With the exception of being on opposite sides of the globe, the beaches of Brazil and Queensland’s Gold Coast are remarkably similar, according to Luiz. He arrived in Queensland about nine years ago, in pursuit of love and learning, and now finds himself comfortably entrenched in the Gold Coast lifestyle. Graduating with a Bachelor of Information Technology from Southern Cross University in 2019, Luiz currently works on the IT service desk and in applications support at the head office of aged care provider Feros Care in Coolangatta. He also holds a Diploma in Software Development from TAFE Gold Coast and is an avid believer in the power of education.

Q. What was the motivation to move from Brazil to Australia?

I was actually thinking of moving to Europe, but then I met a woman who was to be my wife. We met two months before she was moving to Australia. I had never thought of moving to Australia but said, ‘OK’. And I like this place. The culture is amazing, the weather is the same as I grew up with in Brazil, and the city reminds me a lot of my home city. So instead of going to feel the cold in Europe, I moved to where it is extremely hot again!

Q. When you were studying at SCU you were an international student ambassador. What did that role entail?

I worked as a host, receiving international students and assisting them though the whole orientation week and then with whatever support was necessary. Because I was a bit older than the majority of students coming to study in Australia, to get into uni I had to go through a lot of steps. It took me a few years of living on the Gold Coast to get my English to an acceptable level for university. It’s not just about learning to ask for fish and chips, it’s about learning how to speak and how to write more formal English in a university environment. It took me a while but then I had the background of having taken that path that I could offer to new students as a support. I already went through it and saw how to do it.

Q. Do you still work as a student ambassador?

I wish! The international student ambassadors at SCU say that when you are an ambassador you are always going to be an ambassador. I wish I could do it again. I just loved it.

Q. What’s your favourite memory of your student days?

It is funny because my first degree in IT was a three-year course at the College of Technology Rubens Lara in Santos in Brazil, which was beachfront as well. It was so close to the water that I literally just had to cross the street and I was at the beach. At SCU we did not go to the beach as often as I would have liked to go, but it was worth it when we went!

Q. Did you enjoy studying on the Gold Coast?

I love to study. I love the process of learning something new and I believe you should never stop studying. Education is the way to change the future. There would be less problems in society and people would be more kind and more understanding if they had knowledge.

Q. Will you study again?

It is something I miss. I was actually thinking I should do a masters or something, or even a second degree. My wife just started uni this year. She is also studying for a degree in IT. That tempts me to want to go back and study too.

Q. What would you say to someone who is considering studying on the Gold Coast?

One of the good things about the Gold Coast is that there are quite a few universities, so it is very common to see or meet someone going through the same issues as I did as a student. It is reassuring to know you are going to meet a lot of people who can give you good advice and be very receptive, very sensitive to what you are going through. Because the Gold Coast is such a small place compared to other cities, everything is kind of connected somehow. And then the environment is amazing. You go to the beach, or you go to the mountains with their marvellous waterfalls. The Gold Coast is just perfect for that. It is such a privilege to live here.