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Brazilian Architectural Designer's Australian Dream: Life, Work & Becoming a Registered Architect

Updated: Sep 11, 2021

In episode 10 of Think Big, we move on from talking about presentation skills to talking to Brazilian architectural designer Gabriela Fernandes. We discuss her journey from Brazil to Australia and the ongoing process to become a registered architect in Australia and where she is up to in the process.

We discuss:

✨ Learning English as an architecture professional

✨ Different books and resources to learn vocabulary

✨ Architecture Registration in Australia with overseas qualifications

✨ Networking, putting yourself out there and staying connected to your culture

In today's interview, I wanted to know a little more about her story and how she came to be in Australia including all the challenges she overcame. I was so impressed by her bravery and her willingness to put herself out there that I just felt like I had to share her story because I know so many of you go through a similar journey. As well as discussing her story and her connection to Brazilian architecture in Australia, we discuss some of her favourite books for learning architecture vocabulary and her tips for similar professionals and students in her situation.

I want to say thank you so much to Gabriela for being so open, honest and brave enough to share her story. She has been kind enough to offer her contact details to anyone who would like to know more about her story and experience. You'll find her on Instagram here where she shares some of her favourite projects writing her captions in both English and Portuguese.

Books & Resources

Here is her top list of books:

Vocabulary books:

📚A Visual Dictionary of Architecture, Francis D. K. Ching

📚Introduction to Architecture, Francis D. K. Ching, James F. Eckler

📚Neufert Architects’ Data, Ernst Neufert

📚Metric Handbook: Planning and Design Data, Pamela Buxton

Books that helped to learn more about the Australian Architecture industry as a recent graduate:

📚Building Your Own Home, George Wilkie

📚101 Things I Didn't Learn in Architecture School: And wish I had known before my first job, Sarah Lebner

The Architect Project

Books that Gabriela read in Portuguese and I loved the pleasure to read again in English:

📚Learning from Las Vegas, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour.

📚Atmospheres: Architectural Environments, Peter Zumthor

📚The Death and Life of Great Cities, Jane Jacobs

Overseas Architecture Registration in Australia

✨ Connect with me on LinkedIn Tara Cull

Brazilian architects shown at the Brazilin Architects Tribute

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You know it's time to make a change and you've got to start somewhere. In the evaluation and action plan, you will get my best tips so you stop the self-doubt and start taking action now. Take me to the action plan



to put yourself out there - to do things you're afraid of despite the challenge

architectural designer - may refer to a building designer who is not a registered architect

the day by day - the daily routine

day by day - (without the article 'the' little by little

in the first place - as the first consideration or point - to begin with, or to start with


Quick Find Snippets - Take me straight to these sections

Top 3 tips Transcript

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:00

You're listening to Think Big Episode 10

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:12

Hello big thinkers and welcome to Episode 10 of Think Big English for architects. I'm your host Tara Cull, landscape architect, English teacher and communication coach for ArchiEnglish, at ArchiEnglish I coach people in the built design profession as well as students of architecture and landscape architecture. So I lecture in a university in Thailand, and I help them to speak English when English is their second language, and to build outstanding communication skills within the architecture profession, so that they feel more confident to speak up. You can learn more about my coaching programmes and upcoming courses at In today's episode, we're moving on from talking about presentation skills. So I've been talking about presentation skills over the last three episodes. And now we're going to talk about the journey of being a non native English speaker, wanting to live and work in an English speaking culture as an architect or working within the architecture profession. So as a landscape architect, as an urban designer, an interior designer. And I wanted to do this because I really wanted to share the stories of people who have already done it before. They may be something that you may be thinking about moving to an English speaking culture. Or perhaps you work in a culture where you have to speak English occasionally with clients. So I wanted to share the stories of others. And we're going to start today, I first wanted to share the story of Brazilian architectural designer, Gabriela Fernandes. So we're going to discuss her journey from Brazil to Australia, and her ongoing process of becoming a registered architect in Australia. And we'll find out where she is up to in that process. In today's interview, I wanted to know more about her story and how she came to be in Australia. I was so impressed when I first spoke to Gabriela I was so impressed by her bravery and her willingness to just put herself out there that I just felt like I had to share this story with you, because I hope that it inspires others to also take on that bravery and put themselves out there. And I know that there are a lot of you that are going through quite a similar journey. As well as discussing her story and her connection to Brazilian architecture in Australia. We discuss some of her favourite books for learning architecture vocabulary, and also her tips that other professionals in a similar situation, or students in a similar situation, could really try to use as a way of improving vocabulary and improving your confidence in the workplace. Personally, I think it's important to be able to learn and to grow by listening to the stories of others who have come before you. Obviously, we're all on a different journey. We're all in different stages of our journey, but it certainly helps when you hear somebody else talking about how they've overcome a challenge. So I wanted to say a big thank you to Gabriella for being so open. So honest and brave enough to share her story in this interview. She even mentioned to me at the end that she was a bit stressed because she was talking to an English teacher. And I think it's okay. And I think that for me is such an amazing aspect of being able to put yourself out there and really give it a go despite the possibility that you might make mistakes and it's okay, it's okay to do that. She's also been kind enough to offer her contact details to anyone who would like to know more about her story and her experience. So I will put her Instagram contact details in the show notes. So if you want to find her there and you want to ask her questions, you can send her a message. So a little more about Gabriela. Gabriela Fernandez is an architectural designer, and she's working towards architecture registration in Australia. So in just to let you know, as an architect, in Australia, you can only be called an architect when you have done your registration. So that's why we refer to people who work in architecture, who don't yet have their registration they may be referred to as a number of different things. And in this case, we say architectural designer. So let's find out more about Gabriela's story, and I will meet you again at the end of the episode.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 04:54

