Erika Madeiros Silva has made the journey of a lifetime, moving 13,000 kilometers from São Paulo in Brazil to Sydney, Australia – where she now plans to stay.

Describing herself as helpful, curious, and independent, Erika works in Business Intelligence and is currently applying for her skilled occupation visa. This will allow her to remain in the country for the long term.

In this story, we learn about Erika’s goals and how PTE will help her achieve them.


A big step abroad

Erika decided to move to Sydney alone. That meant starting from scratch, meeting new people, and carving out a new life for herself.
What’s more, when she took the brave step of emigrating, it was actually the first time she’d left her family home.

“I had to learn how to do everything at home by myself. And this means cooking and doing the laundry and basically taking care of myself. This was a real challenge for me in the beginning, and obviously, I didn’t have any friends so I had to start like meeting new people…and I had to find my first job.”


So why Australia?

“I chose to live in Australia…because, first of all, I always wanted to live somewhere else apart from Brazil. I wanted to have an experience abroad. And so, as I studied English my whole life, I obviously thought about living in a place where English is the first language. I did have options like the United States, Ireland, England, or Canada.”

But Erika wanted to avoid cold countries and places where she was not allowed to work and study at the same time.
“I realized that Australia was the best option, as I could speak English… and also it has very similar weather to São Paolo as it’s in the same tropic.”

Sydney was her top choice of city. “I know there are better job opportunities here. It is a big city like São Paulo and it’s also really close to the beach. So I have the best of both worlds.”


Taking PTE to apply for an Australian Skilled Occupation Visa

Erika needed to take PTE as part of the skills assessment in her immigration process. Alongside a translation task, she had to prove her level of English so that she could apply for a skilled occupation visa. After taking an official PTE mock exam, Erika knew that she needed to improve her writing skills. “I was making some spelling mistakes. And then I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna get the score I needed.”

When she took the PTE for the first time, she wasn’t confident she had performed well. “I knew that I misspelled some words that I really regretted. And I knew that in my essay, I wasn’t really paying attention, I was just in a rush. So that’s why I didn’t get the score I needed on the first try.” While Erika got a score in the high 70s, it wasn’t quite enough to qualify to apply for the visa she wanted.


It was time to study

“I decided that I would have one month to study more and to focus on this, on the little mistakes I made. That’s what I would need to get my score.” Erika spent lots of time practicing individual exercises, doing the official mock exams, and getting to know the different parts of the exam.  And it worked.

“To be honest, I was really surprised when I saw the score, because I would have been, I wouldn’t have thought it would be so perfect. And in the end, it was yeah almost perfect.” Erika scored 90 for listening, 90 for speaking, 90 for writing, and 88 for reading.  That’s certainly some inspirational scores and proof that practice really does make perfect!


Erika’s experience with PTE

Erika booked her test online quickly and was able to give herself plenty of time to get to the exam center in Sydney. “I was there one hour earlier, so…I got the chance to sit in the front, so I just had one person on my side which was good.”

While Erika was nervous, she felt better that she didn’t have to speak to an examiner.“I didn’t have to talk to anyone in person… It’s much easier to just, just do everything on the computer…sometimes I feel nervous and I don’t speak really well. So, making it just…using the computer was much easier for me personally.”

Understandably, she was nervous when waiting for the results, but they were fast. “I think I got the results in two or three hours. And I just, yeah I just didn’t believe it when I saw them for the first time. I had to double-check and ask my friends to check…and yeah I was just really happy in the end!”


What’s Erika’s advice for anyone thinking about taking PTE for emigration purposes?

“I would say, just practice the exams, do the official mock tests. They are the only mock test that will actually evaluate your skills and have a similar score to the official exam.”

Finally, Erika offers some inspiring advice for anyone hoping to follow in her footsteps. “I’ll just say don’t give up on your dreams. Studying another language and studying for a test – it is really hard – it’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible. Just do your best and you’re going to make it!”

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