Italian Chiara Suergiu ‘blessed’ to call Albany home while family struggle with COVID-19 in Milan

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamAlbany Advertiser
Chiara Suergiu is about to become an Australian citizen.
Camera IconChiara Suergiu is about to become an Australian citizen. Credit: Kellie Balaam

From Milan to Mt Clarence, Chiara Suergiu has made WA’s south coast her home after falling in love with its freedom and rugged landscape.

The 33-year-old Italian will become an Australian citizen on Wednesday after trading the glitz and glamour of the world’s fashion capital for the relaxed lifestyle of Albany.

Ms Suergiu said it had been a long journey to finally calling Australia home.

After moving to London in 2014 to learn English, she headed to Melbourne.

Her family joined her in Melbourne and travelled part of the east coast before returning to Milan just before COVID-19 swept the globe.

“I am excited and super nervous at the same time. It’s been five years, maybe more, and a long journey to finally reaching the goal of becoming a citizen,” she said.

“It’s a very big step.”

Speaking to the Advertiser at the redeveloped Middleton Beach foreshore, Ms Suergiu glanced out to the sparkling blue waters of King George Sound.

“I had this dream to go to Australia,” she said.

“You watch documentaries in Italy and they talk about the other side of the world where there’s animals that jump and have babies in their pouches, and then there’s the surfers and ocean.

“There’s opportunity here that in Italy at the moment there’s not and I love the landscape, you look at the horizon and it’s open in every direction.

“Australia has just captured me and I’m very glad I could make it to this point.”

Ms Suergiu will be granted her citizenship at the City of Albany’s Australia Day citizenship ceremony at Binalup/Middleton Beach in front of a crowd including 24 of her friends.

She said it would be a surreal feeling given what was happening with COVID-19 on the other side of the world in Italy.

The Lombardy region, which includes Milan, has been the hardest hit by COVID in Italy.

There have been about 36,500 deaths and two million cases in Lombardy, including more than half a million cases so far this month.

She is waiting for the day when she can be reunited with her family and friends.

“It’s very hard been away but I’ve found some friends who are very close to me and they rescued me,” she said.

“I keep talking to my friends and family back home. Their life is horrible, it really is, and meanwhile here I am on the beach and the other weekend I was camping. It’s incredible, I feel so lucky.”

Ms Suergiu said she came to Albany to complete farm work as part of her visa and has not looked back.

She plans to stay in Albany, where she is studying and working in child care.

“I just came to Australia for a new experience, I didn’t expect to fall in love with the country that much,” she said.

“I love nature, I’m always camping, hiking or scuba diving and there is a lot of nature around here.”

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