When I was 11, I came to Australia with my mother for four weeks. We visited Sydney, New South Wales and the Gold Coast and I remember being fascinated by the people here and impressed by the nature, especially the unspoiled beaches. When we left, I promised myself that I would come back to study English and learn more about Australian culture.
I grew up in Switzerland with my family who migrated there from Croatia before I was born. The multicultural lifestyle in Switzerland gave me a great education and opened my eyes to the rest of the world. Every summer holidays, I visited my family in Croatia for a few weeks and these trips taught me respect for family and culture, and gave me the confidence to dream of travelling and studying overseas.
Then, when I was 20, I got really sick. I had complicated health issues that forced me to be hospitalised for 14 weeks over a period of 16 months. I lost all my confidence and my dream of traveling and moving overseas.
After a long rehabilitation, I knew I needed to shift my mindset and focus again on the positive things in life. It’s true when people say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger! It also makes you clearer about the things that are important to you. My illness allowed me to realise that education and travelling is the thing I want to prioritise in my life. So, that’s what I did. I booked a ticket to Australia, together with an English course and it was the most important and rewarding decision in my life.
I remember my first weeks in Darwin, the joy of discovering a new place and improving my English day-by-day. Now, after two years, I am investing more time than ever in my studies, and being active in the community. I’m preparing to study for the next four years, focusing on community services and I’m really looking forward to it. Who knows what the future holds but what I do know is that everything in life happens for a reason and our path will lead us to the place we really need to go and discover. In my case, it is Darwin. If I hadn’t been ill, I probably would have ended up stuck in Switzerland. Even though it took me longer than I thought it would, the struggle was worth it. I am living my dream.