“This is such a positive and enthusiastic place that I’m choosing to make it my permanent home,” says Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling.
Professor Stirling and his family will join hundreds of others around the nation on Australia Day to take the oath of citizenship.
After four and a half years in Australia, initially in Perth and for the past year in Adelaide, Professor Stirling says he’s thoroughly enjoying the experience, culture and lifestyle.
“Scotland will always be a part of me, but I’m committed to Australia. It’s a wonderful place, with wonderful people, and it’s full of wonderful opportunities”
Professor Stirling’s French wife Mailys and their boys Thomas (7) and Lucas (5) are also becoming citizens.
“We felt like we belonged from day one. It’s a fantastic place for the family – the boys just love the outdoors; they’re getting into all the Aussie sports and have already developed great little Aussie accents,” Professor Stirling says.
“Becoming citizens is not a decision we’ve taken lightly. I thoroughly enjoyed the years I spent in California, but I never felt like I would live there for the rest of my life. Here it’s different. Since coming to Australia and coming to Adelaide everything that’s happened has made us feel at home.
“Applying for citizenship felt like a natural next step and an affirmation that we’re in it for the long haul. The process was pretty straightforward but I must say that my wife and I got rather competitive about our scores for the citizenship test – it was a draw!” Professor Stirling says.
“I feel genuinely honoured and privileged that we are about to be accepted as Australians. It’s a long way from the small town in Scotland where I grew up, and it seems far from the days of my own education when I was first in my family to have the opportunity to go to University.
“Education has opened so many doors throughout my career and I now have the great privilege to be Vice-Chancellor of Flinders University where the spirit of making a difference and of creating opportunity for others runs very deep.”
“I already feel part of the place and becoming a citizen is the icing on the cake, the fact that it will happen on Australia Day is just the cherry on top!” Professor Stirling says.
And Australian citizenship resolves a challenge for the avowed sports fan.
“The next Ashes series won’t feel quite so tense as now there’ll be a part of me that can be happy either way!”