School what’s on

July School Holiday Program

We are very pleased to advise that the Term 2 School Holiday Program registrations are now open.
IES has developed a free Term 2 School Holiday Program for full fee paying international students.  This is a key component of our wellbeing and retention strategy which aims to keep these students happy and in South Australia.
The students should only register their interest if they are 100% sure that they will be able to attend and participate.
Go to our website for the calendar of events, flyers and registration forms: https://www.internationalstudents.sa.edu.au/en/2021-school-holiday-program/

Effectively communicating the Term 2 School Holiday Program to students is vital for its success. We appreciate your help in promoting this to your students and providing any assistance needed with registering for the events.
Please note that numbers for some activities will be limited and this is a registration of interest only. Registrations close on Thursday 10th June 2021.
Students will be contacted after registrations close to confirm if they have a place in the selected activity(s), and detailed itineraries will be made available to attendees.
Please encourage your international students to become involved in the Term 2 School Holiday Program and thank you for your ongoing support.
For further information or clarification please don’t hesitate to contact Darryl Carter, Manager Stakeholder Engagement and Quality [email protected] or 0419 903 372.

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July School Holiday Program

July School Holiday Program

We are very pleased to advise that the Term 2 School Holiday Program registrations are now open.
IES has developed a free Term 2 School Holiday Program for Full Fee Paying international students enrolled in South Australian government schools. Students should only register their interest if they are 100% sure that they will be able to attend and participate.
Go to our website for the calendar of events, flyers and registration forms:
https://www.internationalstudents.sa.edu.au/en/2021-school-holiday-program/

 

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Student Updates

July School Holiday Program

We are very pleased to advise that the Term 2 School Holiday Program registrations are now open.
We are excited to offer free school holiday program activities to you over the Term 2 school holiday period.
Come along to develop new friendships, share connections, explore South Australia, learn new skills and have fun.
Go to our website for the calendar of events, flyers and registration forms:
https://www.internationalstudents.sa.edu.au/en/2021-school-holiday-program/

Please note that numbers for some activities will be limited and this is a registration of interest onlyRegistrations close on Thursday 10th June 2021.
We will contact you after registrations of interest close to confirm if you have a place in the selected activity/s and detailed itineraries will be made available to attendees.
For further information or clarification please don’t hesitate to contact your school’s International Student Program Manager.

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Jenny, Vietnam

Why did you choose Adelaide as a place to study? 

After an exchange student programme to Australia, I decided to choose Adelaide as my destination. I was impressed by its enthusiastic and unique instructive method. I love how my teachers respect and inspire me to show my creativity, my thoughts upon every topic. Thus, boosting my confidence and developing my critical thinking. Besides being committed to study, extracurricular activities are highly encouraged. As an adventurous girl, Adelaide’s spectacular scenery not only attracted me but also made me wonder how much care conscientious people dedicate to preserve their environment.

My favourite thing about Adelaide is the warm-hearted people, from my homestay family to my teachers and friends. They’re loving, caring, devoted and have a great sense of humour. Once you step in this city, the cosiness will wash away your homesickness. I adore my homestay Mum who wasn’t my biological Mum but fate brought us to be family by heart. Every moment with her seems endless. I also valued my friends. They are the charming gardeners who always make my soul blossom.    

After I finish high school my plan is to attend university as a medical student. I desire to follow in my parent’s footsteps, to devote my life to medicine and science. With an ardent passion, I believe I could get over all the obstacles and accomplish my ambition-becoming an anaesthesiologist. Moreover, after graduating, settling down my life as an Australian citizen would be my next lifelong goal.

Advice to international students considering Adelaide as a study destination:

One of my biggest concerns when considering my studying abroad destination was school including high school and university. But I’m sure you would be amazed by Adelaide’s distinctive education system. We also have a wide variety of choices in universities. Quantity and quality are high with 3 universities (University of Adelaide, Flinders University and University of South Australia).

Like a fish out of the water, it was challenging for me to integrate myself into the society. I defined my 14-year-old self as an introverted and timid girl. Thanks to my Aussie friends, they came and turned my life into a new and bright chapter. However, nothing is achievable if you don’t put effort into it. I understand that international students usually struggle with making new friends. My advice is to be as dynamic as you could in extracurricular activities and seize any opportunity to be close to them. Eventually you will find your soulmates like the way me and my bestie, Leila did!