Gabriella, thank you very much for joining me today on the podcast. It's always good to have an Other voice, especially people who have come from outside of Australia to now be working in Australia, as an architect or a designer, it's also good for people to hear other people's voices. That's not just mine. So, welcome to the podcast.

Gabriela 05:15

No. Thank you very much, Tara. And first of all, I want to say thank you as well, for inviting me to your podcast, I really appreciate what you are doing? It's a it's really important actually, especially, especially for people like me, who came from overseas, and needs to understand a little bit more needs to hear those voices to get inspired.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 05:36

You're welcome. And this is why I do this. Because I know that what what I do is useful for people. And even though I wasn't around four years ago for you, now you can help other people with your story. So I think that's really important. So to begin with, as I begin all of my podcast episodes, could you explain just a little bit about who you are, where you're from, and where you are now? Sure.

Gabriela 06:01

Sure. I am an architect who graduated in Brazil, I am from Bahia, which is my city, I graduated in the University Federal of Bahia (Federal University of Bahia). And nowadays, I am here in Australia, based in Sydney, working for an architectural practice with residential projects, and multi-residential as well.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 06:23

So before we start too, I think, for me, it's really important because we're not just architects, we're not just designers. You know, we don't just define ourselves as one thing. Could you share a fun fact outside of architecture about you?

Gabriela 06:38

The fun fact about me, I would say, that is I used to hate English, I know that you're going to hate me now.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 06:50

It's not It's not uncommon.

Gabriela 06:51

I used to hate English when I was a kid. I don't know why it was so hard for me actually. And when I was in university, actually, I received the opportunity to have an a scholarship to you studying in another country. And I could choose I had to like at least, and I was oh my goodness, which one I gonna choose and I and I was so nervous about it. And I choose it something that it was I choose to go to Madrid we spend and Jenna was was amazing, actually, to have the opportunity to learn another language. Really opened my mind and the way that I see the world, and the way that I understand people and was was a big difference for me, like get out of my comfort zone is studying architecture in another university. But then I have (had) to choose the English and these things to in my mind. So even hating in English. When I finished my university, one of the things that was there was like, I need to try that I need to speak it now. I need these for my Career you know, I really want to have like an international experience at some point. And in this global world in the 21st century, I think that English it's one of the most important languages. So I came to Australia to just study English. Was the first point. And nowadays I cannot believe it that I chose my hometown to (as) Sydney. And I speak English like every day. Even more than Portuguese.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 08:28

Wow, it's amazing that you've gone from hating English to now speaking it every day. And I hope that you love it now. Do you love it?

Gabriela 08:36

Yeah, I do. I do. Actually, It was really hard in the beginning. And I will tell you like when you're learning and you will like you're struggling and you want things it's you can be hating the language. But yeah, but now I like it and you know, have the opportunity to research in more than one language let get the opportunity to know people and understand the jokes. And it's it's just another world that opens for you.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 09:06

Yeah, I can definitely resonate with that having you know, when I moved to France, I didn't speak any other language other than English. I never imagined that I would learn French. I did French in school and I hated it like you. And now I can't imagine not speaking French and you know, it's hard but you put yourself out there you do it, you step outside of your comfort zone. It's like this journey that you go through but you know that it brings something more to your life. I love what you were saying about how when you went to Madrid it really opened up your your world and then again when you went to Australia. So you arrived in Australia after being in Madrid and studying in Madrid. So maybe talk us through that what happened when you first got there.

Gabriela 09:49

So yeah, I want to have this international experience. I chose Australia because I've I don't know was just far and different and and my idea was to have six months learn English. Enjoy, leave. And that's it and come back to my country. But, then my whole life changed in my first week here, actually. So everything happens in my first week

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:20

That was quick.

