More than 50 people attended Bundaberg Regional Council's Citizenship Ceremony at the Multiplex today to take part in a celebration that many have been waiting years for.
It was a huge moment for Thailand-born Lalita Miller, who said ever since she received her invitation, she had been bursting with excitement.
“It's a very important day for me,” Lalita said.
“I've been in the region for about six years years now. I grew up in Woodgate and then moved to Bundaberg to finish my schooling and start a career.”
Lalita said the transition from Thailand to Bundaberg had been daunting at first, with a whole new language to learn and new friends to make.
“It was a big change. I went from hardly speaking any English at all to straight into an English-speaking classroom,” she said.
“I wasn't sure what my teachers were saying at first!”
Things started to click for Lalita with the help of her classmates and her willingness to learn.
“I went from getting Cs and Ds at the start of Year 8 to getting As and Bs,” she said.
The move from Thailand to Australia was one that Lalita said had shaped her entire life and had given her more opportunity to progress academically.
“My stepdad is Australian and he wanted me to move over here for opportunities, better education and for a career,” she said.
“In Thailand, there is not much to do and not many ways to further yourself.
“I was pretty lucky that it happened because there is so much opportunity here in terms of work.”
Lalita said even though she had travelled to the bigger cities of Australia, the Bundaberg Region was still her preferred choice when it came to calling somewhere home.
“I love Bundaberg,” she said.
“I really enjoy being able to drive out of my house and get a park anywhere and to go to the shopping centre whenever I want without the traffic.
“The people are friendly around here. Everyone knows everyone and I like that.”
Apostol family take part in citizenship ceremony
Catherine Leviste-Apostol was at the ceremony with her family and said moving to Bundaberg from the Philippines 10 years ago was the perfect choice.
“We have been here for the last ten years and we embrace the culture and would like to stay here for the rest of our lives,” she said.
“Bundaberg is a serene and a family-friendly town and we just fell in love with the peaceful environment.
“I am a GP so we decided to move for work and we want to raise our kids in an environment that is peaceful with more opportunities to live a better life.”
- Other news: Bundaberg celebrates Australian Citizenship Day 2019