Cristina: From Spanish TV to Let’s Go Study Australia
She came to Melbourne for the first time as a reporter for the program Españoles en el Mundo and fell in love with the city. She promised herself then that one day she would come back. She finally did it and has been studying and working in Melbourne for nearly a year. During this time, she has made friends from all over the world, travelled, and learnt a million things. Don’t miss the story of Cristina Orts – the girl with the eternal smile.
What was it like the moment you decided: “Right, I’m going to Australia”?
It was a decision that took months…even years. I came to Melbourne for the first time almost five years ago and that was when I decided I would come back. And I did. Firstly, for pleasure, and then to live my Australian experience. The final decision was not easy but I said to myself: if you were so sure about it five years ago, you have to do it.
In fact, the first time you came was to film the program Españoles en el Mundo: Melbourne.
With the program, I was lucky enough to travel to lots of places, from the Atacama desert in Chile to the Galapagos Islands, stopping in Gothenburg, Sebastopol, London and Medellín, to name just a few destinations. But Australia was special. Many of the Spanish people I interviewed are still there, and now I think it is incredible that I am living in the same city as them. Really, I can only thank them, because since I arrived here they have helped me so much.
What is special about Melbourne?
For me it was love at first sight. Melbourne chose me, I came back to find it years later. As the song goes, although I have changed the name, “Melbourne has a special colour!” The first time I came I remember touring its lanes, its neighbourhoods (each one with its father and its mother, which is what makes them so special), talking to its people, looking at the sky and thinking that I was almost twenty thousand kilometres from home – feeling that dizziness and at the same time, feeling that I was falling in love. I have been lucky enough to travel to lots of very different places, but when I arrived here I felt that Melbourne could be “my home”… for a while 😉
You have been in the country nearly a year. What is the verdict?
I would say that it has been and still is a great experience. Not just because of the amazing places I have had the chance to visit, the different jobs I have had (au pair, waitress, social media manager), the things I have learnt (I came here to study English and now I am doing a Marketing diploma), but because of the people I have met. I have made great friendships. People from Spain and from all over the world. And of course, the personal pride in having made my dream come true, from having been able to leave my comfort zone and get to know a different culture.
How are the courses you are studying?
Really good. Firstly, I came to study English, that was the priority, and I recommend it 100% because I improved so much. There are four hours of class a day from Monday to Friday and that helps heaps. Plus, you meet people from all over the world, people like you who have come here and are looking to enjoy the experience. Really, I made some very good friends. I think studying English is the best way to start in Australia.
Now I am doing a Marketing diploma and it is turning out to be really interesting. The classes are based on case studies, then we do our assessments as a team. And studying Marketing in English is a very interesting added value. The other day I gave a presentation of my work as the social media manager of a restaurant in Melbourne, and when I finished the teacher gave me a bottle of wine to say thank you. It is another world here!
The best thing about Australia…
It might sound trite, but the best thing is the quality of life. I do not just mean economically – although it is a proven fact that there are more opportunities here than in Spain – I mean how cheerful and laidback the people are. If you are having a bad day, just going to the supermarket and having someone say “G’day! How’s it going? Anything exciting happening today?” while grinning from ear to ear…you cannot be sad after that.
Another thing I love is that you can do whatever you can think of. Everything is normal here. I have wanted to do pole dancing for years – I like dancing and I like that type of dancing. In Spain, it is a bit oddly viewed, but there are loads of schools for it here and a surprising number of girls do it. Then you see them on the train afterwards with their legs bruised to bits and…and they are in totally high spirits. And now I am too!
And, of course, the landscape. Just in the state of Victoria you have so many possibilities: amazing natural parks like Wilsons Promontory, heart-stopping beaches where you are literally alone, or spectacular inland or mountain routes like the Grampians. There is also the wildlife. Seeing wombats at dusk, kangaroos grazing on cricket pitches, koalas on eucalyptus branches when you are doing the Great Ocean Road, wallabies on Phillip Island…amazing!
A motivational phrase you want to share?
“Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss.” Life is a constant flow of opportunities, and I know that if I had not come I would have regretted it.
What would you say to people back home wondering whether to come or not?
I think every person should have the experience of leaving their country. We cannot miss out on so much beauty, it is a big mistake. Sometimes it is a difficult decision and lots of people think you have to be brave to go so far away…but I am not brave, and here I am. It is incredible how, once you are here, the distance between here and Spain shrinks away to nothing. The people who love you are still there. Coming here has taught me that.
Lots of students come here planning to find work in Australia to help pay their expenses. Any tips?
I am not going to say that finding a job is as easy as anything because I have known people who have found it hard, but of course it is a lot easier than in Spain. I am especially talking about non-qualified jobs. You can find work if you put some effort in, put a big smile on and, of course, know how to communicate with some basic English. I think the most important thing is to be efficient and to work at it. To find a job quickly, you are best looking at the restaurant business – there is a lot going here. There is also a demand for babysitters and au pairs, plus they tend to have great conditions.
Anything else you want to add?
If you are one of those adventurers who are not scared of anything, what are you waiting for? And if you are someone who has to think twice – like me – what are you waiting for? Time flies here, so before you know it you will be back in Spain with memories of an incredible experience. Come here with enthusiasm, open your eyes to everything, do heaps of things and learn from each and every person you meet.
Discover more stories from students in Australia on our blog. If you want to join them, do not hesitate to contact us and we will help you take the leap.
Let’s Go Australia!