Gabriela 10:21

That was really quick. So I came to here without knowing (how to) speak English without not knowing anyone here, and no plans at all. Like the only plan was literally just learn English. And just to kind of understand my level of English at this moment, I could not speak really well. But you know, I memorised a few things. I learned how (to) introduce myself. And I subscribed myself in an architecture exhibition. So in my first Well,

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:54

From Madrid, or in Australia,

Gabriela 10:56

No. From Brazil. So I went, I had my exchange in Brazil, I had my exchange in Madrid sorry, I come back to Brazil. I finished my degree there in 2016, December, and two months later, I organised everything to (for) a second exchange in Australia. So 2017, four years ago, I came to Australia, and the focus was learning English, and come back to Brazil. Like, come back to my family, to my work and to everything that I've heard and has everything set up over there you know, like, but as I told you, everything changing in my first week, so I got a job in my first week in architecture area. Wow. Yes. And okay. And they also meet (met) my my partner as well in my my first week, and I'm still working.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 11:54

Wow, and is he Australian? Or Where's he from? He's from Brazil, actually. Wow, that's such an incredible story. You went all the way to Australia to meet your partner, who is Brazilian in Australia.

Gabriela 12:07

I know. I know. I met him my first day here. Yeah, in my first couple of hours. I was lost on the street, I hear some people speaking in Spanish. And I knock (on) his door because I did not know my address. I did not have internet, I did not have anything. And then who open the door, him. He's speaking Portuguese. And I was like what am I doing here? Yeah.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 12:35

Okay, well, that's that's a pretty amazing aspect of the story. Um, and I guess what I'm really interested in is the fact that you got a job in your first week of being in Australia, and you said, You didn't really speak very well. And you felt like you're not at an advanced level. So could you tell us how you got your first job?

Gabriela 12:55

Definitely. So I subscribed in these. In exhibition here. It was like a construction exhibition. That happens every year here in Sydney. And I memorised a few things that I should tell (say) like, how to introduce myself. Who, I was. I printed some business cards. And I went there by myself. And I started to talk to people. So they have a few lectures. They have a few presentations over there. So of course, it was there, like a couple of CEOs of big architectural companies. And I just talked to people like, Hey, how are you? I'm Gabriela. This card and at some point, when the conversation is thought to be more complicated that you say, oh, excuse me, I'll grab some coffee. And that's it. When I get away of the difficult part, I already gave my business card. I already introduced myself, I already said who I was, and I was looking for an opportunity. I used to say that my first opportunity was lucky because I understand I was a recent graduate, I did not have any English skills. And I did not know like how architecture working here the way of the construction legislation, Australian standards, whatever everything that I need now to work as an architect. Um, but I was not shy and I had the courage to speak with people. So I gave my business card to lots of people and two of them called me they gave me an, one of them was out of Sydney and I could not take it but the other one was really nice and I worked at for 10 months, was not as an architect was as a draftsperson. But it was really good to start. And these people were so patient with me actually because I could not speak, but I was very good with the software. And they used to do like markups. They used to write for me what I what I should do. And I, you know, I learned like I translated, I bought some books, I talked to people who (were) was in the same situation as me or already got the first opportunity and already was in a business market. So I stayed 10 months working as a, as a drafter for a couple of developers, builders and engineers. And then they got me the first, the first opportunity to have an interview in an architectural practice.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 15:42

So I guess for me, like listening to speak about that experience, it sounds like you really stepped outside your comfort zone, and just put yourself out there. And you also acknowledge that you didn't have perfect English, but that you were willing and that you were proactive, I guess. Do you feel like that's what really helped you to get the job in the first place?

Gabriela 16:04

Yeah, yeah, I agree with you. Like, I was not afraid. I was not. How can I say shy about introducing myself. And I just, I just want an opportunity to I just want to be around a work environment with an architectural practice or whatever, or anything that I could do, and I knew that English at school will (would) not give me everything. So I had it in my list that I need to work. First thing that I need to live with people that were native speakers. Second thing, and I need to, you know, be close to the English culture, here like to Australian culture, the first thing that I did was the thing that I was passionate about, that was my profession, ah so I went to this exhibition, and I did what I need to done what I need to do, and it works and it works. I don't know how, and don't ask me how which type of conversation, I had had in (at) this point, but (it) really works.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 17:13

So I guess my question to then is thinking about, you said to me the beginning you had intermediate level of English, or it was it was fairly basic, particularly for architecture as well. And then you've worked through a series of different officers. And what what did you do during those jobs and during that time, to improve your English and make sure that you were understanding what was required of you and, and how you needed to do your job as an architect? Well, an architecture designer or I should say,

