I have been in Australia almost eight years. I haven’t been back to Thailand. I’m still waiting for citizenship. My mum has citizenship, I’m still waiting. She hasn’t been back, probably she’s waiting for me! We applied together in 2016. It’s been a really long process. It’s like nightmare, you don’t really know what is going to happen next. If you want to travel around, you can’t. You feel hopeless. You just have to stay here. Even if you want to go back to Thailand, you just… People choose to go back just with travel documents but I prefer with a citizenship because you have more guarantee; it’s the title that you are Australian citizen.
I came to Australia just me and my mum, but my grandmum came one month before me. We lived in Werribee, and we moved to Bendigo 2017. Werribee is so crowded; so many people, so many cars, But Bendigo I love it. Because it’s so quiet, it’s calm and nice and my grandmum she has a place where she can plant things and have her own garden.
I understood just a little bit of English before I came. My grandmum doesn’t speak English, my mum speaks a little bit. She’s better now. She still needs me to go with her when she has appointments. She is working and says that if she don’t have work, she doesn’t really know what to do. I told her if I get a job, if I have money, I want her to rest. But she said, the money that you earn and the money that I earn probably the same so she would rather work!
Comin to Australia, the first challenge was that you have to adapt to a new culture, you have to learn systems and everything. Back then we lived in a camp, it’s just like you have nothing, you live a daily, basic life. They provide you with monthly rice, oil all that stuff, but when you come here you have to life adapt to a new thing. Here you have more opportunity and they give you more resources.
Communication was the hardest part. Until now I still remember when I first went into my class, a mainstream class, and I couldn’t understand anything at all. And the teacher’s accent! I remember that my first class was history and back then it was a nightmare for me. It was totally different, the accents, the tone, everything. I would cry, because I didn’t really understand what they were teaching.
It took about a year until I understood. I had my cousins, and the teachers who supported me and they were really nice and approachable.
It was my university requirement that I volunteer in community engagement so it came in my mind that maybe I could find something around here. I met with Bu Gay and she said yeah, that’s a good idea because here at Multicultural Services we need someone here on a Friday who speaks English and can speak Karen as well. Then I came and spoke to Rose and it just happened really quick and she signed everything for me and it was like it was planned ahead. It was amazing! I volunteered for a year. The university requirement was only for 30 hours, but I still wanted to come back and help people here in the community here. I also wanted to expand my knowledge and skills. I did that at Multicultural Services because I was exposed to many things alike business and admin and answering the phones.
Now I have a new job. It came from the relationship I built here. I started three weeks ago as bilingual support employment consultant. It’s a great opportunity to expand my skills in a real-world setting. I study at university two days a week in Melbourne also and sometimes go back and spend time in Werribee and then I am also here in Bendigo with mum and grandmum. For fun I like to watch movies and I play keyboard. But I don’t have a lot of time!
I want to show to the young people that it’s not just that you finish high school and you go to labour work; you can study for a future; you can extend your knowledge. There are so many opportunities here, you can do whatever you want with your study, with your life, so just obtain your opportunity.
Australia is my home now. Multicultural Services is my home as well because everyone is so welcoming and approachable and friendly. I feel like my family is here. If I have any questions or trouble, they always help me with that.
I want everyone in the community here to know where I come from up to this point, but like everyone of different backgrounds, from diverse backgrounds, I have my own ability and capacity and want to fight for other people as well. What they can do, I can do.