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Shoma, Japan

Shoma came to Adelaide in April 2019 to study here and complete his high school education. He enrolled in the Specialist Soccer Program at Hallett Cove School when he first started studying here and even now, in Year 11, he is successfully balancing his studies and soccer, making the most of his life here.

School Soccer Program

Having really focused on playing soccer since his fourth grade of elementary school, Shoma chose a junior high school that has a strong soccer team and really applied himself to the sport every day. During that time, he was fortunate to get the opportunity to play in France and he says it was while he was there that he became conscious of his desire to play soccer overseas. “I wasn’t really good at studying so I thought that I want to do something which would give me the skills to help me in the future. For me, that was to learn English while playing soccer overseas.” While deciding on which high school to go to, the idea of studying at an overseas high school became a clearer goal, so much so that he began talking to his parents about it to get their advice. They really understood their son and were fully supportive of his decision.

There were several countries that were good candidates for him to study in, but while sifting through English speaking countries he looked at factors including safely and high level of soccer and Australia became the natural choice. Then, when choosing which city in Australia would be best, Shoma was able to narrow it down to three cities, and he and his mother actually flew to Australia and travelled around to inspect various schools in each of the cities, each of which offered a soccer program. The pair visited two schools in Adelaide with soccer programs but when he went to Hallett Cove School it was the ‘at home’ atmosphere that made him feel comfortable and he says he instinctively thought to himself, “I want to come to this school!”.

“I’m really glad I came to this school. I have no regrets.” And that feeling still hasn’t changed.

Challenging but not Hard

Shoma started his study here with the ISEC (Intensive Secondary English Course), an intensive English language course for international students, but he says at first he had absolutely no idea what the teachers were talking about or what his homework was. He says, “That first year, study was a constant challenge.” This was really highlighted when he decided to extend his time in ISEC, which normally has students enter main stream class after six months, to really get a strong grasp on the language from the very basics.

Shoma says that staying in ISEC longer was not a bad thing, nor did it make him feel down. He joined the soccer program from when he first enrolled in ISEC so he had already started making friends with local students there.  And in order to improve his English, he pushed himself to speak English with local students outside of the ISEC class. By proactively making the effort to spend time with his local friends and through trying his hardest with soccer, Shoma has been able to make a place for himself. “Going into my second year of study here I became able to speak English and I no longer had problems with everyday conversation. I really think that making local friends through soccer was a big factor in making this happen.”

The Challenges of Soccer

The Specialist Soccer Program is set up so that soccer is a subject that counts towards the student’s grades. Each week there are practical and theoretical classes and they even have matches with other soccer program schools from across the country. As part of his international study application, Shoma presented a video of himself playing soccer which helped him to successfully pass the screening process and earn a place in Hallett Cove School’s Soccer program; his journey had begun.

In addition to his school’s soccer program, Shoma joined a team at the local soccer club when he first started studying here. As it is a local club, it is close to his homestay family’s home and he made friends with others from his high school and age group. It also really helped him to get used to the English language. Shoma quickly settled into the team and became a key player before being scouted by the high-ranking Cumberland United FC, and playing in their U18 reserves team while studying at high school. Realising his improvements as a soccer player along with all his other growth, Shoma really is making the most of his life here in Australia. “With grassed ovals, Adelaide’s standard of soccer is very high and it really provides the best environment for playing!”

Starting Year 11

Starting Year 11 from 2021, Shoma’s school assignments are increasing and becoming more difficult, but he says that he is somehow managing to keep up. Until the end of Year 10 he says there was flexibility that allowed him to continue even if he didn’t quite get it 100%, but he is becoming more and more aware that Year 11 will need him to really focus. The tutor he has had since he first began studying here continues to play a significant role supporting Shoma. He has so much appreciation not only for his tutor but also for the two home stay families, his school teachers, friends, and his parents who support his study here. He really wants to be able to repay everyone but especially his parents one day in the future.