Gabriela 17:47

Yeah, yeah, actually, this is an important thing. I am an architect in Brazil, I am registered over there, but here I have to say that and I am an architectural designer. And this was something that I learned with the Australian Accreditation, Council of Architects and so things that helped me during this journey, I believe that was work, the work environment helped me a lot. Research as well, everything new words that I learned, I write (wrote) down and I have like these journal, which I have all these new vocabulary read as well was really important. All the architecture books, I just had them in English. And here for I kind of, you know, I already knew what was brought there. So I just do it again. And leave you with people having fun as well was an important part of learning the language. For sure. Yeah, and, and the technical vocabulary was like the day by day as well in the work. Another thing that helped me was the process of recognising my degree here that we can talk about later. And was was like, I spent like one year preparing and everything so it was also like you researching and talking to people and getting, you know, getting prepared for that really helped me like researching new vocabulary and, and everything.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 19:27

So speaking of the resources that you used to help you build your vocabulary and become more comfortable with the language, I know that you've created a list of nine books. We'll put the top five we're going to talk about the top five, but I'll put the rest of the list in the show notes. So tell me what are your top five resources for building vocabulary?

Gabriela 19:51

I have organised it actually like three categories. I'll say the the first one. They are like books that They really helped me more with the architectural vocabulary. Like all those books that I get to say now there are three, they are books that are for consultation, so you don't need to read all in one time (at the same time) And probably you had the opportunity to have access to those during the university as well when you are learning the architectural vocabulary in your own language. So it's just so nice, because have (having) photos, sketches and everything that can help you. So first one, it's a visual Dictionary of architecture by Francis Ching, also for him and James Heckler. The other one is Introduction to Architecture. And, and the number three, it is Neufert Architects’ Data, from the German architect Ernst Neufert, I used it this one quite a lot during the university period as well. And it's for me, it's like the Bible of the ergonomics, you know, so was was really great to have an idea about dimensions about the sizes of each part of you know, furniture, the standards, etc. So I believe that they are great books for you have it in English. The number four, I put it in that category that helped me a lot to understand about Australian industry. And not just if you are from overseas. But actually if you are a recent graduate, for example, I think that can be quite helpful. This one is from an Australian architect, I think that she's from Canberra, I hope that I am right. It's 101 things.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 21:45

Yes. Right. Yes, Sarah's in Canberra.

Gabriela 21:52

So her book, it's it's also another, easy to read full of diagrams and images. And it's, it's really helpful not just to learn English vocabulary, but also to understand how things work here in the industry. So it's 101 Things That I didn't Learn in Architecture School, and I wish I had known before my first job. And I really wish if Sarah is listening (to) us for some reason, I really wish to have that before my first job.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 22:26

I don't know if you know this, but she also has a platform called the architect project, where you can pay subscription and be part of her membership. And she gets people to come and join each fortnight I think it is she does a discussion with people about different topics. And so it's a good way to as you were talking about, you know, in our conversation to network with people. But also it's it's a lot of things sort of centred around the book. So not only does she have the book, oh, does she have the book, she has that extension of the book, which is discussing some of those topics. So that's a great resource. Thanks for mentioning that one.

Gabriela 23:05

Oh, that's so good. That part I did not know, actually, that sounds really interesting to participate in. That's good. Yeah, yeah, she the book is quite good. I think everyone that can get it like it's, it's easy and tells a bit of the daily routine in the office, lots of illustrations about vocabulary, even she briefs even about like, national codes, national construction codes, it's it's quite useful. So also about talking with passion. The last category of my books that I that this list that I have done, it is Atmospheres from Peter Zumthor. I believe that it's a it's a beautiful book, because, because he's just passionate about architecture. And I believe that you as an architect, even having a book that you read it in the university, maybe people had the opportunity to read in the beginning of the university. I believe that it's a book for you (to) read every couple of years for you kind of refresh your love about your profession. Because the way that Zumthor speaks, it is fascinated (fascinating) the way that he put space and sensations together. And he talks about that and talks about that every single piece of a project. It is so important. And sometimes in the daily routine, we just do automatically and we forgot those things. So it's It is a beautiful book for giving you the passion that you may need. It is beginning of a journey in another country. So

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 24:57

Well thank you for that list. And what we'll do We'll add the rest from your nine onto the show notes. But it sounds like for you books, and having those resources are really important to help you build your vocabulary. And what would you say is the difference, I guess, between learning English, but then learning English for being an architect.

