Student Story: Natalia Murcia (Colombia)

23 April 2020

My name is Natalia Murcia and I am studying an Associate Degree of Fashion Business II at South Metropolitan TAFE in Bentley.

I arrived in Perth in July 2016 from my hometown Medellín in Colombia. I first learned about Perth from my swimming coach who attended the World Aquatics Championships in Perth in 1998. When he came home, he told us about the city, its people and culture, and I immediately fell in love with Perth - it will stick with me for the rest of my life. I have always dreamed of living closer to the beach. I love the mountains in Medellín, but I have always considered myself an ‘ocean lover’.

I adore Perth's sunny and warm climate! That was one of the main reasons I chose Perth over other cities. Its weather is much more stable. By being one of the sunniest cities, it really has a major impact on everyone's mood and their approach to everyday life. Weather can certainly mirror your mood!

Perth offers such good options for both living and learning. The city is very student-friendly. People in Perth are proud of it, so they enjoy sharing their city with us students. As for learning, I believe Perth has highly qualified lecturers, an outstanding education level, and that it covers a broad spectrum of courses and degrees which makes it very attractive for all kinds of students.

As a student, living 'in the city' has a lot of benefits. The public transport fees are lower and the free CAT (Central Area Transport) Bus service is great for students attending institutions within the city area that it covers. For almost all kinds of events and also at some food venues, students enjoy discounts which is always very convenient when you're on a budget and trying to save some money. There are also plenty of free art and cultural events around the city, which usually are held at places which are easily accessible by public transport.

Whenever I have the time to go to the beach, it is only an 18-minute drive to get to City Beach, and only 12 more minutes to get to Leighton Beach in North Fremantle. I really like Leighton because it is a quieter place to swim and the facilities are great. If I decide to do something around the city, I can grab a coffee or an ice cream at Pietro Gelateria in Victoria Park, have an invigorating walk at Kings Park and enjoy the amazing views, or attend one of the many gigs the Perth underground music scene has to offer.

What I enjoy about the South Metropolitan TAFE campus in Bentley is its great infrastructure and equipment. Classrooms are comfortable and adequate for the subjects delivered. The student support services are excellent. Whenever a student has an issue, they are always willing to listen and offer the best support according to the student's needs. It is always a safe space which makes students feel more confident when asking for support. Mostly I love how green my campus is and its open-air areas where you can study at peace!

I truly admire how knowledgeable my lecturers are. They all have long careers and experience in the industry which make classes more interesting because we can discuss real life case studies. I also enjoy all the activities around our Mentor Program such as the "Get to know your Mentor" on-campus sausage sizzling event where we can meet and mingle with international students from different courses; and our Rottnest Island day trip with all mentors and international students was an awesome experience – and of course, I also got my quokka selfie!

As I really enjoy participating and being active in the student life, my first milestone when arriving in Perth was being appointed as a Student Mentor in 2017, and continuing in the role throughout all my degree. The leadership, interpersonal and communication skills developed thanks to the training received reinforced my confidence on wanting to continue as a leader within the student community.

After finishing my studies, I would like to continue working with people from the fashion events industry, and maybe also take some time off to travel and explore different cultures through their food and cultural events.

I would recommend newly arrived students to actively participate in events, both at your institution and at StudyPerth events. This is one of the best ways to meet more students who are living the same experience of studying in a new city. You might find someone who shares and likes the same things as you do and is from a different part of the world! This would definitely improve your social skills and broaden your network of friends.

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