While he hasn’t decided on his career and what he plans to do after graduating from high school, his dream of becoming a professional soccer player hasn’t changed. “There are people who belonged to my club that are now professional players so I think I have a chance,” says Shoma who at the same time says he is working hard to set goals to go to university either in Australia or Japan.

Finally, Shoma has a message for anyone who is going to study abroad. “I think you definitely need friends. For me, it isn’t fun without friends and having friends is the most important thing. While I think it is obviously important to have Japanese friends, I really think it is very important for your life as an international student to become friends with local people and students from other countries and spend time together. Please make sure you make friends and enjoy your time as an international student!”

Balancing soccer and studies, and enjoying the connection with friends, Shoma’s life here as an international student is running forward into the second half of the match!

To read this article in Japanese, click here.

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Gabriel, Italy

My name is Gabriel. I come from Italy and was looking for a unique experience abroad to improve my English proficiency and discover new and fascinating places. Well, by coming here I achieved these goals and many more.

I’ve bonded with new people, both local and international students, travelled around Adelaide and the state, and volunteered as a speaker at Radio Italiana 531, an Italian-speaking community radio station.

I became an International Ambassador at Adelaide High School this year and Ive taken part in numerous events in the “Festival State”, including Tarnanthi Aboriginal Arts Festival, the Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide Writers’ Week, WOMADelaide and seen the Christmas Pageant. I regularly visit the Art Gallery of South Australia, the Stirling Markets and obviously the beach.

I’ve encountered some challenges as well, such as homesickness, but I realized it was absolutely normal and that my motivation was such that this could never let me down. Moreover, I broadened my knowledge and perspective of the world, being able to see my culture and the culture of others under a different lens, as well as becoming even more aware of how crucial it is to have a different, unique point of view in the constantly interconnected, yet diverse world we live in. I’ve seen my academic and personal growth develop at such a different pace.

 

My South Australian journey and experience at Adelaide High School have been life-changing every single day and I am extremely grateful I have lived this uniquely enriching adventure.

.

 

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Chris, Vietnam

Hi guys, Chris here. Currently, I am a year 11 international student at Unley High School.

Vietnam is my home country and Da Nang (for those who haven’t known; it is located in the middle of Vietnam, famous for magnificent beaches and breathtaking eco-tourists spots) is where I come from.

Back to the time of last September, I just finished my first IELTS exam and received a favorable result. It was such a surprise for me since I didn’t expect that much. Nevertheless, the result had somehow impressed my mom so she finally ended up asking me how I think about a chance of studying abroad.

Since I was in secondary school, I have possessed a particular interest in going out of my country and to me at that time, my mom’s proposal was such a fortunate for myself. The answer “Yes” just took a heartbeat to come out of my mouth. But then, there was a question need to be solved: “Where shall I go?”

It seemed like a multiple choice question that every answer turned out to be perfectly suitable. I was so confused, I had no clue what should I do next. Fortunately, my superficial Geographic understanding had got my back this time. Australia was the most suitable choice for me since it it the only one located In the south hemisphere (also near the equator, too). Which means that it is mostly covered with Sunlight and beautiful days!

Among those big cities in Australia, Adelaide had caught my attention from the first glance since with its peace and cultural richness. It also comprises a numbers of natural parks and reserves, which sounds great for me as an explorer!

So here I am, in Adelaide, enjoying the wonderful life with lots of interesting, friendly people. If you are a sun-lover, you will love Adelaide. If you are a sea-lover, you will love Adelaide. If you are a mountain-lover, you will love Adelaide. Trust me, it isn’t biased or exaggerated, Adelaide is there to be loved!

I feel fresh and free everyday just breathing the air and saying hi with a big smile to strangers on the streets. Although it’s not as bustling and hustling like big cities, It still possesses the common traits for a modern lifestyle and be perfectly set-up for your future career.

Adelaide is a melting-pot, you can easily come across Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, Indian, Malaysian and SO MANY ethnics! You would have a big chance to develop a deep multicultural understanding, as well as a complete set of communication skills. You would feel free to talk and laugh and enjoy your new life here and ready for a new chapter of your wonderful life!

