Living in the ‘Stone of Playfulness’

Integreat Queensland Community Engagement Facilitator Chang Nguyen may have worked as a program coordinator for NGO’s and lectured Fundamental Law at university however, Chang said she found it difficult to continue pursuing jobs that matched her previous experience when she relocated to Australia from Vietnam in 2017.

“I moved to Australia with my daughter when my husband was awarded a PhD scholarship at Curtin University in Western Australia and from there, we moved to Queensland in 2020, and then to Gladstone in 2022.

“Due to language, cultural, and Australia’s legal system, it was difficult for me to continue pursuing jobs that matched my previous experience and as a dependent visa holder, I was also not permitted to enrol in any course lasting longer than three months.”

Chang said due to the difficulty of finding work in Australia and Gladstone, she began volunteering which not only enhanced her English-speaking skills but allowed her to broaden her networks and get more engaged in the community.

“I began volunteering for Integreat Queensland and worked on their Multicultural Childcare project,” she said.

“I focused on data gathering, analysis, processing, and visualisation to answer specific project questions like why we need a multicultural childcare centre and how that would look.

“After four months of volunteering I was offered a position as a Community Engagement Facilitator for Integreat Queensland’s Flourish Festival. I am currently working on a master plan for the event to deliver a cultural program for the community.”

Now settled in Gladstone, Chang said herself and her husband have grown to love the region and due to habit, has even given Gladstone a label.

“We have a habit of giving the regions we live a label,” Chang explained.

“For example, when my husband and I lived in the Shire of Pingelly in Western Australia, we used to call it ‘Pinglovely’, which in Vietnamese means ‘Yêu Dấu’, meaning when you offer someone a lot of love,” she said.

“Gladstone is known as the ‘Stone of Playfulness’, and in our language, Gladstone also means ‘luck, happiness, and power’.

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