When Camila met ‘English’ for the first time

Camila Mardones Abrilot from Chile is improving her job prospects in the business sector thanks to winning a UQ and QANTAS Chile social media competition. Camila received 10-weeks of English language studies at ICTE-UQ as well as return flights from Santiago to Brisbane with QANTAS Airways after her entry was selected from 4890 competition submissions.

Entrants in the competition were asked to write a 96-word submission on what it would be like to board the QANTAS 747 to first day of class at ICTE-UQ.

Camila’s winning entry:

Me and English never get along, like those platonic romances that make you upset. “Maybe I'm not his type”. I thought, until this came along: QANTAS offered himself to act as a Cupid and without hesitation, I embarked on this. Already on the Boeing 747, I was going over and over again in my mind what I was going to say when we first meet. Once I arrived at The University of Queensland, nervous, I entered into the classroom and he looked at me. I felt that connection between us, as if this was the moment we were expecting. At last, we were understanding each other. Then, I just knew we would go back together to Santiago. 

Camila was presented her ticket by Commercial Manager, South America at QANTAS Airways Klaus Becker, the Australian Ambassador to the Republic of Chile Robert Fergusson and the Manager International Relations, South America for ICTE-UQ Carolina Rasse.

L to R: Klaus Becker, Robert Fergusson, Camila Mardones Abrilot and Carolina Rasse


University of Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) Professor Iain Watson (pictured left) met with Camila to congratulate her and welcome her to UQ.

Camila tells us about her experience winning the competition and her time at ICTE-UQ:

When I was a child, I used to write short stories and in adolescence, I loved to write in my journal and fill it with stickers and photos. Also, with the girls in my class, we used to send each other long letters that I still keep.

Moreover, I used to dream of being a student in another country, but I grew up and I got a job in Santiago.

This year, I was unemployed and I was hoping to recover my personal projects for myself because I was unhappy the last time in my job.

I was organising my wedding when I saw the post on facebook about the competition "the best experience in Australia" from QANTAS Airways and ICTE-UQ. It was a message from my husband, so I did pay attention.

“Write a short story,” it said – it seemed entertaining. I had been thinking about it all week. After several tries, I decided to write about my own history, but with a pinch of imagination. I thought of the English language like a person that doesn't want to fall in love me and I'd like to conquer it in Australia.

I was very nervous because many people participated and everyone wanted the scholarship, but the entire time, I was positive and I imagined the moment that I'd see my name in the results and how I'd tell my husband - I won!

And that's how it happened. I was in shock. My short story was chosen among 4890 stories. I felt that my dream came back to me.

I received my prize in an enjoyable lunch with the ambassador of Australia in Chile and representatives of QANTAS Airways and ICTE-UQ. They helped me with the next process.

I've been to Australia before, when last year I made a visit on my trip to Southeast Asia. I decided to visit some friends in Brisbane for Christmas and then for New Years we stayed some days in Sydney. Two of my friends were studying in ICTE-UQ so the idea of studying there seemed fantastic!

After my marriage, I arrived in Australia. With my husband, we had an entertaining honeymoon doing scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns. When I started the classes at ICTE-UQ, he left for Chile and I was ready for my new challenge.

In Brisbane, I live in homestay very near to the University. I have a big room and good food, it is very comfortable and convenient for me.

The University is amazing, we have everything here, many green areas, a beautiful lake, good sports facilities, varied food court, banks, pharmacy, hair salon, many spots for study and travel agencies.

I like when there are activities on Campus, like the Wednesday markets and breakfasts in UQUnion. I love the gifts and merchandise at the University too.

In the classroom, there are no more than 18 people and we sit in groups. The teachers are very dynamic and quick, this is very good because they have my attention all time. All activities are conversations with my classmates and the topics are about life in Brisbane, like our Aussie goals, the city, foods, job interviews, shopping, holidays, etc.

I participate in the ICTE-UQ activities like Yoga, Zumba and conversation with UQ students.

I have friends here from different countries and English levels as well, which is very good for improving my English.

I've been enjoying Brisbane, walking around South Bank, shopping in the city, seeing the beautiful lookout in Mt Coot-tha, riding the City Cat, going to the Gold Coast and Stradbroke Island with my friends.

I really hope to continue enjoying Australia because I will never forget this big chance in my life.

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Last updated:
1 June 2018