Gabriela 25:21

So in the first ten months, in the first ten months here, in the first year, here, I was learning English, I was learning how to speak and how to communicate with people done. And, of course, I was reading, translating using the books that I have read previously, listen podcast, there was something extra, I was not pretty sure if I gonna stay here or not. So in 2018, I decided I want to be in this country, I want to try something in an architectural practice. And that this moment, I sent my portfolio to, to my to my previous boss, he got me an interview in one of the biggest practices architectural practices here in Sydney. I felt Oh, that's incredible, but I was not ready at this point. And I did not get the interview. And I did not get the opportunity. Sorry. I have (had) done three interviews with them was was so was so amazing. They, they, they co received me over the with, with the team, and I had the opportunity to go there to show my work. But I was not prepared. Because not my not because of my level of English at this moment. But because I, I have lots of things to learn at this point. Like legislation, like the way of the construction, so and the software as well. Because this is another thing that I used to say for architects that it's not just about the English. Nowadays, especially in the 21st century, it's really important to project in BIM Building Information modelling. And this is another thing so I used to work in for my in my first job here, and our card that is a software tool team. So this was one of the things that changed me as well, because they told me you have to work with this software. And that was Okay, that's good. I used to work. I learned that in Brazil, but I've never had the opportunity to work with it. So I took the time I prepared myself, I started about (with) the software, I have done a few courses. And and then I started my journey about knocking in each door and looking for a job and then was a bit harder was not in the first week from 2018 took me five months to get the first opportunity. So this was a bit struggling was not that easy, as as I told you or was not like, giving some business card or give me some portfolios and got the opportunity. These I need. I received a couple of No's until until recieving the the positive. The positive answer

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 28:25

From what it sounds like it's that you were able to learn a lot from all the interviews that you had. So you knew kind of what they're expecting. And then you could take, take that into your next interview or your next possible opportunity.

Gabriela 28:39

Yeah, definitely, definitely. This first interview I already received look, you need higher level in this software you need to know about that would that. It be really amazing if you had your degree recognised here. Would be really great if you knew a little bit more about the legislation like Australian standards, the codes and etc. So I started to take all these tips, I'll say like that. And I started to do it by myself. Because even that (though) I already had the experience to and understand a little bit of the construction here. I was just working as a drafter or so I did not have an idea about how we should approve a project in a Council for example. How was all these steps? How is how was how I could coordinate a project for example, what is the documents that you need to support your application because an application with a Council and everything that an architect needs to coordinate it's it's more than, you know, a floor plan or a 3d render, or you know, it's lots of things going on. But one thing that I use that I tell (say) to everyone and especially people from overseas and my colleagues from Brazil and everyone that wants to get an opportunity to it is like you don't need, to know, everything. You need to know where you should do research and what you should research. And this is the point, let's say like that. Because I learned that in the Uni, for example, like I had a teacher that he is just say, like, I'm not teaching you all the legislation for our city you approve a council in for your approval project. For a Council here, because you can be an architect in whatever place that you want. What I will teach you it is that if you build a house, for example, whether you receive the survey, you need to know the setbacks, you need to know the maximum height, you need to know if you have any environmental control rules around that. And then if you know that you need to research about those things. The next question is, where can I find it?

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 31:14

Well, I love what you're saying too, about how you're always learning because as an architect, even an architect who's been working for 30 years, they're always learning, You're not going to know everything, but you need to know kind of what to focus on. And that's, that's really what, why I asked you this question about understanding how you build technical vocabulary, because a lot of people come to me saying, I need to know this, I need to know this, I need to know this. But actually, when we kind of break down the conversation, we don't necessarily need to know that yet. So I think it's really important, as you say, to to be a bit more understand what exactly do you really need and why you need it in that moment, because you're never going to learn everything. So I'm interested to hear because we're talking about your you've had your qualifications recognised, which is a really important step for you, obviously. So can you talk us through through that process? And what's going to happen next?

Gabriela 32:12

Sure, sure. So I have done the overseas qualification assessment in stage one and two combined and with double AC, which is Architects Accreditation Council of Australia. The process that I have done was for Migration purpose, and also because I wanted to be registered. So it's important to make clear that if you just want to migrate in Australia, as an architect, you just need to do stage one, if you want to be registered. And the your degree it is from overseas, you need to do stage one and two. And the stage one is pretty much documentation. So they want to make sure that doing a comparison between your studies and an Australian academic accreditation qualification, they are similar. It's pretty much that so what are you giving in this stage one are pretty much like all the documents from the uni, your syllabus, you give it a cover letter explaining everything and it's like translated documents. But they stage two, it's a bit different. So if you want to become a registered architect and call finally yourself as an architect because because I cannot at this moment. And actually, this should be another fun fact as well. In the moment that I give all those business cards to everyone in these first week here I used to say I am an architect and and the people must hear me saying that like who are (is) this person? Like she could not speak in English at all and she's an architect, how come?

