Everybody in the west knows that Perth is a place where people are warmly welcomed into the community, no matter where they are from.
For Jolimont resident Heidi Serong, a graduate from Curtin College and Curtin University, Perth is a city with a lot to offer for both international students, and those from interstate.
Originally from Anglesea, a small coastal town in Victoria, Heidi made the move out west in January 2011 to pursue her goal of completing a degree in commerce.
Fast-forward eight years, and Heidi has completed a Diploma of Commerce, a Bachelor of Commerce (Tourism, Event Management and Marketing), and a Masters of Marketing – all the while establishing her life in Perth, and helping fellow students on their education journey.
Since mid-2015, Heidi has worked at Curtin College, starting off in the marketing department before finding her niche in the Student and Academic Services team. Since then, she has helped hundreds of students as they complete their studies, and has made many significant friendships along the way.
“Being able to meet and assist students from all over the globe in completing their Diploma course and moving onto further studies is what I enjoy most about working in the Student and Academic Services team,” she said.
“I am so blessed to be work in such a supportive team and environment who share the same passion for education as me.”
The student journey has long been important to Heidi, who describes international education and living and studying abroad as being a particular passion of hers.
As a former international student herself, Heidi understands the challenges that students can face upon arriving in a new city to study. Given this, she considers the StudyPerth Welcome Desk to be an extremely valuable service for arriving international students.
“At the age of 16, I was elected to be a Rotary Exchange Student and I had the opportunity to live in Finland for one year,” she said.
“My year living abroad means so much to me today - the welcome, support and experience is something that I want to pass onto others so that is why I signed up to the Airport Greeter Volunteer Program.”
The StudyPerth Welcome Desk offers a meet and greet service at the Perth Airport international arrivals hall, voluntarily staffed by current international and local students, who provide a welcome pack and practical support for their new fellow learners as they start their journey in Perth.
“I believe having a friendly, helpful faces to greet you is important when everything may be new and unknown,” she said.
“The most memorable moments for me were seeing new students having a big smile and being so thankful for the help, information and packs we provided them with on their arrival.”
When she is not helping students adjust to their new life in Perth or supporting them through their studies, Heidi spends a lot of time in the great outdoors, citing the city’s attractive mix of a ‘beautiful coastal town feeling’ with a vibrant city offering.
“Since moving to Perth, I have found a real love for the outdoors, water and boating scene,” she said.
“Perth, to me, offers the best of both worlds - it can have the big city feel but also the smaller more laid-back vibe. I love that it offers both.
“Living nearby the beach is a must for me. You will regularly find me at the beach or chilling at Rottnest if the weather is lovely.”
Given Heidi also spends a fair amount of time renovating her apartment and has considered further studies, it’s clear that Perth is the place for her – and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
The StudyPerth Welcome Desk has recently closed after the Semester One intake, after a seven-week period. Over this time, more than 2,200 newly-arrived international students were welcomed through the desk. The Welcome Desk will re-open in June for the second semester intake.
The Welcome Desk is a joint partnership funded by Perth Airport and StudyPerth, along with the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation, The City of Perth and the five Perth universities, TAFE International WA as well as some key sponsors including Vodafone and Uber/Uber Eats.