Carla is known at SisterWorks as a beacon of positivity, always laughing and joking with everyone she meets. Her story is full of ups and downs, but ultimately Carla’s determination acts as an inspiration to us all.
In 2016, Carla was looking to travel, and her sister’s friend told her to come to Australia. Her friend painted a “perfect picture of a plan” to earn money in Melbourne and continue her travels in Asia. But when Carla arrived in Melbourne, her friend had an emergency and had to get home to Chile. Alone in Australia, Carla felt lost and confused about what to do. She didn’t have a job and was nervous and scared about starting a new career and life in a strange country by herself.
Before coming to Melbourne, Carla worked in the education sector. “Back in Chile, I was a teacher, and I was really passionate about teaching. My dream was to become a Principal. That was my journey, my clear path. I start to study different things. I built all my experience”.
However, now in Melbourne, she felt that those once clear dreams no longer existed. ” When I come to Melbourne [my dreams] were nothing. I was totally lost at what to do.”
Carla felt that despite previous working as a teacher, she was now starting from “ground zero”.
“I felt that all the things I was doing in my life were meaningless. [Her previous experience] didn’t have any weight in Melbourne. My first experience in an interview here in Australia, I was really nervous, but also really excited… they called me to a second interview, and I thought maybe this is going to work out. I talked about all my experience, all my jobs, all my dreams”.
But Carla didn’t get the job, saying that the feedback she received was that despite the experience she had in Chile, she needed to also have experience here in Australia.
Carla said that after receiving this feedback she became really sad and felt lost. She was confused as to how she was supposed to get experience in Australia, if no one would hire here if she didn’t already have it. “I felt that they closed the door straight away, and I didn’t know how to open the door.”
Trying to stay positive, Carla decided that although no door opened straight into her dream job, “maybe you can open a window, doing some volunteering.”
She began to think about what motivated her to become a teacher in the first place, realising that she wanted to help others. “Education is needed in different things and in different ways.”
She didn’t need to be in a classroom to help others learn. Once she realised this, she says that “everything changed. My view was way more positive. There was hope; you just need to change a little bit the path.”
This was how Carla came to find SisterWorks. Through volunteering with the Engagement Program and “having the chance to talk with Sisters and teach them some English, giving some tips for doing their Instagram and their businesses.”
With her confidence growing, Carla felt that she could “prove to the Australian community that I was able to do the same job that I did in Chile.”
She says the experience “opened my eyes, and I was like maybe I can work in any organisation in Australia now.” Carla has just had her first child, and is excited for what the future holds. She plans to one day use her volunteer experience to gain employment and work in the education sector, just as she had always hoped.