Student Story: Johanna Faber

07 April 2022

My name is Johanna, when I came to Australia in 2017 was 18 years old and I will be honest, I did not intend to stay in Australia to study. But sometimes things come differently than planned and I wouldn’t want to change it. I would like to share a part of my story here, to hopefully encourage some of you, who are thinking of studying abroad, to follow your dreams, no matter how scary they may seem at the start.

After working and travelling in Australia for one year, I went back home to Germany. I very quickly realised that I was not ready to finish my Australian adventure and started to plan my journey back. Staying in Germany for five months I’ve spent my time doing research of possibilities to return and decided that the best idea was to combine my extension to this Australian adventure with some studies. I looked at different courses, institutions and asked for help from student agencies to navigate through all the information online.

My decision fell on Perth. Having grown up in a small German village, big city life seemed scary to me. I had visited most major Australian cities and Perth immediately felt like the perfect option. Despite being this big city, Perth stretches along the coastline, offering beaches, valleys, rivers – all the things I loved growing up. There are so many options for weekend trips, camping adventures, hiking and all other sorts of outdoor adventures you can imagine.

I enrolled in the Diploma of Travel and Tourism Management, a two-year course, with the intention of finding a start in the tourism industry. The idea of building a career in an industry as diverse as the travel and tourism industry, being able to help individuals with the creation of amazing life-long memories and knowing that I would be able to work anywhere in the world, fascinated me!

My time at TAFE was amazing. We had a lot of fun in the classroom. Being taught by knowledgeable and experienced lecturers who brought excitement to the classroom every day and took us on field trips to Rottnest Island, city walking tours and stargazing in Gingin, was everything I could have hoped for.

Only five months into my course I landed a job at a local backpacker’s travel agency, which allowed me to apply my freshly learned skills in the real industry world and helping all those amazing people I got to meet through the agency to create the trips of their dreams.

Unfortunately, due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the travel agency had to close, which I was shattered about. However, our lecturers where quick to react, adapted our classes, which were now held online, and kept our motivation and hope up until the end of our course.

After finishing my course, I was honoured to be awarded International Student of the Year 2021 at TAFE. Only a week after, I was also awarded International Student of the Year at the WA Training Awards 2021, which left me speechless, as I was beyond grateful already to have been encouraged to enter and to be given this opportunity to reflect on my journey here in Australia during the application and selection process. This experience was “the cherry on the ice cream”, as we would say in Germany. 

Over the years, Perth has become my home. I am now loving my new career in one of Perth’s luxury hotels, our little house we rent in the northern suburbs, close to the beach in a quiet neighbourhood, and those weekend trips exploring all the amazing places surrounding Perth. Every day, I feel grateful for the life I never imagined I’d ever live at a young age. And it all started with the idea of coming back to Australia to study!

By Johanna Faber