Just a small notice, the winter is a bit severe (but trust me, it’s gonna be alright). Coldness and dryness could be a little bit irritating for your winter here, gloves and scarves are recommended, especially if you come from a tropical climate. Learning some greetings in other language (Japanese is what I’m currently learning now) could be another good idea, since people would feel more comfort by talking in their own language!

Personally, I believe you just need to keep your eyes open and enjoy how fascinating the new life at Adelaide is!

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Anson, Hong Kong

Kelvin: An education that best suits your child

Anson’s parents, Kelvin and Kathy, chose to send their son to Adelaide for SA Government schools Prospect Primary School because the Australian education system suits his style of learning. Now in Year 7, Anson lives in Adelaide with his mum while dad is back home in Hong Kong. Despite the distance between them, they are a close-knit family working together to give their son an education that best suits him. We spoke to Kelvin, Kathy and Anson to find out how they stay connected while they are far apart.

Why did you decide to send Anson to study in abroad in Year 4?

Kelvin: We weren’t planning to send Anson to study abroad as young as Year 4, but he’s an energetic kid and can be reluctant to sit down and learn. We thought he was better suited to a more active type of teaching method with lots of outdoor activities. We also thought it might be easier for him to adapt to a different language at an early age. Kids make friends and can adapt more easily when they’re younger.

Why did you choose Adelaide?

Kelvin: We did a lot of homework and asked friends and family who have children studying in Australia and Canada. We decided on Australia because the time zone difference to Hong Kong makes it easier to communicate. We knew I’d be able to speak with Anson and Kathy when I came home from work. In Canada, it would be too hard.

We chose Adelaide because it’s not a big, busy city compared to others. Life in Adelaide is comfortable and very suited to study, and the weather is better. Also, there’s a direct flight from Hong Kong to Adelaide, and the airport isn’t far from the city.

How did you find information about Adelaide’s schools and education system?

Kelvin: It was quite easy to search for information. We have a lot of education exhibitions in Hong Kong, and we have family and friends with children studying in a lot of different places. It’s easy to get all the information on websites.

What do you think Adelaide offers in terms of affordability, lifestyle and safety?

Kathy: Depending on your lifestyle, the living costs in Adelaide aren’t high, especially when you cook for yourself at home. The ingredients from the supermarkets are not expensive, and they’re very good quality.

It’s easy to access places in Adelaide. I can drive only 20 minutes to the beaches which are clean and comfortable, and not overcrowded. Also, you don’t need to book to see a movie in advance.

Anson: I think the schools are great because they’re multicultural. Schools are happy to accept children from all religions and cultures.

Kelvin: In the beginning, I felt a bit panicked to have my family going to another place, but we have friends and family in Adelaide, so I knew they could get help if needed.

I’ve never worried about safety in Adelaide. And I can follow the Australian news on Facebook to see what’s happening. During the COVID-19 pandemic, I was a bit concerned, but I feel safe knowing the South Australian Government is doing a good job of containing the virus.

With Kelvin in Hong Kong and Anson and Kathy in Adelaide, how do you stay connected?

Anson: I call my dad every night to chat about my day and what’s going on in my life.

Kelvin: We talk every night. Before the pandemic, I would fly to Adelaide four times each year. Sometimes, even when you’re together in one place, parents can be too tired when they come home from work. So you don’t always feel motivated to spend time together. We make sure the time we have together is quality time, even from afar.

Tell us about your experience as a parent of a student in Adelaide.

Kathy: In some ways, I feel there’s not as much pressure. There aren’t as many exams here. At first, I wondered why there wasn’t a lot of homework in Australia. But it means the kids have more time to spend on themselves and do after school activities.

Kelvin: The school gives regular updates to parents via emails and newsletters, so we’ve found the system in Australia very active and open. The style of teaching encourages research and self-learning, so you learn the skills of writing English and calculating maths problems. You learn the process and how to apply your skills in life.

Anson, what do you like most about going to school in Adelaide?

Anson: I like doing really cool activities like technology where I get to learn coding with robots. We have art and physical education (PE). And we learn a different language. In my school, we’re learning Greek. There are lots of other topics, and I’ve learnt about mind mapping and systems for researching. My favourite subjects are English and maths.

