Percy arrived in Perth in 2009 at the age of 19. He completed a foundation studies course and then moved on to his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering. He chose Perth specifically because he hoped to work in the mining industry for a few years after he graduated, before probably returning to China. But he also wanted to live in a smaller city, without a large Chinese population – he felt this would enable him to meet local people and learn about different cultures more quickly. Percy worked in an Italian restaurant while he was studying. He made close friends at work as well as at university, where he volunteered for many student activities.
As Percy was studying for his final exams, his mother became very ill and passed away. His father chose not to tell Percy about this until after he had completed his study, as he didn’t want Percy to be disrupted at this crucial time. Percy got to spend some time with his father in China after graduating, and then returned to Perth. He had a temporary graduate visa and was determined to find an engineering job in the mining sector. This proved very challenging as the mining boom in Western Australia was winding down, and jobs were scarce. Employers also often insisted candidates had permanent residency (PR) or citizenship. In the meantime, Percy got a job through a friend as a patient support officer in a hospital. Although the shift work was tiring, Percy enjoyed working on the ward and spending time with his co-workers. Although Percy still wasn’t sure he wanted to stay in Australia forever, he decided to apply for PR as he thought it would help him to find a professional job in his field. Percy studied for two months and sat an exam to become an accredited Mandarin-English translator. This qualification, along with his engineering degree, gave him a high score in the skilled migration points test, and he received PR in 2015.
Percy started his own translation business after he achieved PR. He juggled this business with working at the hospital, keeping up with his professional networking in engineering, and volunteering with some Chinese community associations. In 2015, Percy also started considering different career paths, and took a job as an education consultant for a migration agency. After gaining some experience, he moved on to a bigger agency, and worked hard learning the ropes of the industry as quickly as he could. Although it was not the career he had originally planned, Percy was optimistic that this job could be a great foot in the door to new opportunities.
Percy now sees his future in Australia. He is looking forward to one day buying a house, starting a relationship and having a family. He still misses his father a lot and speaks to him constantly but going back to his hometown is starting to feel a little unfamiliar. Everything there is changing very quickly, and Percy has become really accustomed to Australian culture and the Perth lifestyle. He’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to become an Australian citizen, mostly because not having a Chinese passport will make it more difficult for him to go back to China if he needs to one day take care of his father. Percy sees his experiences in Australia as really crucial to making him the person he is today. He thinks he has become more mature, outgoing and open-minded, and despite the challenges and some difficult times, he said he was extremely grateful for all the wonderful things he has experienced. The biggest challenge for Percy of his experience is losing time with his parents, and especially not getting to say goodbye to his beloved mother. He focuses now on working hard and living a life his mother and his father would be proud of.