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There is always a certain feeling of fear as to who you may be seated next to on a long-haul flight and if you are in luck what could potentially result from a 12-hour conversation traveling between Hong Kong and London 18 months ago is the start of a great story. On this occasion I did in fact luck in and find myself seated next to a delightful young woman who had recently graduated from Melbourne University (my new best friend alumni colleague, although I have not yet walked back on campus since the day I graduated in 1987). The net result of this conversation (as well as a few other key factors) resulted in the creation of our latest enterprise and very soon to open MiHaven Student Living, high quality purpose built student accommodation in Cairns. My new friend shared with me her personal experiences of why she and her family decided that she should study and live abroad. She is the grand daughter of a successful Chinese Indonesian industrialist (he in fact was the first to manufacture biros/ink pens in Indonesia. He must have manufactured a lot of pens in his life time as he had the pleasure of sitting in business class, whilst we humbly enjoyed the chocolates he sent down from the pointy end of the plan as little gifts.)

My friend shared with me the critical items that were on the check list that eventuated her moving and studying in Australia. She said the key criteria was that her family wanted her to be immersed into a western culture, speak English and be in time zone where her parents could call her, and be an easy travel distance. They chose Australia as do over 700,000 international students  on a per annum basis. Over endless hours of chat (I was once told at the young age of 10 that I should be a radio interviewer as I tend to ask so many questions especially when I am particularly interested in a topic) I became more interested in her personal experience of living in Australia as a young international student and where and how she lived whilst studying. She told me that her father was particularly concerned for her welfare as she was only 17 when she moved to Melbourne, so her safety and wellbeing was a prime concern. She shared with me a few horror stories of how unhygienic and messy some of the larger student accommodation facilities in Melbourne were and she was on the search to find purpose built student accommodation that was safe, clean, conveniently located to the university and a size where you could make friends, socialise but also concentrate and study. She even drew a floor plan to show me the small size of her room (that she lived in for 3 years) and how she enjoyed living in an apartment with likeminded students.

My friend had now graduated from Melbourne University and she was now traveling with her grandfather to continue the next quest of her further education studying a master’s degree in London. By the time the wheels of the plane had touched down in Heathrow and I had finished my last scribble notes I knew that the next conquest for MiHaven was to build high quality purpose built student accommodation and why not in Cairns. So, 18 months later here we are opening MiHaven’s first (of hopefully many) MiHaven Student Living accommodation developments in Cairns. Following my new friend’s advice, we have made each apartment self-contained with 7 individual student living suites where they have their own bathroom, study and private balcony and their only sharing is when they come to cook a meal and eat together to share their day and socialise. I think we are going to create many happy student living experiences in Cairns. Opening in February MiHaven Student Living in Pembroke Street, Parramatta Park we welcome all students young and old to come and stay with us for a short time or a long time but especially for a good time.

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