What would you say to other parents considering sending their child to study abroad?

Kelvin: It depends on the child’s personality. In Australia, they focus more on the overall development of the child, while in Asia, there is more emphasis on learning through books. The education system that best suits your child will depend on your child.  Learning is a process not an investment. No matter where in the world they are, if they’re happy, they’ll learn more. We feel this has been a good decision for our son. He’s happy to be staying in Adelaide for high school.

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Ryushin, Japan

Ryushin Kimura started his study abroad program in January 2020 and will continue for three years until he graduates from senior high school. He is enjoying his first chance to experience living overseas with his naturally energetic and positive mindset.

 

First Year Senior High through to Graduation

After starting his performing arts career in primary school Year 3, appearing in TV series, commercials, and movies, he always thought he would continue on that path, even through high school, and would one day become a professional actor. However, his hometown in Okayama prefecture has very few choices of high schools that offer opportunities for both academic and performing arts studies, and he says that even in his third and final year of junior high school he still hadn’t made any decisions on what senior high school to attend. At that time, his English teacher gave him some advice saying, “If you like English, why don’t you go to a senior high school with a study abroad program?”

Ryushin really likes English and has always had an interest in foreign countries, partly influenced by his grandmother, who has strong overseas ties, and even his grandmother’s younger sister, who worked as a simultaneous interpreter. He says he really started to study English hard from his second year of junior high.

As his graduation from junior high school was approaching, Ryushin thought to himself, “I want to be able to speak English. If I could speak English fluently, I’d have more opportunities as an actor and may even be able to perform overseas,” making his desire to study abroad stronger. Progressing with this line of thinking, he began to consider that going to senior high school in Japan and taking part in a study abroad program was just one option; he also began to think about the possibility of enrolling directly in an overseas senior high school. With those thoughts, his mother encouraged him saying, “If you are going to study abroad, you should bite the bullet and go from first year senior high right through to graduation.”

 

Study Abroad Destination – Adelaide

Making the decision to study abroad after graduating from his Japanese junior high school, Ryushin consulted with various people, including his teachers, and decided that his destination would be Australia. The deciding factors included the level of safety, cost, and most importantly the friendliness of Australian people. The reasons for deciding on Adelaide were the fact that the Japanese population isn’t too large, it isn’t too big a city while not being a country town, Okayama prefecture and South Australia are sister-states, and a friend of his grandmother’s lives here in Adelaide.

Because the school year in Australia starts in January, Ryushin didn’t wait to graduate from his Japanese junior high school and travelled alone to his destination in January 2020. Before his journey started, he was more excited than anxious, even though he was a little nervous about traveling alone on his first ever overseas trip. Unfortunately, on the day of his departure, the flight from Japan was so delayed that by the time he landed in Brisbane, he wasn’t able to make his connecting flight to Adelaide. In a state of trouble, Ryushin gathered his courage and reached out to someone who just happened to be nearby and used his broken English to explain his situation. Ryushin said the person was really kind and helped him out of the situation, listening carefully, taking him to the transfer counter, helping him arrange the next flight, and even helping with how to catch the airport terminal bus.

“Just as I’d heard, Australians are really kind!”

Ryushin’s new life studying here in Australia started with a calm, fresh, and positive mood.

International Student Life Begins

Ryushin started with the ISEC (Intensive Secondary English Course) at his new Australian school, Charles Campbell College. At first, he would look up the meaning of every word to try to understand sentences, but over time he began to understand without needing to use the dictionary and he started to enjoy lessons. He says he utilised his journey to and from school to listen to tutorials and improve his English listening skills. Attending ISEC, he quickly became friends with the other foreign students and the conversations he had with his housemate from Thailand also really helped his studies. He ate dinner with his homestay family and that really helped to get used to English conversation.

 

However, just as he began to get used to his new school and life here, the impact of COVID-19 hit Adelaide. His school closed in the last week of the first term and restrictions were placed on going out. When he first came here, Ryushin would often go out with his host family, but that too stopped and he began spending all his time at home. But, even faced with that challenge, his homestay had Netflix so he watched movies to continue studying English. At first, he relied on the subtitles but over time he began to understand the words being spoken more and more. He says he kept positive by doing things like working out at home, and his host family were kind, helping him to get through the situation without any real problems.

