TAMARA: “IT WAS ONLY FOR A YEAR BUT IN THE END I DECIDED TO STAY A LITTLE LONGER”

Hello everyone! First of all I’ll introduce myself, my name is Tamara and I was born in Galicia 28 years ago in a city called Vigo. In the last 5 years I have been working as a mountain guide in the Pyrenees of Huesca and the truth is that it would be impossible to have better office views. There is nothing that relaxes me more than nature and the sea. I have always been told that I have too many birds in my head or that I am basically crazy to risk being happy and never settle, but I don’t know any other way to live. And here I am, living for more than a year on the other side of the world fulfilling one of my dreams and exceeding any expectations that I could have had.

How long have you lived in Australia?

I arrived in Gold Coast on the 3rd September 2019, in principle it was only for one year but in the end I decided to stay a little longer. Will I return? I honestly don’t know, but what is clear is that a part of me will always stay here with all the wonderful people I have met during this time.

Why Australia?

Because it has always been one of my favourite destinations to visit for its lifestyle, its nature, and its infinite beaches. Being so big you have many options to enjoy and never get bored because it is impossible to see everything, even in several years.
My main goal was to learn English and to travel as much as possible. With English I started at the Elementary level and finished after a year at the Advanced level, so I am very proud and happy to have achieved that goal even though I know that I still have a long way to go to continue learning.
And on the matter of travelling, so far I have been able to go to Cairns, Fraser Island, Noosa, Montville, Sydney and Byron Bay before the Coronavirus arrived, but next year I hope to continue seeing more places.

Which Australian cities have you lived in?

I have only lived in the Gold Coast and I love the great offer of leisure activities both in the city and in the surroundings. The weather is always very hot, even in winter, and the pace of life is quite relaxed, here people do not stress as much as we do.

Which neighbourhoods have you lived in?

My first home was in Biggera Waters, near Harbour Town, and it is true that it is a bit far from the downtown area, but I was very happy always moving my bike from one place to the other. Now I am living in Broadbeach Waters and it is a very big change because I am close to everything and I have the beach just 10 minutes away.
My advice is that if you are clear about what you want, do not settle for the first thing that appears. When I arrived and put the announcement out that I was looking for a private room at a maximum of $180 per week, many people replied to me saying that I would not find anything with those characteristics for that price. 1 day later I already had a private room with a double bed in a house for $170 including all bills.

What have you studied?

My course in General English was for one year, but when I finished the Advanced level I moved onto the IELTS course for a month and a half.

Do you like your school?

I think it was the best decision I have made in my life. I was in Inforum and anything I say cannot do it justice really. It is a very family-like school where from the first moment they make you feel very welcome and that you are not just another number, that you matter.
I have enjoyed every day that I have been to class, I have learned much more than I expected and have improved a lot in pronunciation and grammar. All the teachers are wonderful and take great care to ensure that you learn in the best way possible.
Time passed very quickly and before I realized it I was graduating. The best thing? The personalised treatment, the quality of the classes, the atmosphere in the school, and the excursions and weekly activities they do.

How has your English evolved?

My evolution with English has been amazing. I arrived unable to speak at all and now I can even have conversations with Australians. School has helped me a lot to reinforce my weakest points over and over again and has given me confidence in myself.

Which visas have you held in Australia so far?

In October my first Student Visa ends and I am going to renew for another year in the same modality because I don’t want to stop learning new things, taking advantage of the fact that I am already here.

And now that you have a good level of English, what type of course have you chosen?

Now I am going to start the Outdoor and Recreation VET course that is based on outdoor sports, such as surfing, diving, climbing, kayaking, routes through the mountains, etc.
I opted for this one because it complements the studies that I already have and because I wanted a little more action and adventure.

What have you worked as and how did you get it?

My first job was as a Housekeeper at a Resort and I got it by sending out resumes and going to an in-person interview.
And I got the job that I am in now by delivering my CV in person, after passing a group interview and then another personal one. It is in a club with Gambling, Bingo, a Café, and a Bistro. My job is to disinfect everything for Covid-19 and waitress at the Bistro.

How much have you earned at each job?