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 34:14

But you know what, sometimes we sometimes we don't know what we don't know, do we so you have to start somewhere. So yeah, interesting. But now you know that you can't say that. So

Gabriela 34:24

yeah, so yeah, I have to say in public now apologise to double ACA and yeah and yeah so the second stage just to come back, it is if you want to be registered and you have to present a portfolio. So when I have done that was like 2018 or 2019. So you have to present a portfolio with four to six projects. One of them needs to be the one that you have done in the university, your final degree project and the other ones need to be projects that you have been involved with. And with this portfolio is not a portfolio for an interview, this was the challenging part it is it is a portfolio that you will have to enter like 46 criteria or something like that. And each criteria is something regarding to the profession, to architecture. So, you have to give answers in the projects that you have participated in about construction methods, for example, about materials about legislation about ethics. And with these you answer all those questions you send to AACA, and after that you're going to have face to face interview. Which you're gonna okay. Yeah, this is the big challenge.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 36:01

So you so you're up to the interview part is that right? Exactly. So

Gabriela 36:05

I have done the interview with, with this with those architects. And was was pretty good actually was was alight was I was so afraid at the point and i and i was not that confident. But it was pretty good. Like, it's, it's just for your show, and you presented the words that you had done. So it's just like a conversation. So you're gonna explain everything that you have put any portfolio, it's all the criterias, some of them, you have to be (have) participated (in), but some of them, you could be just an observer. So you need to understand and to know, the content. But you don't need to be in a high position to pass through this stage. You know what I mean? So I could done (do) that as recent graduate. And I passed it so was positive answer for both stages. And I got that in 2019. But then the next step, now it's because what's happened is now I am in the same situation as an Australian student or whatever the person that is studied, and did a bachelor and a master's degree here in Australia. Now, we both me and another Australian, we need to do the registration pathways, which is which I am doing 3300 hours. It's what I had in this point.

Gabriela 37:48

But you guys can always double check in double ACA website.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 37:55

Yes, of course, we'll have a look, I'll make sure we put the right information. So you

Gabriela 38:00

have like these 3000 something hours on your logbook. I think that 12 months or something like that needs to be with a registered architect and here in Australia. And after prepare (preparing) that what I'm doing, you need to have someone to sign everything that he all the information are (is) true. And you go to a written exam. And after the written exam, you go to another interview. So it's a bit of a journey, you really need to want to do that.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 38:37

Yeah, sounds like you really want to though, which is it sounds very difficult, but I'm sure knowing your story, you're going to be fine.

Gabriela 38:45

I know that a few people here, finish the bachelors finish the masters and take a while to get reducer because you need at least I don't know, two, and two and a half years you complete those 3000 hours. So you need a little a little bit of for it anyway. But I know that people sometimes takes even longer. So my first was here, I think that he took more than 10 he or she get the registration. Because in theory you you need that if you're going through bigger projects, if you want to, of course call yourself as an architect depends off the responsibilities that there is a bit of pros and cons and cons. I'll say like that.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 39:28

Well, it sounds like it sounds like a long journey. But it's when you're dedicated to it. I think it's really important that you you can come through with it and do what you want to do. And something that I'm also really interested in because we were talking about it earlier is and something that a lot of my clients also talk about too is that feeling connected to your own heritage and you know, knowing more about your architecture from where you've come from. So I'm interested to know when you came from Brazil, what did you do, so that you felt connected to, to the architecture of Brazil or to feel connected to your heritage,

Gabriela 40:10

I few people say that when you go to a country, you should just be connected with the culture and native speakers and etc. I agree, in the really beginning, it is really important to kind of go deeper to what will the country that you migrating or that you visiting, can offer you. But after a while, and this was like, after almost two years here, you, if you decided to stay longer, you just, you just need to connect to it again, you know, you just need to connect it with, with with your people is not enough is nothing wrong with that, I will say like that. And I am so proud about Brazilian architects and, and in December, and in the middle of 2018, I received an invitation from a friend. And he had this beautiful idea about do an exhibition. And he and he talked with the people from the Australian Institute of Architects here in Sydney, and they loved it. And they told that was like, amazing. And we could do that. And we started to dream together about that. And they started to build a team to do an exhibition about Brazilian architecture, which we call it like, Brazilian Architects Tribute was the name of the exhibition. So we started to organise that was not just me, it was me him and then all the job partners and organising everything. And of course, was not just with four, we had like lots of volunteers from the Brazilian community like we had, we have lots of architects here that they are from Brazil, especially in the construction industry as well like engineers and designers, etc. And we started to connect to everyone to to voluntary was like not not How can I say it was not to have a profit was we don't want to sell that was not for profit was not for profit. Exactly. So it was just because we want to show our architecture to the Australians and to everyone here. So we organised that we had the support of the Australian Institute of Architects with the Brazilian Institute of Architects and with the Embassy of Brazil, it was just unbelievable how things become so (much) bigger. We have done the exhibition in here in Sydney, the Australian Institute of Architects in the in their place, and we have travelled around and we did the day of the independence of Brazil in Canberra, and in the Embassy of Brazil, they're well and was was just was just so great and really, really unbelievable. And, and the idea was to show the history, the first edition, the idea was to show the history of Brasilia, the capital of Brazil and to show a bit of the story of the award architects from Brazil like Oscar Niemeyer, Lina bo Bardi, Paulo Mendes da Rocha that diet, unfortunately this year. And, and, and they and we also presented like the current production as well what the architects they are the Brazilian architects are doing now and their local production, because we already have a few artists that they have been reduced to here. And they are doing projects here and the back to 2018 they have a few projects to show to showcase in the exhibition.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 44:21

