From client to volunteer to mentor
I came to Australia from Peru four years ago. In Peru I worked in marketing and reservations and, before that, in a non-governmental organisation. After school, I studied biology but I have always been inclined to social work and, for several years, I worked as a volunteer with children in orphanages, hospitals and in mental health facilities.
When I arrived in Australia, my English was good but not good enough and I struggled with the different accents and change in culture. I began working in hospitality, waitressing, housekeeping, babysitting – whichever job would allow me to learn more about Australian culture and improve my language skills. Everything was so fast! I was confused by where to go and even to ask how to get there. This was a real barrier for me and it led to depression. I felt very homesick.
The first year was very hard for me but, by the second year, I started to get myself back together. I realised that improving my life would be a process which would take time and resilience. Therefore, I returned to study. It was very challenging but, at the same time, stimulating and it motivated me to keep on going so that I could do what was in my heart. I did a bridging course for VCE to get my first qualification. It was difficult but I managed to work hard and pass.