 

After that, the situation in Adelaide calmed down quite quickly and school was able to start from the beginning of the second term. Ryushin is currently spending half of his school time in ISEC and the other in mainstream classes. He says that he is making new friends with local students through basketball, something he has been good at since primary school.

“Even at school, everyone is kind and there isn’t any discrimination. Everyone is almost too kind!”

 

Moving Forward

Ryushin says he was, as expected, a little homesick at first but he never had problems that made him feel down.

“My key strengths are being bright, friendly and keeping optimistic.”

Expressing himself really clearly, Ryushin has found something about himself that starting his study as a foreign student has helped him to realise.

“I’ve come to realise that if I try hard, things will fall into place. I sometimes get a bit frustrated when I can’t understand or express myself in English, but I am really happy when I am able to hold a conversation. Being honest, I didn’t really study when I was in Japan, but trying as hard as I did in first term led to me getting really good grades!”

 

After graduating from senior high school Ryushin plans to return to Japan and resume acting, with his goal to become a ‘Kamen Rider’, a well-known gateway to kick-start an acting career.

In saying that, after being an international student for about six months now and looking at the experiences he and those around him are having, he says he has started to become interested in work to support international students.

Either way, Ryushin hopes to use his life as an international student to study English as hard as he can, broaden his thinking while experiencing a different culture, and grow so that he can make the most of it and bring it all into his future career.

 

Ryushin was actually planning on returning to Japan temporarily in March to attend his junior high school graduation ceremony, but it wasn’t able to happen. He was really disappointed about it but changed his way of thinking, saying “I will do the best I can here” and has used the situation to increase his level of motivation.

Moving fully into mainstream classes from next term, he is currently preparing to join a local basketball club outside of school.

“I am really glad that I came to study here. I want to continue taking on the challenge of more and more things!”

Ryushin’s life as an international student looks set to continue being really fulfilling for him.

 

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Amy, China: Youth Leadership Summit Australia Representative

(This is a translation of a Chinese article and interview. Read the original here.)

 

The only representative of Australia at the United Nation Asia-Pacific Headquarters Youth Leadership Summit was a 17-year-old Chinese student. Amy, a 17- year-old international student, is the sole and youngest representative of Australia invited to participate in the United Nations Youth Symposium at the United Nations Asia-Pacific Headquarters Youth Leadership Summit in 2019. She has also been invited to attend the 2020 Global Model United Nations Summit for Youth and the 4th Asia World Model United Nations Summit this year. Amy was recruited by EIC Education Group in 2017 as an international student to study in South Australian Government Schools. What made her achieve such a success and how did she go with her study and living in Australia? This is her story:

Xiao Qi: Hello Amy, as a student recruited by EIC, would you please say hello to your EIC buddies here?

Amy: Hello everyone! My name is Amy, I came to Adelaide, South Australia in 2017 through the help of EIC Shanghai Office. I am a Year 12 student at Glenunga International High School doing the International Baccalaureate Program. I am very happy to share my study and living experience with you, and I hope this will help you understand how I integrated in local culture and coped with my study in a new environment.

Xiaoqi: What do you think are the attractions of Australia? And why did you choose South Australia as your study destination?

Amy: What fascinated me most about Australia, and especially Adelaide, is its cultural diversity, its friendly people and the quality education. Adelaide is a very beautiful and peaceful city, with people from all different cultural backgrounds. I really hope that Adelaide will get more attention and from more people.

I highly recommend Adelaide because it has very warm, enthusiastic and dedicated teachers, as well as a beautiful environment. I think this is an excellent learning and living environment. I always promote South Australia and my school in various ways, including acting as a student leader and student ambassador, and speaking at various international conferences. I thank EIC for helping me to be admitted by South Australian Government School, and I thank my school, Glenunga International High School, and International Education Services for the support they provided to me.

Xiaoqi: Can you give us a brief introduction about your school, Glenunga International High School?

Amy: My school, Glenunga International High School, is one of the largest public high schools in South Australia. Currently, the students in my school come from 76 different countries or cultural backgrounds. Academically my school ranks among the top ones in the state.