So Wow. Sounds like an amazing amazing exhibition to be part of and to organise and to feel connected back to Brazil.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 44:29

Yeah, so so was was pretty great, was really nice opportunity. We meet (met) so many so many peoples. So many architects got involved as well in the in the process. And if someone actually is hearing me and also my partner's I don't know if I'm allowed to say their name,

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 44:49

Of course, if you like.

Gabriela 44:52

But I just want to say thank you again, for all this process that it was like beautiful. The Brazilian Architect Tribute was something special. And, and I also thank you the Embassy of Brazil, and the ambassador that helped us and supported us and believe it as well, because was, was was a great was a great thing that was that was promoted. Yeah,

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 45:21

it sounds like it's a good way to connect back to your culture and your heritage and it when you talk about architects that inspire you and what inspires you, you inspire other people. And I think that's such a interesting thing about architecture is particularly from people around the world is we can share stories and you know, share what inspires us and come up with new innovations. Because we we have intersections between what we're passionate about. So I think that's really great. And I'm, I'm happy that you should share that story. I think it's such an important thing that you did. And, you know, again, another proactive thing that you're doing to make connections with people,

Gabriela 46:00

actually, we after that, they the Embassy of Brazil sent us a letter saying congrats to the exhibition and everything. And we are so proud is like the letter that you want to send to your family to your friends and show. Look what I got. And we went to the Embassy of Brazil was so great. They receivedus over there. And we've got a book actually doing a comparison between the work that has been done about Brasilia City, the capital of Brazil. And also, how was the work that has been done with Canberra, the capital of Australia, and the way that the urbanism has been done in both cities, and they the way that they were project? Of course, they are different, but the aspects of the border and and cities are really similar.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 46:55

Yeah, they it's quite interesting. I remember having those conversations about the similarities between Brasilia and Canberra. So I've got a couple more questions for you. And I don't want to keep you too much longer. But your story is so fascinating. And I think a lot of people particularly, there's a lot of Brazilians, who are architects in Australia, I think that they will really take a lot of value from this conversation, I think, you know, it will be very useful for them. So I'm so appreciative of all the things that you've shared so far. But there's something else that I think I would love to know from you. What are three of the most important things that your story because your story is so important? What has it taught you so far.

Gabriela 47:37

The first thing it is your, to get an opportunity, you need to work hard, but you don't need to be perfect. And I think that people kind of mix up these two things. And as much as you know, you think that you know, less, less, they like that. And you kind of become less confident. And this is about my story as well. Because first time that I came to hear my first week, I was not afraid at all, I did not have anything to say. But I just go through and presented myself and I don't know how. But then after one year working with developers, engineers, and in construction and drawing projects and doing amazing things, I was just so afraid to be in front of an architect. And my first interview was not the way that I expected. And these made me a little bit more afraid. But actually, when I started to realise that every time that I receive it a no, I was closer to receive it a positive answer. I just need to be better than the day before. You know, I just need to learn a new thing. So and if I used to say the first thing is like, work hard, you know, keep trying, but you don't need to be perfect. So the number two actually, it's it's related to to the first one it's about like, do not give up and also is stop to say sorry, you know it this is one thing that I that I see one of your posters, and I think that it was on Instagram that people used to say sorry for the English mistakes and it's you don't need it and I am sorry person and I'm still saying sorry in the middle of a meeting or with my colleagues or with my boss or whatever. But I don't think that it's necessary any it is a thing that I listen a lot In my work environment, it's like, Don't be sorry. Don't be silly. You don't need to say sorry, you know? Because be proud actually, yeah. because English is you, you know, it's again, you don't need to be perfect is just, you need to communicate and the people are going to see that you're working hard. So the everyday you're learning a bit more, you know, and I think that when you say, Sorry, you just bring the attention to a fragile part of you. And actually, you were brave, you are in another country is starting from the beginning, learning everything in a different way, you know, and I don't think that we need this sorry, not for the English we need to sorry for other things. But not for for them.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 51:02

Yeah, great. I love that. And that one, that's something that I'm very passionate about making sure. I remind people not to be sorry for their level of English. So it's good that you mentioned that. Okay, what what is number three? Number two,

