. Until one day, I was sitting outside the magnificent Sydney Opera House and having my homemade Tuna Sandwich, and it hit me: I belong here, and I don’t want to change a bit of it. Moving to Australia allowed me to reinvent myself with my own set of rules, but I hadn’t anticipated that a new place also equals new challenges. 

Coming from a privileged background, I figured life in Australia would be easy since I came with tertiary education and a high level of English. I didn’t know what a journey it would be! As I finished my master’s in Sydney, I shifted to Adelaide overnight as part of the permanent residence process. Unfortunately, the Global Financial Crisis hit, and I lost my stable job. I had to begin from scratch again. I found an admin office role, but the pay didn’t cover my living expenses and student loan fees. So, I also had to pick up a cleaning job during the afternoons. Little did I know that it was in the same building where I’d do my day job. I would arrive at 8am wearing my formal suit, high heels, and by 5pm, I would switch to track pants and start cleaning. I was exhausted, but I realised that I could change the course of my story if I worked hard, and so I did. 

The day I received my Citizenship was much more emotional than I ever expected. I went to do my Citizenship test and got the results immediately. I was given the choice to go for an Express Ceremony, and bam! 15 mins later, I was a true blue fair dinkum Aussie!

Australia has been a humbling experience. It taught me how not to fear the unknown and trust the journey wholeheartedly. Because the universe has a funny way of letting you know what you need and not necessarily what you think you want.”