Our school encourages each student to develop their potential to become international-minded citizens with creative thinking skills. Excellence, opportunity, international mindedness and harmony are the four key values of our school and a goal for students to achieve. Students are encouraged to pursue the best individual learning outcomes, as well as to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development, and never give up their aspirations lightly. Students are also encouraged to seize every opportunity to achieve success in each subject, and value their own creativity and abilities.

Glenunga International High School provided me with a lot of academic and extracurricular activities, which enabled me to explore my potential and to offer help to others. I have learned four important skills at my school, which are collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity.

We now live in a global era, and we need to have a global perspective. We need to understand and embrace cultural diversity, work with people from different cultural backgrounds, and respect each other. This is what I have learned from Glenunga International High School, and from living in Adelaide.

Xiaoqi: As a student from China, how did you settle into a new study and living environment? Have you encountered any learning difficulties?

Amy: I remember when I first came to Australia with my mother three years ago, I was only 15 years old. Being far away from my friends, from my family and from China, I found that I could barely communicate with local people here. Not only did I have to adapt myself to a new life, but I also had to face many cultural shocks. For example, when I first came to Glenunga International High School, I knew almost nothing. I felt like an outsider with classmates who had been in this environment for two or three years. You can imagine my stress in a totally new country and a new school. I worked very hard to learn a lot of new English words day and night, these words were ranging from geography to history and to culture, which enabled me to settle into the new life.

Xiaoqi: Can you share with us how you integrated into Australian study and life, and how did you achieve such a success?

Amy: In order to quickly integrate into the local community, I did some in-depth research about the local culture and seized each opportunity provided by my school. I also became an active member of the student council. In order to change some stereotypes of Asian girls, I participated in many drama activities and public speaking. This not only helped me to become a more active person but also made people more aware of the significance of multiculturalism. In addition, many of my roles as a committee member of the student council (a part-time worker, a volunteer, a saleswoman, a waiter in restaurant cleaning dishes etc.,) all helped me to have a deeper understanding of the local people. From doing these things I learnt how to make a living and to live independently.

I am also a volunteer of the Aboriginal Marathon Organisation. I participated in various activities, such as the three-kilometre the Colour Run and a 6000 meters run, raising money to support water resources. I raised more than $5,000 for these organisations.  I recently worked as an intern in a Chinese-Western restaurant to further improve my overall skills so that I will be able to firm my foothold in this era of rapidly developing society.

In short, participating in various activities enabled me to have a better understanding of local society and a deeper connection with locals. These opportunities helped me develop my skills and abilities. In the meantime, I also positively influenced the local community. All these activities helped me to set a great milestone in my life and to engage globally.

Xiaoqi: You have won StudyAdelaide’s Academic Excellence Achievement for International Students awarded by the Governor of South Australia, his Excellency the honourable Hieu Van Le AC in 2019. Can you tell us how you won this award?

Amy: I am currently doing the International Baccalaureate Diploma course at my school. My GPA has always been above 13 or 14 points, which is equivalent to full A-grade. In addition, I won rewards for multiple subjects every semester.

I also participated in various math competitions. My team was awarded the best team in the 2019 Math Night for all South Australian public high schools. I also won the first and second prize for two consecutive years in the Australian National High School Math Competition.

This award is not only based on one’s academic study result but also takes into consideration the contributions one has made to his or her school. Such as leadership in school, or participation in extracurricular activities. I have acted as a student leader for three years, I helped a lot my school mates, especially new arrivals. I also acted as a companion of overseas visitors and students’ parents when they took a tour at my school and helped them understand the subjects and programs my school offered. As a student leader I also organised various activities for students to enrich their school life, such as the International Week.  My committee has made great contributions to our school and our efforts were acknowledged. My contributions also helped me win the Champion for International Mindedness.

I was invited to attend the 2019 Australian Youth Leadership Summit, speaking on behalf of young people from Asian countries to bring closer relations between countries. I was also invited to make a speech at the launch of a video, Voice of Students, for Chinese international students. This made me see a big picture of the world and how we should face the problems in front of us. I believe all these activities increased my chance to win this award.

