Jennifer Cruz daughter of Colombian immigrants

Union members in the construction industry celebrated a four-day Australia Day weekend in late January. ETU steward Matt Potts asked young ETU member Jennifer Cruz to talk about her family’s heritage and what it means to her to be Australian. As a multicultural union and society it’s important to celebrate the broad range of diversity and cultures in our lucky country! This is Jenn’s story.

I love our country and I’m so proud to be Australian!

I’m a 23-year-old, second-year apprentice who was born and raised in Australia. I’m heavily influenced by my parents’ Colombian culture, and because of this I can speak both English and Spanish. I’m just as proud of my South American heritage as I am of being an Aussie!

My dad and his immediate family came to Australia for a better life. My parents were already dating then, so my mum followed him and they married here, both at 18 years of age. It took my parents 22 years to get back to Colombia; I think mainly because they were too busy having eight kids!

I love how multicultural our country is, not to mention the food! We have so much variety due to how multicultural we are; it’s all so delicious – the standard of our food is amazing!

Whatever makes you happy

I feel like most Aussies are very open-minded, accepting, nice and chilled people. Being an Aussie means you can be and do whatever you want, and whatever makes you happy. For me and my family this is the land of opportunity! I thank my lucky stars that I live in such an amazing country which has given me the chance of realising my dream of becoming a sparky, which is not common. I’ve certainly felt welcomed into the industry by my fellow ETU members during my short apprenticeship, which feels great!

On Australia Day I enjoyed a delicious BBQ while having a drink with friends and family to celebrate how lucky we are to be living here in Melbourne – ranked the world’s most liveable city for six consecutive years!

This article is from the Autumn 2017 issue of the ETU's members magazine. You can read the digital edition here.