“It changed my life in many ways” – Gonzalo’s Story

 

The Start of It All

It was the beginning of April 2016 in Santiago, Chile when finally, the time had arrived. A radical change in my life was starting in a few days. I quit an excellent job, and I had decided to be far from my family, friends and my comfort zone to start from zero on the opposite side of the world. Why? Because I knew that amazing things and unique opportunities would come, although fate was preparing something different for me. An unexpected complication in the flu that I had put me in the hospital for almost a week, plus 3 more of recovering in bed. Months of preparation, my flight tickets were booked but one day the plans changed and I wasn’t able to come to Australia. Why is this part of the story relevant? Because when you take a decision to start over like this one, you need to learn that changes and unexpected situations will become a part of your normal life – and you have to accept it, deal with it and learn from the process.

Finally, one month after my original plans, I arrived in “Aussieland.” The land where exotic animals like kangaroos, koalas, possums and flying foxes live with you, where people speak with an accent that you think that you’ll never be able to understand and a place where everybody looks pleasant, relaxed and easy-going. Yes, that’s “Straya,” but there’s so much more…

One of the First

The first time that I read about ILSC was in a Latin website forum for people who were living in Australia. The information was about a new school that was opening in Melbourne. That particular fact caught my attention because if I was starting a new adventure, why not to do it in a new school? That’s when it started, May 23rd, 2016. The first day of classes for me and for ILSC Melbourne went great. It was literally like going back to the school – I was excited and nervous like a child. When I arrived there, I had my first moment of happiness when I realized that I was the only one from Latin-America, which would increase the chances to meet people from diverse cultures. Lots of friendly staff was there waiting for us with a big welcome and smiling faces. I remember in that very first moment how Jason, the School Director, was trying to make us feel comfortable. Then there was Yuka, running everywhere, always busy but ready to resolve any kind of problem for the first 16 students of the school.

The days started to pass and I knew already that I was in the right place. I made friends from Korea and Japan. My first friends in Australia, I will never forget that. Also, I met very significant people to my ILSC Experience; my two first teachers. First, there was David, the first Australian guy who I had the chance to talk and taught me about the Aussie culture, slangs, and different accents. The second one was Jessica, an American girl who was living a similar experience in Australia. We shared great moments and more than one time I made her upset during classes because I was always talking and making jokes with my friend Sungyeon Choi.

New Beginnings 

Then, a couple of months after, the ILSC-Melbourne started to grow very fast. When there were 50 students or so a new program was opened: Café Skill Class. When I took the class I just was thinking I wanted to learn how to make coffee and maybe have the chance to work in a real café in Melbourne. I never thought that because of this decision, incredible things will happen…

There, in that class, I met my favourite Colombian in the world: Marcela. Marcela was a crazy and funny girl who made Melbourne feel like home. In fact, together we were the first two students who worked in the ILSC Café. Those are some of my favourite ILSC memories I have. It was like running our own Aussie business without really know what we were doing (but always very professional, of course.)

After 4 months of being at school, the time to say goodbye to my ILSC experience had arrived, but I really wanted to stay. I was having so much fun that I decided to talk with Jason to see if there was a  possibility to stay at the Café and work as a volunteer helping with some Admin tasks. Fortunately, he said yes! I was there for a couple of weeks after extending my experience when one day he offered me the opportunity to work as an Admin Assistant. I was thrilled and I took advantage of the new opportunity and did my best.

Onwards and Upwards

At the end of the year, new paths started to appear and I became in the receptionist at ILSC-Melbourne, after that I started as a VET Assistant, followed by the Activities Coordinator and finally the chance that I was looking for; I became the Student Advisor for Latin-American and European students. At that moment, the school was huge – more than 500 people from all over the world. Having a dream and watching it come true was wonderful. In this new chapter of my ILSC Experience, I made incredible friends with the people who I was working at the school. I will never forget anybody at the Admin Office, the teachers and the managers that I met. So many great moments, laughs, and funny jokes. Every one of them contributed to making me a better professional and person.

The road was not easy, that’s for sure but I will never regret to take the decision to be part of this amazing school that changed my life in some many ways.

But as we know, everything that starts must come to an end. At the end of August 2017, I packed my bags and I left ILSC-Melbourne and Australia to make another one of my dreams to come true – travel the world. It was not easy, but as I said at the beginning of this story if you want to live a full life you need to let some things go and be open to the new things that life will bring to you. Thank you to ILSC for giving me this chance.

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