Xiaoqi: As far as we know, the award was given to students from 13 countries. How do you feel to win the award as a Chinese international student?

Amy: Of course I am very proud. However, I don’t feel it is just owed to my own efforts, but also to my school. I thank EIC for referring South Australian Government Schools to me.

Xiao Qi: We also know that, last year you were invited to attend the 7th United Nations Asia-Pacific Headquarters Youth Leadership Summit in Bangkok, and you were the youngest and the only representative of Australia. Tell us about this.

Amy: First of all, it is a great honour to be selected as the sole and youngest Australian youth representative for attending this Summit.

The initiative of this project is to create as many employment opportunities as possible for young people and disabled people in rural areas, and to allow more children to be able to access education. In some areas, other than the limited income from the rice fields, local farmers and housewives often have no other source of income. Through implementation of our plan and measures for them, we expect that their income will be able to lift to above the average level and to sustain for a certain period.

There are dozens of children in an area called Bang SaKae who cannot afford school education, we aim to help them to fulfil their dreams to receive education. We presented the local principal more than 100 cards in English to let the students have an opportunity to “experience” the charm of different cultures. In addition, this is also an environmental protection project. For example, we use local honey and grapefruit skin to make a new product, hand-soap, which is good for people’s heart and skin.

The plan for the next ten years of this project has been presented to many entrepreneurs of major United Nations member countries, with visualised presentations and displays of physical objects, who have unanimously voted this project as one of the successful business activities that can help to achieve the goal of sustainable development. The product is packed with a QR code, which enables people to view the Facebook homepage of Bang SaKae, hence increasing the public awareness of the area.

We aim to bring Bangkok closer to the international market through this project, and help to export the world’s best grapefruit from Bang SaKae to Australia. We also aim to overcome the language barrier and to help with cultural exchange as well as economic growth. This is a carefully selected collaboration project of the Asia-Pacific Youth Exchange and the United Nations in Bangkok. We expect this project will help to generate more than THB10, 000 annually, which will be evaluated in 2030.

Xiaoqi: As a Chinese student, how did you win this opportunity to become the only representative of Australia?

Amy: The program was originally meant to be open for people aged 18 to 30, with an average age of 24. I submitted the application to the official UN web-site, followed by submitting my resume and answering questions. I finally got the opportunity for a face-to-face interview. I overcame all the difficulties on the way and was selected from over 8,000 applicants to be the sole, 17-year-old representative for Australia.

Xiaoqi: From what I have just heard, I understand that the major benefit from you studying with South Australian Government School, Glenunga International High School, is you have developed an international perspective, am I right?

Amy: Yes. And through my participation in the UN Asia-Pacific Headquarters Youth Summit, I learned that there are so many people in this world who need help. Although I am just a high school student, I really want to be closer to them, to not only enjoy the natural scenes in remote areas, but to also deepen my understanding of their culture, their life and their needs. I hope I can truly be in their shoes, and use what I have learned to help them to fulfil their dreams as much as possible.

We didn’t have any budget at all for this project, from searching for materials to making and forming my plan, from collecting samples to marketing, it is all from our own pockets. We gave all our hard work and the good outcome, including the product and brand, for free to help the people of Bang SaKae. As a student, the biggest gift that I can give, perhaps, is my warm support and my knowledge, and the best return or reward to me is the beautiful smiles of their children.

My Chinese name Shi Yu was given to me by my mother, which doesn’t seem to be a name for a girl, neither does it have a sense of romance or trendiness. However, it implies to ‘give-up’ and not expect anything in return, as the Chinese character Shi-Yu carries. I am willing to devote my whole life to practice why my parents gave me this name. I feel I am already a member of Bang SaKae, which is the third home for me after China and Australia.

Xiaoqi: To finish our conversation, can I ask any suggestions you have for other prospective Chinese international students?

Amy: Never hesitate to showcase yourself, to showcase the best-side of yourself and your full confidence. Never stop your steps for self-development, despite the language barrier. There is no boundary for personal growth, your achievement depends on where you believe you can stand and how far you can reach out. So never look down on yourself, everyone can be their best selves. If others can, why can’t you? And remember, don’t let the world change you, but you can change the world.

 

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