Growing up my parents always taught us that if we want something, we must work hard for it and I have carried this golden lesson wherever I go.
When I started college in the Philippines, I made the most of my time, joining lots of extra-curricular activities. I spent three years serving in the Student Government and I volunteered at a number of non-government organisations. In 2010, I was chosen to represent my country as a student ambassador to Japan where I learned about disaster risk management. All these experiences helped me to land a job as a quality assurance analyst when I finished my bachelor degree. However, even with all this, I felt something was missing. I felt that I was not on the right path and that’s what motivated me to pursue work overseas. I went to Macau to work as a chef, which is not related to my education, but helped me to live overseas.
Working overseas meant I had to stay away from home for two years. I missed my family a lot but thanks to technology, I could still see my loved ones via video chat. But it wasn’t easy. I often felt alone. Although it was hard, I’m still grateful for all the lessons I learned and my family’s support. They kept me motivated and inspired me to grab opportunities as they arose.
I never planned to live and study in Darwin. I came here for a short trip in 2019 to visit my sister. After so much time overseas, I wanted to spend quality time with my niece and nephew. The first day I stepped out of the house, I noticed the smell of the leaves heated by the sun. I heard birds singing high-pitched notes and saw them dancing around the mango trees. I was amazed, like a kid, and I felt that this marked a new beginning for me.
I decided to stay and pursue my studies in marketing. Being in the Northern Territory (NT) has made my study experience more interesting because of the diverse community, supportive international education institutions, wild places and work opportunities. I’ve also had the chance to see and experience the NT’s outback, from enchanting waterfalls to stunning rock formations and even kangaroos!
I regularly volunteer with the Filipino Australian Association of the NT, Kindness Shake and the Australian Institute of Office Professionals and these experiences have contributed to my professional and personal development.
The way that the NT Government and the community here have embraced us international students makes me incredibly proud that I am here in the Territory, not just studying but living like a local.
I often think back to the lesson my parents taught me and after all these years of hard work, I know they were right. If you work hard, you can have the things you want!