Gabriela 51:15

actually, like big passionate? Um, tell people about your work. tell people about your work? What do you do? What do you where you want to be? Which opportunities you're looking for? Because people will help you fewer passionate if people see that could be even people not from industry could be a friend, could be someone that you are related with? If you showcase your work, what do you do? And which opportunities are you looking for? Especially here in Australia, that I believe that it's a country of opportunities, and the construction industry? It's, it's very hot at this moment, very busy. And I think that if you if you show people, what do you want to do at who you are? And what type of work you do? The opportunity, it's gonna, gonna arrive at some point.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 52:22

Yeah, absolutely. And this is something that a lot of architects that I speak to, they say, you know, it's important that you know, how to articulate your values, and what you really are passionate about, because this is this is what's going to get you those opportunities that align with your values and what you really like. So they were three really great examples of things that your story has taught you. So thank you for sharing them. Also, one thing I was going to say, too, is I think it's it's really important, as what you have done is to really look back on your experience and to evaluate what are the great things that have come from it, because we tend to focus so much on what I'm not good at? What do I need to be better at? What do I need to be better at, and if we don't look back enough, and appreciate how far we've come? Then it just makes the process so much harder. So I think, you know, even just having that opportunity to really reflect on the good things is a great thing.

Gabriela 53:18

And now i i agree with you. People want the happy end, let's say like that, people, people wants the best part. And want this to be quick, and I know that can sound a little bit obvious, but the life is the journey. So my previous boss really helped me a lot to give me such good nice articles to read it about that from double ACA, I made friends. And of course, that I have done and in the lectures that the Australian Institute of Architects and also ACA promotes, you know, and these Give me the life that I have here as well, because I came by myself, and I, it's all these bits and pieces that makes the other part that is not about architecture, it's about making friends and building a life, you know what I mean? So, and another thing that I want to tell as well, Tara is it it is was easy for me, I reckon, to accept, every single opportunity and to see the good way about it. So for example, I did not mention previously, but for example, the first architecture company that hired me was like three hours from my house. But I got it, I got the opportunity I left in six miles but but that was like an opportunity and I learned quite a lot So I think that people need to understand that even if you have more experience, and if you already have a high position in your country, what I used to say is, just appreciate it your first opportunity and make your in and you give your best for the next one? You know?

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 55:26

Yeah, absolutely. That's great advice, I think. And I was going to ask you, what would your number one piece of advice be for people in a similar situation? But would that be it? Or is there something else? Oh, if I, if I could say another thing, I would say, I'm being inspired with the people that get something that you want, so that the people that already arrived in the place that you want to be, and don't need to be your final step, don't need to be the owner, or the director of a huge company, could be someone that already got the first opportunity, it would be the first opportunity as a drafter. If you are an architect, could be they could be just someone that has done something that you want. Just talk with this person and understand, like research about their life, and understand what these people has done behind of all day hero journey that comes from a place and arrive in the best place ever. It's always lots of things about where they come from, how lucky these people were, how hard these people work, that we don't know,

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 56:45

I've learned a lot from this conversation. Actually, I think, for me, it's very humbling to listen to somebody experience on the other side, because I can only help people as much as I can. But then it's really people like you who share this story who really do help other people. So I think that's so important. It's brave, I think, stepping outside of your comfort zone, as you say, having a go and taking all of the experiences with you into your next experience. And it's it's also the things that I say, but it just sounds so much better coming from somebody who's lived it and their experience. So thank you very much for the conversation. If anyone, sorry, go.

Gabriela 57:25

Just to say Thank you as well. It was so nice.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 57:30

You're welcome. So if anyone wants to reach out and contact you just to talk about your story, or ask you any questions, what's the best way for them to contact you?

Gabriela 57:41

Sure, I think that they can contact me on Instagram. I have an Instagram account you can share with them. And I am happy to help you guys, because I have received so many help in those last few years. So whatever you guys need, you can send me a private message.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 58:03

Fantastic. I think it's good that you can pay for pay it forward, which means you're allowing your the help that you received, you're giving to somebody else. So I think that's very, very useful. So thank you very much. Well, thank you again, Gabriela. It's been great. And yeah, I'm excited for people to hear this conversation. And hopefully we can have another conversation. Once you have your registration, then you can tell me all about your registration.

Gabriela 58:29

Oh, wow. Hopefully, and hopefully this gave this can be soon.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 58:34

I hope so, I'm crossing my fingers for you. Okay. Cross my feet. I'm crossing all my fingers, all my toes. Thank you.

Gabriela 58:41

Thank you very much, Tara. Thank you.

Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 58:43

Thanks again, Gabriela for the fantastic conversation. I'm going to wrap up this conversation before we get too long. And say that if you found this episode useful, please make sure to share it with somebody else. Definitely check out the show notes. There's a lot of useful information in there that Gabriella has shared with us. And you'll be hearing from me again very soon, so catch you later.

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