To prepare for the WA border opening, StudyPerth’s staff and Airport Greeters had been at the airport since 11pm last Wednesday, 2 March. With high anticipation, everyone started their shifts from midnight Thursday, 3 March to welcome international students.
Tommy Zhang, a Chinese student from the University of Western Australia (UWA), is one of our Airport Greeters (as well as an avid StudyPerth enthusiast). He was in the first round, personally welcoming the first batch of international students arriving in Perth.
In the Arrival Hall of the airport, there were also representatives from UWA's Airport Pickup Service. Of course, there were also many family members and friends of passengers, as well as media on site. Tommy recalls the excitement in the air.
"Family and friends who had been separated for a long time could finally be reunited, and were full of tears and embrace each other. Everyone was very excited, I felt so touched,” Tommy said.
“I had three training courses before I started the greeting job to make sure I could be professional enough to assist all international students arriving at Perth Airport. The first international student I met was a Chinese student. She was also the first international student to enter Western Australia!"
For all the students who have just arrived in Perth, Tommy has some thoughts to share.
“I am a person who likes to travel a lot. In the past, whether it was a long vacation or a short vacation, I would find a place to travel to whenever I had the chance. Even when I return to China, I will visit Southeast Asia, Malaysia and other places for a few days on the way back.
"In the past two years, my original plans had been ruined due to the impact of the pandemic. My lifestyle even changed as a result. It can be said that because the border was closed, I began to explore even more of Western Australia. I began to enjoy the original scenery and charm of Western Australia; I paid attention to the local life in Perth and really fall in love with it.
"In the past, I only knew a few other international students in Perth. After our graduation, everyone went their separate ways. My social life was simple and kind of boring.
"In the past two years, I began to participate in various local activities, such as StudyPerth's international student events, the annual Fringe World Festival, and so forth. This made me realise what life in Perth should be like, and at the same time I got to know many good new friends and enter different social circles. My life started to become more interesting.
"I think if I ever must leave Perth one day, I will miss it more than ever.
"I hope everyone can be braver to immerse themselves in the life around them, try to participate in different activities and join different social circles. That way, life will be more fulfilling and the future will be full of unexpected possibilities!”