In the housekeeper role I made about $25 an hour and where I am now I make $27 an hour.

How much money can you spend a week in your city?

I spend about $250- $300 weekly (including rent and bills).
The most expensive, for example, is the rent and if you want to do some leisure activities. The cheapest, if you manage it well and are aware of supermarket offers you can save a lot of money buying food.

What’s the funniest situation you’ve found yourself in in Australia?

Funny I do not know, but curious is a little while ago. One day after work I came home at night and in my room I saw a ‘stain’ on the wall next to my bed (I had already removed my contact lenses) and it turned out it was a huge spider the size of my hand. I called my flatmate to help me and with a Tupperware pot and after a lot of thinking about it, I finally approached it and we were able to take it and drop it in the garden without any problems.
And a few days later I was brushing my teeth and a little spider appeared in front of my eyes hanging by a thread from the ceiling. When I looked up I saw that the ceiling was totally black full of thousands of mini spiders, the bathtub as well, and the occasional lost one on the wall. Apparently they were the huge spider’s babies that had previously appeared in my room.

Have you travelled around Australia?

Yes! Fraser Island for me is one of the most special places I have ever visited and I 100% recommend it. Nor can you leave Australia without flying by helicopter over the Great Barrier Reef, it is one of those moments that is forever saved in memory. And finally, Montville, a town with a lot of charm that transports you to another era.

From 1 (minimum) to 10 (maximum) score:

  • Your English upon arrival: 2
  • Your English now: 7
  • Your studies: 7
  • Your city as a recommended destination: 8
  • People in your city: 8
  • Lifestyle: 9
  • Your happiness level: 10
  • Your stress level: 3
  • Your experience: 10

Your most honest opinion about AUssieYouTOO:

The best agency right now without a doubt with which to dare to take the step of coming to Australia and feel accompanied. It is also the one that organizes the most different events in the Gold Coast and the trips they schedule are incredible.

How were the processes and procedures with your Listener?

My Listener was Laura Mollá and the truth is that from the beginning she gave me a lot of confidence. She made the whole process very easy and after considering everything she helped me choose the best option for me. So, thank you for all your patience and time that you invested with me to make my experience unforgettable.

Did you have a COOLaborator when you arrived?

My COOLaborator was Belén and when I arrived she helped me with my bank account, tax file number and mobile card. I think this role is very important because when you arrive alone in a country on the other side of the world and with a different language, you are a bit lost with everything. And that you have someone who gives you facilities and guides you at the beginning is a bonus to take into account.

What advice do you have for people who have just landed in Australia?

For me, the most important thing if you come to learn English is to try to get together with international people from the beginning. So without realizing it you will be practicing the language all the time, and at the same time you will discover other cultures first-hand.

How much money do you think someone who wants to come to study in Australia should have saved in their bank account?

If you come and have already paid for the course, I think that €3,000 is good to have a calm time while you look for work without stress. But the truth is that money flies so anything more that you can bring will always come in handy.

The situation in which we have all found ourselves has been complicated, can you tell us a little about your experience with COVID-19?

My experience was being out of work as soon as this all started.
Luckily I had some money saved to go to New Zealand on a trip and thanks to that I survived for 2 months without working or earning a single dollar.
The situation was a bit overwhelming because all the people around me were returning to their countries and I did not know how long I was going to be able to pay the rent on my house for.
Luckily a friend moved in with me to share the cost of the room and at the end of July I found work again.
I received a $500 grant from the Australian Government and I also got a bag of food from the Student Hub, which is a space where they help international students.
I am very happy that I was able to stick with my decision to stay and I feel very lucky to be here in the middle of all this madness.

Write whatever you want:

If you always saw Australia as an unattainable dream, let me tell you that it is not, that with a little effort and a lot of desire, everything can be achieved. Then it is up to you to take advantage of every second and be happy living the Australian life.
For me it has been the best year of my life without any doubt, not only for having fulfilled my goal by coming here, but for all the people I have met along the way and from whom I have learnt so much.
Now I have a totally different view of the world and I love that. The world belongs to those who dare to live and the time is NOW. Australia may be the best experience of your life too, so what are you waiting for?

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