Study Stories – Carolina

Brisbane BISA Carolina Santiago

Hello everyone,

My name is Carolina and I am from Brazil. I am a psychologist with a Masters in Business. I consider myself a lucky girl as I married the only guy from my class at uni!

I chose to study psychology with hopes to work as an educational psychologist. I believed that if I wanted to have an impact on people’s lives, I would need to work with kids while they are forming their personality. However, I found myself fulfilled when I was working as a human resources business partner providing advice to leadership and counselling employees.

I am originally from Sao Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil, with about 11.9 million people. Yep, that’s a really busy city! And, as in every busy city, the employment competition is high. That’s why I decided to do an exchange in order to improve my English.

At the time, it was the most difficult decision I’d ever made. I’m not in my twenties any more, and I do want to have a baby. On the other hand, I also thought that it was about time for me to have learned English. So after a lot of discussion, my husband and I decided to leave our jobs and begin this adventure. 

Carolina Cantiago

Moving to Australia was always our first option: beautiful beaches, friendly people and the opportunity to work. Choosing where to live was much more difficult. In the end, we decided on Brisbane because of its warm weather. Also, as Brisbane isn’t too big of a city, we fancied that we’d have a better quality of life with a lower cost of living. That sounded perfect!

After that, the most difficult step in Brazil was to notify the company that I was leaving, before we’d secured our Australian visas! Although I knew that it had to be done, I had butterflies in my stomach until we got the approval.  

Arriving in Brisbane, I absolutely fell in love. On my first day at Navitas, my English school, I had a tour around the city. Free looping bus? Plenty of people carrying an iPhone looking unworried? People walking barefoot? That was different!

Carolina Santiago

At the start, all the effort given to speaking and understanding English made me exhausted. Also small tasks like shopping for food were a challenge. Luckily, the school has lots of extra activities, such as picnics, games and movie sessions, which made everything most enjoyable. As well as that, I received so much support, such as being helped to write a resume and tips about what’s on on weekends, which all made my life easier and more fun.

Living overseas, in my opinion, isn’t easy. Facing day-to-day tasks, which at home I’d consider very simple, can present great challenges in another language. Homesickness is a feeling I have often. Not only am I missing my family, friends and job, but I also miss the friends that I’ve met here who have returned to their home countries – and I’ve made some good ones.

However, despite all these difficulties, I’ve decided to extend my visa, which was originally for seven months. I definitely feel that my journey hasn’t finished. And voilà! Now I am one of 40 Brisbane International Student Ambassadors! 

Carolina Santiago

By June 8, I’ll have been living in Brisbane for one year, and all this time studying English at Navitas. What’s more, I’ve found a church in which I feel welcome, where I’ve met lovely people and I’ve been given the opportunity to be a volunteer working with kids. In addition, I’ve explored amazing places in and around Brisbane.

One year ago, writing this would have been absolutely impossible for me. I am flattered to be sharing a bit of my journey here, and most importantly, to be able to do it in English. This has been my main goal!

I hope to continue writing my story and that it will be in some way useful to you, especially if you’re considering an exchange.

Until then!

Carol

Follow Carolina on Instagram @carollcavalcantii

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