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Embassy Alumni 29 March 2017 - by Lera Tsvetkova, Student, Embassy English Brisbane

Embassy Alumni: Lera from Embassy Brisbane

We recently caught up with Embassy Alumni Lera Tsvetkova who studied English at Embassy Brisbane in Australia. Lera’s story is one of bravery and inspiration, and discovering an accepting and welcoming community in Brisbane, Australia. Lera’s experience shows that students from all cultures, creeds, orientations, or nationalities are able to connect over the shared love of language and adventure while studying English abroad. We are proud and honored to welcome LGBTQ students like Lera at Embassy English!

Embassy brisbane (3)

Tell us about yourself!

I was already living in Australia for 3 years before my course at Embassy English. However, instead of travelling around Australia, I spent time on establishing my foundation in Brisbane by studying, earning a living and connecting with people. It may sound dull for some people but it was inevitable for me.

I am a transgender who started my transitioning (start living as who they are by undergoing several physical, mental and societal changes) when I came to Australia. Despite of the fact that I learnt many tips on the internet, it was clear that there had been no one else started this journey abroad except me at that time, hence I was literally caught up in going through this experiences along with daily chores. Nevertheless, I succeeded the initial stage of transitioning and got used to a new life in Australia with a support from generous people in this country.

Why did you want to learn English abroad?

As a transgender, I was hitting the rock bottom in my birth country due to a lack of understanding and acceptance 4 years ago. Leaving the country was the last resort I had and applying to study at an English school was the first step to live my life. I would have been coming to term with a completely different life in anguish now if I had not taken that opportunity.

Why did you choose to learn English in your host city?

Initially, I moved from the Gold Coast to Brisbane for school. Then after living there for a year, moving to a different city was out of the question due to a load of reliable human connections. Plus, it is not too hectic as a city and has a serene atmosphere around Brisbane river and several parks.

Moreover, public understanding in gender/sexual minorities was quite high in fact, Brisbane police did raise a rainbow flag this year to show their gender/sexuality inclusiveness in police forces. This was a slight  hope for me since a malicious brutality towards LGBT+ people by people in power were a huge problem around the world.

Embassy Brisbane

What did you like most about your school?

It provides a range of programme for individual purposes and has a support system and school activities. On top of that, each teacher does not hesitate giving their time to  students who seek for help such as applying  to study at University, aiming for immigration and struggles in life.

How has your English improved since studying at Embassy English?

Due to an intense, condensed programme in EAP class (English for Academic Purposes) at Embassy Brisbane, I learnt an advanced level of English along with a load of methods for an academic paper, presentations and more.

This has been extremely useful for my study at Australia college.

What’s your favourite memory of Embassy English?

Meeting generous, trustworthy teachers and friends who I still keep in touch with. Also, I never came across any hostile, standoffish attitudes from friends and teachers after my coming out.

 How do you think speaking English will help you achieve your dreams?

English is part and parcel for my dream which is living in Australia.

Embassy Brisbane EAP

What’s your favourite word or phrase in English?

Thinking ‘why did I do that, why was I stupid enough to try that’ is much better than thinking ‘I wish I would’ve done that’.

Weep not for the past, fear not for the future.

Be the first of many.

What surprised you most about learning English?

Not specific for English but learning a new language has a potential that forgetting an old language. This is called “Language Attrition” which is a decay of languages due to a lack of usage. Interestingly, not everyone experiences it but for me it has been 3 years since it started.

What is your dream job or career?

In Australia, running a personal training business with my best friend along with supporting LGBT+ community especially transgenders who have a precarious life and undergo many changes by HRT (hormone replacement therapy). Furthermore, fighting for the equal rights for transgender athletes who desire to participate in sports competitions.

What are your 3 favourite places in your host city or country?


Brisbane city centre.

Fortitude Valley.

Embassy Brisbane (2)

What are your future plans?

After I finished my course at Embassy Brisbane, I have been studying at TAFE at Sunshine Coast for Diploma in Sports Development to pursuit my career as a personal trainer in Australia.This is quite demanding but at the same time it is so rewarding. Moreover, my best friend and I have been planning to run our business in the near  future.

 Would you recommend Embassy English to other students?

I do recommend Embassy English for anyone who is thinking of studying abroad. I will not lie that the price may be high for some people, but whether they seek for English skills, new experiences or a pathway to Australian college and University, Embassy English has a friendly environment, helpful teachers and opportunities to meet their needs and achieve their goals.

Not only transgender like me, but also for other gender/sexual minorities, Embassy Brisbane and Brisbane are one of safe places in my opinion.

A lot of support organisations and communities exist in surrounding areas and also a casual, friendly meet up is held frequently. Of course, it is completely individual when it comes to a discrimination but due to a rapid growth of positive public awareness, there is less likely to concern about ostracism and hate crime.

 Anything else you’d like to include?

It was honoured to have an opportunity to present my voice on Embassy blog. I hope it will be pleasant and informative for all.

Additionally, not only for gender/sexual minorities but for everyone, please take the first step if you really yearn for something. It needs a great deal of courage, resolves and patience and even if you did, it would seem like endless. Nevertheless, it is clearly worthwhile trying!


To learn more about studying English at Embassy Brisbane, contact us today! 

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