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Student Stories – Caroline Fernandes

Blog | Brisbane | Glen Rd

Atira Glen Road resident Caroline Fernandes arrived in Australia after living in Saudi Arabia, India, Germany and London. How did she end up studying a Master of Social Work in Brisbane? Let’s find out.

Where were you living before arriving at Atira Glen Road?

I had been living in India for the past 9 years before I came here. I was born in Saudi Arabia, I lived in Germany and London too. My dad’s a scuba diver and works for Chevron hotels, so he gets to travel a lot and so did I.

Did you get into scuba diving too?

I did but then we went to India, and I just lived in the one city, so I didn’t get to travel much. Bombay is like Sydney, but you don’t have beaches there.

Where did you spend most of your time growing up?

Most of my time from my mid-teens to my early twenties was in India.

What got you interested in social work?

Psychology was something I was always interested in and always wanted to do. I started working with one of the clinics in Bombay when I was 19, and the work ethic there was unbelievable. I worked there for over a year, then I just decided that I couldn’t do that anymore, too hectic.

How was your initial University experience?

I was looking at universities and I’ve been around a lot. I tried Germany first, but then I wasn’t very fluent with my Deutsch given that I had already learnt two different languages in India. I tried, but unfortunately, I didn’t get through, so I thought that I should just move on.

Why Germany, and how did you end up in Australia?

I have family in Germany and I love that country, it’s so beautiful. My family lives in a small country town a little near Berlin. And I didn’t get through, so I thought ‘Ok, maybe Canada or Australia.’ I really wanted to come to Australia too because my best friend was already studying in New Zealand, so I thought it’s a bit closer. I started looking and applied to various Universities. I’ve always loved Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s so rich nature wise and everything is so beautiful. It’s very laid back and I wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

How did you end up at Atira Glen Road?

I arrived in Brisbane and it was one of the first places I saw, I call this my house, it’s my home. I booked Atira on the 27th of October 2017 when it was still under construction, and it ticked all the boxes. I asked one of my friends to come and look at the locality, he came all the way across to Brisbane from New Zealand just to see it. It’s been amazing. Little did I know how much I’d love this place. I didn’t know that I’d work here as an RA (Resident Assistant), but it has taught me so much. This is my first time living away from home. I was 23 when I came here. It was different, but it was nice, very nice. It wasn’t a bad culture shock. It’s funny because I didn’t speak to any of these people here for about 7 months, I didn’t used to go to the events, all I’d say was good morning and good night. Then I started meeting people and I got this role. It has been an amazing experience.

What has being an RA taught you?

I think being an RA has allowed me to learn so much, the team is so nice. Sure, there may be occasional disagreements, I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned here is that you have to adjust yourself to the situation rather than expect the other person to bend to you. Over the Christmas holiday, there were just two of us here and although it was so busy and crazy here with the summer semester, it was really good. All of the residents come up and talk to you. It’s been a wonderful experience, I can’t even put it into words how grateful I am to be living and working here. Everyone from the full-time staff, the senior RAs, everyone is so amazing. It’s so flexible. Everything is really nice.

What are your plans for the future?

I graduate this year, but I want to do a 2nd masters. I haven’t decided yet. I want to be here for a while, my dad works in the United States, I don’t want to go there, I’d rather stay here. As for going back home, I just don’t feel like it. It’s not my place, it’s never been my place, and my mother told me that I’m meant to be out doing what I’m doing here. Next as far as travelling would either be Canada or Japan, those are the two places I would love to travel to.

Any last words?

I love it here, being here is everything. It’s so chill, there’s nothing to complain about. I just have to come down in the lift and start working, though it doesn’t feel like work. If you’re living in a third world country, this is a luxury. Everyone appreciates the time we spend helping the residents. I love this. I could keep talking on and on about what I do.

That’s it for the 2nd edition of ‘student stories’. Stayed tuned for more interesting interviews from Atira residents Australia-wide.


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