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Natalia - Colombia - South Metropolitan TAFE (Perth)

Natalia Murcia García has always had a passion for fashion. This drove her to learn more about her craft in Colombia and as an international student in Perth. During her time in Australia, Natalia began volunteer work which opened her eyes to the joys of helping and supporting the local community. This is her #InThisTogether story.

#InThisTogether with Natalia Murcia García

A life in fashion

I have always had an interest in fashion.

Starting in eighth grade at high school, I worked backstage at fashion shows which led me to study fashion design at a university in Colombia. Since graduating in 2007, I have worked in a range of roles throughout the fashion industry in my home country.

My husband and I moved to Perth in 2016 looking to work, study and develop our English. This is where I decided to expand my skills in fashion to keep up-to-date with changes in the industry.

I wanted to learn more about the business side of the fashion industry. That is why I decided to enrol in an Associate's Degree of Fashion Business at South Metropolitan TAFE in Bentley.

At first, I was anxious because I was coming back to the classroom ten years after graduating. I also needed to learn a whole new education system in a country I had never been before but it has been a fantastic journey!

Improving career readiness as an international student

I found an immediate sense of comfort in Australia which helped me be confident enough to put myself out there to find opportunities that would build my resume. However, I know that for many this can be an intimidating prospect. Networking and putting yourself out there makes a world of difference but I know it can be scary and challenging to most people.

You can start by letting your lecturers know what your expectations and goals are from your degree and letting them know what you want to achieve. I am sure they will be more than happy to guide you and it could significantly improve your career experience.

I am also a believer in spotting opportunities where no one else can. Sharpen your observation skills and great ideas can turn into invaluable business opportunities!

We all have a unique set of skills that make us different - use that to your advantage and do not be afraid to expose yourself to new experiences.

Volunteering in Australia

One easy way international students can improve their career readiness is through volunteering. I believe that volunteer experience is not only beneficial to your future, but a great source of fun and enjoyment.

Volunteering work is ingrained in Australian society and therefore greatly appreciated. If you volunteer at something that resonates with you I can guarantee you will enjoy it from day one.

I have acted as an international student mentor, an airport greeter for new students, a volunteer dresser at fashion shows and I am now a StudyPerth Student Ambassador.

I volunteer to display my experience, acquire new skills and knowledge, strengthen my existing skills, expand my mind and give me more tools to build a path to accomplish my dreams. Whether those dreams are here in Australia or back home.

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