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Melbourne Edition AUGUST 2014

Living Life in Georgia, USA
With Nancy Fontanilla Beja
Preparing the right documentation for your visa application
ancy Bejas dream of c o m i n g
to America came into a
reality in 1986. When she frst
landed in New York City, she was
so impressed of the sky scrapers;
she said I cant believe the city
that I used to just see in the
movies Im actually in it! Just like
any immigrant, Nancy had endur ed
a lot of adjustments. Lucky for her,
she completed her college d e g r e e
in Political Science, with P o s t
Graduate Studies prior to c o m i n g
to the US. Her fnding a j o b
was not as diffcult as it was for
others. Nancy recalled her s h a r e
of discrimination while working in
American establishments, but her
determination to succeed and climb
up the corporate ladder b e c a me
her motivation. Nancys frst job
was through an insurance
company. While enjoying the job,
Nancy turned her free time into studying more about the principles and
laws on insurance industry. She took advantage of job incentives such
as tuition reimbursement program and free courses, until she became
a licensed insurance agent. By upgrading her skills, Nancy was able to
enjoy what is more than just sitting in an entry level position. Her job
took her to newer heights of success. She has gone to various places:
New York, Michigan and Ft. Lauderdale in Florida. She had a brief taste
of living in Japan for about 4 years. In 1993, she went back to the
US and found her biggest break in the insurance business when she
got a position with the giant company of Blue Cross Blue Shield in Ft.
Lauderdale, Florida.

Nancy believes that it was destiny that brought her to Florida. She
said, This is where I met my husband David, a wonderful man of great
demeanor, and meeting him at that time helped me get through an
emotional tough time from a previous relationship. When I met him he
was the Regional Director for A&W.A job promotion transferred him to
Atlanta in the same year of Atlantas hosting of the Olympics. Nancy
was so fortunate that she was allowed by her insurance company
to transfer in their Atlanta offce. Nancys move had given her more
blessings as she was promoted to Senior Account Manager which gave
her the opportunity to handle high profle accounts in the area. She
remembers, Im so lucky because my position has allowed me to meet
diverse people of different felds and identities, and played a key role
with corporate offcers and many infuential external decision makers
like General Motors, Coca-Cola, and Cities & County Governments.
With the signifcant changes in her career, both Dave and Nancy were
all set of starting a family. But because of the demanding nature of
both of their careers, with constant travels and busy schedules, they
held off their plans. Dave instead made a drastic decision to switch his
career from Restaurant Management to becoming a Custom Broker.
In little time, Nancy and Dave founded their own Custom Brokerage
Company in Atlanta. Growing the business was never a challenge to
Nancy and Dave as both of them loved what they were doing. Nancy
later on quit her job and helped Dave in the business. In 2005, both
of them have seen a tremendous growth in their business. It afforded
them with a comfortable lifestyle, them being their own bosses and
being able to work on their own schedules.

Nancy and Dave has met a lot of real good friends in the Atlanta
area. They have been actively supporting local arts community, and
has graced several Filipino-American organizations around their area.
Nancy describes her living in Georgia, I love living here in Georgia.
Dave & I, along with our beautiful daughter Jordelle proudly call Lilburn
our home now. This quaint city is just 25 minutes north of Atlanta. I
love the southern hospitality and the charm of the people. Though we
live in the south, we still get the taste of four seasons. Our county has
beautiful parks, lakes and schools, and it is a culturally diverse and
vibrant community, certainly a place where families, businesses, and
lives thrive. Other than the managing their business and balancing
her social life, Nancys priority is still her dotting Ballerina daughter,
Jordelle, who is a member of the local Ballet Company in Atlanta.

Nancy is proud to have settled in Atlanta. She said that any tourist
coming to her place should not miss downtown Atlanta, visit to The
Georgia Aquarium - which is the biggest in the world, a trip to The
World of Coca-Cola to taste the different colas around the world all in
one place, explore the CNN Headquarters and of course, the famous
Historical Stone Mountain Park.

