Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW
Warrane College UNSW | college accommodation for students at UNSW

Brothers from Sri Lanka leave a lasting legacy

Jivanka Perra

Two brothers from Sri Lanka – Jivanka Perera and Thiran Perera – have made a big contribution to College life at Warrane over the past few years, leaving a legacy that will be felt for years to come.

Jivanka made the most of all the opportunities Warrane offers, from academic and sporting to cultural and social. He graduated from UNSW early in 2013 with a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Commerce with a Distinction (Major in Finance and Minor in Economics). His thesis was accepted by a conference in Hong Kong and was published.

While at Warrane he also completed a Diploma of Education Studies (DipEdSt) with the College of Teachers (London), was a Prize Winner in Industrial Training in Civil Engineering at UNSW, made the 2013 UNSW Dean’s Honours List, and was a Warrane College Scholar in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

Amid all this academic success, he became College President in 2010, Student Liaison officer (between Warrane and the UNSW student body) in the same year and was a residential tutor at Warrane for four years, from 2010 to 2013. He was Engineering/Commerce Advisor for Warrane from 2012 to 2013, an Executive member of the Sri Lankan Students’ Society at UNSW, which is an affiliated club with the UNSW student body (Arc), an Engineering Tutor for the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering in 2010 and an International Student Peer Mentor in 2009.

But in addition to this impressive list achievements, he also found time for many other activities.

“I would say I took part in everything,” he says, “in all the cultural events, almost all sports – including Rugby Union, Rugby League, AFL, Hockey, Volleyball, Ultimate Frisbee, Touch Footy and so on, and the social and community services like Night Patrol and helping out at the Little Sisters of the Poor.” Jivanka has performed acoustic pieces at many college events, including a number of formal dinners.

With all this experience behind him, Jivanka is forging a career with engineering firm Cardno. He started with the company in November 2011, as an undergraduate working part time during semester. Now he is employed full time by the firm as an Engineer/Economist.

“My goal is to keep working on both local and international projects to get more experience,” he says, “and I recently presented a paper at the Stormwater conference which was published in the conference journal.”

Reflecting on his time in College, Jivanka says he particularly enjoyed being a residential tutor. “The best thing about being a tutor is that it gives you an opportunity to help others,” he says. “I was very lucky to be given this opportunity while at Warrane. I was able to help the youngsters realise their potential whether in the academic, social or cultural arenas.

Jivanka said what stood out most for him about College life was the “great people”.

“I believe that College was an incredible living experience because of all the types of people you get to meet,” he said. “Every year I would meet people from different cultures and with different views. Warrane really is a melting pot of knowledge.”

“But the best thing about the guys at college was that they were compassionate and willing to help anyone out when possible. The college environment is very conducive to personal development.”

Thuran Perera

Jivanka’s brother Thiran had a similarly prolific stay in Warrane, taking part in as many activities as he could and serving as College President in 2013.

“It was a great experience,” he said, “working with an awesome group of guys whom I had already gotten to know over the years beforehand. I learned more than I thought I would and enjoyed it all the way through.”

Over the four years of his residence, Thiran sought to get involved with “everything college related”. He took part in all of Warrane’s cultural events over the years, including Film Night, Band Night, St Patrick’s Night and even the great Australian tradition of billy-cart racing.

He was also very active in community service work, particularly in helping out with Warrane’s assistance to the Little Sisters of the Poor in Randwick.

In sport, his main interest was in Cricket, but he also played many other sports and when he wasn’t playing he was on the sidelines cheering his friends on.

“I loved being a Warrane supporter, like most residents do,” he said, “especially when it came to the big sports like rugby, soccer and basketball.”

Thiran said there were many things that stood out for him during his time at Warrane, but the most enduring memory would be of “the characters you meet and the friends you make along the way”.

“Sorry if that sounds like a cliché,” he said, “but its what makes college so great! Meeting guys from country towns to city kids and from overseas, especially being an international student myself, it helped with adjusting myself to living in Australia.

“As far as values go, I believe it’s friendship – compassion – that I learned in College. It’s hard to clearly elaborate, as I have lived here for so long and there are many things I’ve learned here over the years.”

Another thing Thiran said he would remember about his time in College was the self-discipline he learned.

“Discipline is probably the biggest thing I learned, in the sense that you can apply it to everything you do in life,” he explained. “Also a mutual respect for one’s peers, which plays a big part and I know it will stay with me in the future.”

Thiran, like Jivanka, trained as an engineer and is now seeking employment in mechanical engineering.

We wish them both well with their future careers.