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Natalia Murcia García

Tourism and Marketing Assistant

Qualification: Associate Degree in Fashion Business
Year of Graduation: 2018
Education Provider: South Metropolitan TAFE - Bunbury
Job Title: Tourism and Marketing Assistant
Employer: Bibbulmun Track Foundation
Country of origin: Colombia

Are there any notable experiences from your time studying you’d like to share?
I immensely enjoyed my experience as an International Student Mentor at TAFE. It was the starting point for launching my career as a student leader. It provided the confidence to begin sharing my short journey up to that moment as an International Student in Perth. I was chosen by TIWA (TAFE International Western Australia) to share my journey with student agents from different nationalities so they could communicate the message to future students considering Perth as their study destination. The International Student Mentor program provided me with training in various skills that later helped me to prepare for what was going to be my successful application to the StudyPerth International Student Ambassador Program in 2019!

In 2019, I was appointed as a speaker to represent TIWA at the AIEC (Australian International Education Conference). The panel I participated in was: Bridging the divide: Integrating VET and higher education students.

The international education agency, LAE, invited me for an interview streamed via Instagram Live for their Latin American community. This time it was about how my relationship began with StudyPerth. The journey that led me to become an International Student Ambassador and StudyPerth's tireless work to support students in launching their careers.

In 2021, Business News Magazine interviewed me for their July issue. It was included in their Promoting Perth booklet World-class education, and the article was 'Why study in Perth?'

If you could tell your graduate self one piece of career advice, what would it be and why?
Without hesitation, I would encourage my graduate self to keep the spark and enjoyment of sharing my journey as an International Student while putting myself at the service of others. Volunteering has been priceless and greatly rewarding. There are endless organisations you can resonate with that you can choose and enjoy giving a little of your time to. It is an easy and not intimidating way to start growing your network too! Many job opportunities come out after a volunteer program, and my current position is proof of that. You will start opening doors without noticing and spotting career and personal development opportunities where others cannot. Your awareness and acknowledgment of the person next to you are greatly valued when you least expect it.

Tell us about your experience since leaving South Metropolitan TAFE, how has your career progressed to date? Any professional achievements you’d like to share?
I got my first employment related to my career only three months after I started Uni and arrived in Australia, which was posted on one of the notice boards in Uni! It was a design assistant and general administration role for a millinery designer. I worked in that job for two years. It was amazing because I got to practice and contribute what I was learning at TAFE about digital tools and online business. One of the highlights of my career development was when I was successfully selected for an internship with Perth Festival.
My interests have always been in the arts, culture, and sports, besides my continuous interest in learning and getting involved with organisations that have at the core of their values First Nations counselling and inclusion. Perth Festival has it all! LinkedIn and my network contacts played a vital role.

One of my TAFE lecturers, Lisa Piller, shared Perth Festival's internship program post. I introduced myself to the People and Culture manager in less than a second. My other part was preparing a standing cover letter and resumé. Here, I had mentorship from another valuable StudyPerth staff member. Hayley Scott, our newly launched Student Hub manager, helped me polish both. After I passed the second selection filter, she prepared me to give my best at the interview, and I received the call we were all waiting for! I started my exciting experience as a Fundraising and Events Intern with Perth Festival. I was also entrusted and responsible for one of their supporters' events at the WA Museum- Boola Bardip.

A few months later, I was then contracted as a Development Assistant! I helped the Development team coordinate events and other general administration tasks where digital tools were crucial for the organisation's everyday running.

What are some of your passions and interests?
Swimming is my passion. I was a competitive swimmer for 17 years in Colombia, and I have been swimming with a masters club here since 2021. Surfing has always been my dream since I was a child. My love for the ocean is in my blood because my father is from the Caribbean coast, and spending my time between my hometown and his. As soon as I had the opportunity, I enrolled in a women-only course and participated in one of StudyPerth's surfing programs for international students.

Music, arts, culture and food are my other interests. I usually treat myself by going to a concert, a ballet performance or a play or visiting a food joint recommendation of one of the many Perth foodies I follow on Instagram.

What are the top 3 skills you need in your role as a Tourism and Marketing Assistant?
The top three skills that have helped me navigate my role as a tourism and marketing assistant improved thanks to the training I received first as a student mentor in TAFE and later greatly honed as a StudyPerth Ambassador are my storytelling abilities. Once you understand the language of the organisation and its audience, you can creatively establish a connection and engagement out of common elements.

Public speaking and networking these two skills go hand in hand with each other, and storytelling too.
I would like to add a skill that is sometimes overlooked but so important: active listening. This skill can make a difference in how effective and successful your communication is. Whether you can follow directions from your manager, respond to an enquiry accurately or meet the needs of a request from a stakeholder.

What was your main reason(s) to select Perth as your study destination?
Perth has always been a dream destination since I was in 6th grade! Thanks to my swim coach, who visited Perth with my teammates and the National team for the 1998 FINA World Championships. Upon his return, he shared his experience here, praising this beautiful city. How people enjoy the ocean, the river, and the outdoors, everything was right at their front door!

In addition, it might sound funny and weird, but he also told us how good people were at abiding by the rules, like crossing the road at the traffic lights, and I knew I wanted to live there! When the time came later in my life, Perth was still on my mind. Besides, Western Australia is similar to California, which was my other destination of choice, and they have the ocean and the mountains close!

What have you enjoyed the most about living and studying in Perth?
From my point of view, there are cities for all types of personalities, and Perth's mix of city and countryside is perfect for me. I could never get bored in any season of the year in Perth, even if some of our friends from the East Coast disagree!

The underground music scene in Perth is something that I really enjoy. The number of student perks, super affordable and free-of-charge access to many activities makes it hard to choose which one to go to the next time.

I like going to surfing and skateboarding contests and exhibitions. I look forward to summer because it is the tennis season, and I get to watch some of the world's best in Perth. The summer markets at the beach are amusing. You can find food from so many different countries that it feels like you are travelling around the world in one morning! I recommend going with an empty stomach, though.

I participate in free cultural and artistic workshops my city council offers the community. If you take pleasure in the arts, the free-of-charge workshops, museums and art galleries open to the public are a must!

What would you say to students thinking of coming to Perth to study?
Take the time to research and weigh up all your options. What are your career and personal goals? Does the weather play a significant role when choosing a city, for example? Perth is a friendly, welcoming city for international students, and people here like hearing stories from us! Without question, use StudyPerth as your first point of contact and comprehensive information source. You can even connect to one of StudyPerth's ambassadors before your arrival!

Did you use any of the StudyPerth service offerings during your time studying? And if so, which support services were helpful?
The workshops and career development I received as part of my training as an International Student Ambassador made a difference. Public speaking, networking, personal brand and online presence, and storytelling, to name a few. I also had access to workshops such as searching for part-time employment and CV/resumé writing workshops, interview tips and tricks, being financially ready for work, and wellbeing and mindfulness workshops.


Connect with me on LinkedIn.