Just like any overseas Filipino, Nancy also misses her homeland
the Philippines. She said, I love being with my family, and I am so
blessed with a big close-knit family. Going home always reminds me
about how my life-story began. I miss our food and the warmth of the
local people. Im lucky enough to call Iloilo and Zamboanga City my
home and being exposed in both cultures. I miss the fresh seafood of
Zamboanga City and the sweet delicacies of Iloilo and miss listening
and speaking our local dialects, the beauty of our people and the
simplicity of life and carefree living. No matter how long I have lived
here, I will always cherish our culture and tradition and going home
always reminds me of my humble beginnings that helped me shaped
Spotted on the
Ryan Tejero*
aperwork - the essential task we all love
to hate. Despite the rise of tablets and
laptops, of digitalised documentation and
online application forms, there is still - and
probably always will be - the need for good, old-
fashioned paperwork.
When it comes to making a visa application
to live, study or work in Australia, preparing
the right paperwork is of utmost importance.
Sending in a faulty copy of your passport or
an identity photo that is slightly the wrong
size could make all the difference between an
approved visa and a please try again.
And with the cost of visas - in terms of both
time and money - you really want to get the
green light the frst time around. Here are a few
tips to help ensure that you have all the right
Do your research
Applying for a visa can take time. Plan ahead
and do your research, thoroughly reading all relevant
documentation and advice on governmental
websites, so you know exactly what you need
to do before you embark on the task.
Once you clearly understand what it is you
need to provide, you can start ticking items off
the list. Take your time and be accurate when
submitting information.
Seek assistance
If you are in the position to consult a
registered migration agent in Australia,
this is an excellent opportunity to have an
experienced professional pass their eye over
your application.
Not only will they be able to let you know
your chances of succeeding, they may even be
able to provide advice on applying for different
types of visas later down the track, such as
permanent residency. This professional advice
is extremely valuable, so dont shy away from paying a
consultation fee if required.
Triple check
What is it that your teacher always used to tell you in
school? Proofread! Triple check your application before you
send it in. If possible, have a friend or family member - or
migration agent - look over your submission too.
A little forward thinking and extra care could make the
application process go signifcantly smoother, so you can
then concentrate on the more important aspects of moving
or staying in Australia - like where youre going to live, the
house or car you want to buy, or how you will sponsor your
next family member!
If you require any further assistance or support, then
dont hesitate to get in touch with Dizon & Associates today.
Paul Dizon (MARN 1067203) is the Principal of Dizon
& Associates. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (University of
Melbourne), Bachelor of Laws (University of London),
Master of Business Administration (MBA)(RMIT University)
and Graduate Certifcate in Migration Law & Practice
(Australian National University). You may contact Paul on
(03) 8371 0018 or email
Paul Dizon*
Nancy with her ballerina daughter, Jordelle.
The Beja Family of Georgia, USA: Nancy, David and Jordelle
the person I am now.

Nancy says to fellow Filipinos who are living abroad, For us
Filipinos, there is always a stigma attached to working overseas, we
work twice as hard so we can give our family back home a better life.
I always tell others that theres nothing impossible in this world if you
put and set your mind into it. Always take pride in everything you do
and dont be afraid to take the risk. Life is a journey about taking risks,
self-realization and personal growth, and foremost, dont take things
for granted and be thankful for all the blessings even the little ones.

Nancy ends this article with a refection about her wonderful
journey in life, Im truly honored and humbled to be featured in this
column. Im so grateful for this opportunity and I hope that I can be a
positive infuence to those who share with my experiences, especially
to the Moms that have to juggle career, home and family. Life has not
always been easy for me, I have lost my parents, my two sisters, and a
nephew, but I didnt let the pain get the best of me. Although there were
times I questioned the existence of God, but it is because of my FAITH
in Him that gave me courage to get up each day and focus on the ones
that are still living. I turned 50 last year and so my empowering mantra
is - Life begins at 50. This statement has been a way of reminding
myself that there is still a lot left to do out there and to accomplish in
my life. Im embracing it with stride, humor and its all about attitude.
About the Columnist: Ryan Tejero is a newspaper columnist-
writer based in Chicago, Illinois-USA. He has been writing for a Filipino-
American newsmagazine, Via Times (, for over ten
years now. His monthly column, Club President, features leaders of
the Filipino American communities in Chicago and the Midwest, USA.
Via Times is Chicagos oldest, widely-read and circulated Filipino-
American newsmagazine. Ryan is also the current editor of NaFFAA
National(, which is the offcial monthly
newsletter of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations
(NaFFAA). NaFFAA National is circulated in 51 states of the United
States. For comments, please send email to