Shoko’s Story: My Journey from School to University

Interviewed by Hiroki from You Yu Magazine, published in Vol. 42 (2010 edition)

Almost one year and two months has passed since I came to Australia in July last year. I have learned a lot in one year. I would like to introduce this part of my life in Australia.

The best thing about studying in an English-speaking foreign country is that I will be able to understand, write and speak English fluently. However, I cannot speak with fluency in half or even one year. I also thought I would be able to speak English well sooner, but I was wrong. Even now I need to seek help from my friends during classes when I cannot keep up. Especially the first six months was very hard for me. I could not understand English when I read and listened, I did not have many friends, and foods differed from Japanese foods. Above all, I felt so homesick. Only after I came to Australia, did I realize the convenience of how people and I talk naturally with each other, and how much I had depended on my parents for support. When I was depressed, I shed tears. Then what supported me were the letters from my parents and friends in Japan, and advice from my brother and sister who are university students and have been in Australia for several years.

Hallett Cove SchoolI have used paper dictionaries and highlighted the words that I looked up after I came to Australia. It is hard to carry them about with me every day, but there is scarcely a page that I have not looked through. The more I highlighted, the more I became confident. At first, I was nervous even if I only exchanged greetings, although my English has certainly improved, I feel that I expect much more of myself and am anxious that my language is as it will be in two or three years hence. I still have to spend twice or three times as long to read one paragraph as the local students. I find it hard to cope with the same amount of work as them. However, as I speak with them, or ask teachers questions positively, they help me, and now my school life has become more significant.

As I came to Australia, I could meet a lot of people from other countries, which is one of the merits of studying in Australia. I have met not only Australian but also Chinese, Korean, Indian, Egyptian, Thai and so on. I think this merit is because Australia is a multi-cultured society. On my birthday, International students who are French, German, Brazilian and Scottish sang birthday songs in their languages as well as the English one. My host family is Iranian, so they have provided me with Iranian foods, and I have learned some basic greetings in their language.

Shoko Hallett Cove School Japanese GraduatesWhen my friends tell me about their culture, I also have lots of opportunities to talk about Japanese culture and customs. At every opportunity, I think of Japan, and I am proud of the fact that Japan is my home country. Each of the cultures and accents are quite different from each other, which is very interesting.

My present goal is to graduate from high school. After that, I am going to go to the Hotel Management School in Adelaide. I would like to work in the hotel industry in the future. I have not yet decided where I will work, but as I will be proficient in English this also means that I will get a chance to work in more than 100 countries. I believe that knowing about other cultures and different accents in Australia will be very beneficial for my future.

Since I came to Australia, I have felt the warmth of my family and friends that I could not realize in Japan. I think I became a person who can appreciate more, than what I was before. I will study hard during high school and university, and I would like to repay people for their kindness in the future.

Read Shoko’s story at the end of her journey!










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