‘It is an honour’: Theodoros Tsantalidis one of 2,400 new Australian citizens in Parramatta

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Theodoros Tsantalidis was among 2,400 people to be conferred as a new Australian citizen in a series of Citizenship Ceremonies held by the City of Parramatta in Western Sydney earlier this month.

In an interview with The Greek Herald, Theodoros says it was an honour to be recognised as a citizen after having lived in Australia for nearly a decade.

“When I first came [to Australia] from Northern Greece it was never my intention to stay. It was more like a holiday rather than migrating here. I got the standard tourist entry for three months but I was only meant to stay for three weeks,” Theodoros explains.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Donna Davis (left) with Theodoros and his wife. Photo supplied.

“While here, I realised that there are a lot of opportunities for people that are willing to work hard. I was 30 and I had been working in Greece since I was 12 and had nothing to show for it, so I thought maybe I should give it a go and try to stay here.”

Theodoros studied Tourism and Hospitality in Thessaloniki and became a Building Manager in Australia.

He admits it “was tough” to become a citizen, but having the ceremony after so many years and welcoming his first child with wife Emma in a few months, was the perfect reward.

Theodoros says he’s also grateful to have made some incredible friends.

“I’ve called Australia home for a while now and it feels so good to finally have the honour to be an Australian citizen. I still love Greece very much and I miss my family and friends but Australia feels more like home now,” he says, before stressing how much he enjoyed his citizenship ceremony.

“The ceremony was really nice and quicker than what I thought it would have been. We had a quick chat with the Mayor and took some photos. It certainly felt special having Ms Davis there.”

The City of Parramatta Lord Mayor, Cr Donna Davis, welcomed residents from 90 countries across six Citizenship Ceremonies at Riversides Theatres on May 17 and 18.

Besides Theodoros from Greece, citizens also came from Afghanistan, Brazil, China, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and beyond.

“We are an extremely proud multicultural city, with more than 120 nationalities and 84 languages represented across our community. This rich mix of cultural backgrounds and life experiences is what makes our community so unique and special,” Cr Davis said.

“Congratulations to all of our newest Citizens – we thank you for the contributions you’ve made thus far and will continue to make to our City.”

According to the Department of Home Affairs more than 5 million people have become citizens since Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949.

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