Luis Ochica

by | Jun 14, 2024 | Student Stories | 0 comments

Born in Bogota, Columbia, Luis was always surrounded by a large extended family. As well as his parents, brother and three sisters, he had many cousins around his own age. Of course, this meant family gatherings were large including uncles, nephews and nieces. Luis is fortunate that one of his sisters now lives in Sydney, so he gets to visit her a few times each year.

Life in Bogota is diverse in terms of culture, biodiversity and both land and seascapes. Columbia’s food and music are unique and much prized by its proud citizens. However educational opportunities saw Luis leave his homeland to study an Advanced Diploma of Engineering at TAFE Queensland in Brisbane while searching for a suitable University at which to further his studies. He discovered that Toowoomba was one of the most affordable cities in Australia, had low crime rates and the distance for travelling from one side of this regional city to the other was very short. These features clinched the choice for him.

Having moved to Toowoomba to study a Bachelor of Engineering Science at UniSQ and follow his passion for the engineering industry, he was fortunate to find part-time work as a casual in the International Admissions Department at UniSQ. This meant he could study and work at the same time. Although he graduated in 2019, the global COVID pandemic put a hold on his engineering aspirations.

Post-Covid, and with his Permanent Redidency granted, Luis has still been unable to find an engineering position in Toowoomba despite being a large city with expanding infrastructure. In theunis meantime, he has continued to work at UniSQ and developed another passion for helping other International students to come and succeed in their studies and career lives.

Toowoomba is a place where it is easy to become part of the community. After living in the bustle of Brisbane for four years, he found the people in Toowoomba very accepting and always friendly. Traffic is far less of an issue and the lifestyle is much better than elsewhere.

To try to encourage other Columbians to make the move to Toowoomba, Luis is honest about its features and opportunities. Enjoying few traffic troubles, enjoying a cheaper housing/rental and daily living lifestyle, quality, clean shopping and sporting facilities and activities abound. Everyone’s interests are catered for. He tries to encourage those interested in the Agriculture industry to pursue study in Toowoomba. Toowoomba and its surrounding region is rural, and has a huge investment in agricultural production and marketing through its extensive transport network. There is future potential in this growth area.

Culturally Toowoomba is multi-faceted, and the diversity of the international student profile as well as a close-knit Latin community make Toowoomba a harmonious and inclusive place to live and grow a family. Toowoomba’s educational offerings are second to none across Australia.

Luis has worked hard in his eleven years in Australia. It was not easy gaining Permanent Residency, and this year he will become an Australian citizen. He now calls Australia home. With his partner and two dogs, he finds contentment in the home they bought five years ago, and they frequently travel to their home countries to the families they miss – but ” we always look to come back to Australia and Toowoomba ‘ home’ .”