Testimony: Santiago Jimenez

Living his life, focussing on his goals.

“You are going to listen to a lot of stories and hear many things, but in the end it is your choice, what you want to do and how you wish to experience this life. You will make this worth it or not.”

From Bogota, Colombia, Santiago began his experience as an international student in New Zealand. Part of his project at first was to study English and then return to Colombia. But fascinated with the adventure of travelling, meeting people from all walks of life, he decided to jump from New Zealand to Australia. This time with a better level of English, he came to Brisbane, Australia to study IELTS and a Diploma of Business at NCVE International, and in the meantime to save some money. 

“New Zealand is beautiful. The environment over there is impressive, you can appreciate things that you are not used to seeing. In addition, the people are nice, so the first experience of living overseas increased my wish to keep travelling”

Santiago is an Industrial engineer who worked in Rappi Colombia before making the decision to study overseas. When he decided to study English abroad, he knew that more that to learn a new language the right way, he wanted to have an experience, change his routine, and turn his life completely upside-down. 

“The best thing about travelling is that you can just realize by yourself that the world is huge and there are a lot of different things that you can do. Moreover, you are able to recognize your skills and capacities in different situations.”

For Santiago, Australia and New Zealand are quite similar in terms of culture. However, the landscape of each one is different. New Zealand is cold, and Australia is warm. They are opposites but undoubtedly, both are fantastic. 

“In New Zealand I highly recommend Lake Tekapo, that is a beautiful lake in the South Island, the water is turquoise. And in Australia Urulu and Airlie Beach are amazing, especially the natural colours.”

His goals have changed over time. At first, he left Colombia for 6 months to learn English and enjoy New Zealand. But then he was motivated to keep travelling when he considered that the world has a lot of places, food, and things to do.  So, he kept studying, traveling, and making some savings to visit his sister in France, and to return to Colombia. 

Nonetheless, something unexpected happened. COVID-19 closed borders everywhere and Santiago had to re-think his plans. Wishing to grow professionally, being aware of his level of English, focusing on his goals and maintaining a full-steam a lead attitude, Santiago looked for an internship that allowed him to learn about how Australian companies operate, putting his knowledge in place and gaining work experience in his field that might open doors to opportunities in the future.   

“The best thing about doing an internship is more than all different things that you can learn. It is the opportunity to make friends and to experience being totally involved in Australian culture.” 

It is normal to feel some fear when you leave your country and your comfort zone to move to another place, far from your family and friends, to discover a new culture and live where everything is unknown. Despite that, my best advise is take the risk, have the experience by yourself and know that you will be fine. There is no reason to hesitate when doing that. Travelling is a good experience; it is normal to encounter some obstacles. Changes brings new challenges and  how you decide to experience them is your choice.  

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