Name: Could you please introduce yourself?
My name is Ish Ahuja and I’m a Civil Engineer. Currently working in one of the consultancy firms in Sydney as their National Director – Project Planning and Controls looking after major infrastructure, rail, water as well as renewable sector projects in Australia. I’ve been living in Sydney since 2010. Prior to that I used to live in Abu Dhabi.
Location: Where in Sydney are you currently residing?
Picnic Point, NSW 2213 and it’s one of the most beautiful and hidden gem in Sydney. Lots of picnic spots, BBQ facilities, amazing water views, playgrounds and amazing community vibe. Also, commute to city is under 30mins from here via train.
Origin: Where are you originally from, and what brought you to Sydney?
I’m originally from Patiala, did my Bachelors Degree from Thapar University and graduated in 2007. I was selected in 3rd year of my degree via campus recruitment process in a UK based construction firm – Laing O’Rourke to start my career as a graduate with them in Abu Dhabi in 2007. After delivering great work there and finishing my project successfully – I got transferred to Sydney by my company and worked for them in Sydney for about 6 years. Then I moved to Acciona for about 2.5 years, then John Holland for about 4.5 years and been working with my current employer since Feb last year.
Motivation: What inspired you to embark on your journey to Australia?
I was given the option to either transfer to LOR UK, LOR Canada or LOR Australia. I chose Australia for the lifestyle and amazing beaches here. The weather here is a just a blessing.
Challenges & Triumphs: Could you share a challenge you’ve faced since arriving in Sydney, and how you overcame it?
When I moved here in 2010, I had no friends. I started exploring all tourist spots on the weekends with my colleagues or just solo. I made a lot of friends here within 6 months. Then few years later, we started a kitty group amongst our friends and the friend circle then became even bigger. Finally in 2014, I put a post on FB asking if there are any Thaparians settled in Sydney – within a week – I got messages from over 50 families settled here and were Thapar pass outs. I then created a WhatsApp group of Aus Thaparians and we did our first Alumni get together few months later. Since then, we have been doing 2 Alumni get togethers every year and we now have over 100 families connected with us. Some of the pass outs are now in their retirement age and we have also attended their kids weddings over the past few years and some are just fresh graduates and recently moved to Australia. Through this group, we also helped a lot of graduates getting jobs by connecting them to our companies’ HR departments or connecting them to some Thaparians entrepreneurs as well.
Positive Perspective: How do you maintain a positive outlook in the face of challenges?
I regularly go to gym, do swimming, roller skating and love taking my 2 daughters and wife for walk or a run near Georges River most evenings. I am a very social person and can make friends very easily. Due to such a vast network of friends and colleagues now, our kids have also become very social and make friends easily. We travel alot and have been to over 20 countries in last 13 years. We also have a dedicated travel wall in our house which acts as a motivation to us to book our next country to visit.
Favorite Spot: Do you have a favorite place in Sydney that you enjoy spending time at?
Cultural Connection: Are there any specific cultural traditions or practices you’ve brought with you to Sydney?
I’m a Sikh and we love going to different Gurudwaras in Sydney. Revesby Gurudwara is under 10 mins drive from our place. We also have Guru Granth Sahib Ji and proper Waheguru Ji’s room at our place where we do regular prayers in the morning and evenings.
Fun & Leisure: What’s your go-to way to unwind and have fun in the city?
We love to party in the city on yachts and love the city life. Both my wife and I work in the city, so we have explored pretty much every restaurant and pub in the city. Ivy is our favourite spot.
Message to Newcomers: If you could give one piece of advice to someone new to Sydney, what would it be?
Please don’t be afraid to ask questions, be bold, act like a tourist and not as a prisoner – that means always be positive and excited to explore new places, make new friends and also return something back to the community.