This Is The Place Where I Belong


Sylvia Horusman first came to Australia for a holiday in 2016. She loved the experience so much that 3 months later Sylvia was living here. A qualified barber, Sylvia originally moved from her home in Indonesia to Melbourne where she found work while undertaking a series of courses including English language, marketing and business studies.   

When Melbourne’s cold weather started to get to her Sylvia began to look at other potential Australian destinations with a more favourable climate and that’s when she discovered the Gold Coast.

“I was looking for somewhere new to live, a place warmer than Melbourne. For an Indonesian Melbourne is way too cold. The Gold Coast feels like Bali, but higher level. Aside from the weather the Gold Coast appealed to me because it’s a regional destination which makes it easier to get permanent residency”, she says.

More Opportunities

Once she’d decided on where she wanted to go Sylvia immediately began looking for new study options and settled on cookery. “I’ve been cutting hair for 12 years now, so I’ve really been looking for a new vocation. The Gold Coast is Australia’s tourism capital so I think there will be a lot of opportunities in the hospitality industry here.”

Blue skies and sunshine on the Gold Coast were a big part of the appeal for Sylvia

The real problem for Sylvia was her timing. With a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus in Victoria it was difficult to get out of Melbourne she said.

“There was no certainty because every day the restrictions were changing as the pandemic worsened. Border closures, lockdown, flights cancelled.”

Accommodation Grant

It was then that she heard about and applied for the Gold Coast Student Accommodation Grant, which offers up to 10 weeks’ free accommodation and meals for students who relocate to the city and enrol to study here.

“I’m very lucky to have received the Student Accommodation Grant, because when I landed at the airport here the authorities wanted to know where I was going to stay after my quarantine period finished. When I showed them that I was the recipient of the grant I had evidence that I had somewhere to stay.”

After quarantining for two weeks in a Gold Coast hotel Sylvia moved straight to her homestay family’s residence. “A few days after I moved in with my homestay family I went to a nearby shopping centre. I asked the barber shop if they needed any staff and the next day I started work there. I feel very lucky”, she said.

Even though Sylvia didn’t know anyone on the Gold Coast before moving here she says the Gold Coast Student Hub has been incredibly supportive and has made her mov e so much easier. “I really love the Gold Coast Student Hub. To be honest, I think it’s one of the best things about this city. I feel very welcome here. This is the place where I belong.”    

Find out more about the Student Accommodation Grant here.

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