Victoria, Vietnam

My name is Victoria. I come from Ho Chi Minh city which is the most popular and biggest city in Vietnam. As an international student, it’s such a pleasure for me to come to Australia and study at Blackwood HIgh School, and I really appreciate the opportunity.

The reason I’m standing here to talk to you all, is to share with you, my experience as an International student here.

On the first day I came to Australia, I felt frightened and nervous about how Australia would be different from my country. I was surprised that there were few scooters on the street like in my country. More than that, in my country we drive cars on the right-hand side of the road, but in Adelaide you drive on the left side of the road. Besides that, the education system here is the biggest difference from my country.

You cannot imagine how hard it was when I had to study thirteen subjects every week in Vietnam, then I had to take extra class every night. I had no time to rest or play outside my study, where here in Adelaide we have more work, life, balance. In Adelaide, I feel much better and more relaxed now, and I also love to study more than in Vietnam.

Naturally, there are still times that I miss my family and really feel like I have an opportunity to come here to Adelaide to study, and also represent my family, my country and I wish to make a good impression, that we are good people. So I keep myself motivated and always tell myself that I can and will do it, no matter how difficult it will be at times, but I will be brave and try my best to pass.

Thanks to all the teachers from last year and this year, thank you for your help and support in my schooling. To all my classmates, friends and friends of friends, who always assist me with my school work and life lessons. Because of my shyness & lack of confidence, we probably didn’t talk too much, but thank you for your priceless kindness and positivity you share with me.

Many overseas students are afraid of speaking English as we do not wish to make a mistake. So, it sometimes seems we do not wish to talk, when actually we are just too scared to speak English. Please be patient with us, we are trying!

As I am becoming more confident, I’d like to make more friends, and I wish all of you will do the same. There is so much we can all learn from each other. We are willing to build special friendships with you all and I wish that you will become a part of my friendship group in the future.

Thank you.

 

 

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Carolina, Italy

My experience in Adelaide is really good and I can’t believe it’s been five months since I arrived. I love Australia, I love the beaches and the weather. Thanks to this experience I met many other exchange student from other countries like Brazil, Japan, Chile, Germany… I have visited many things: Adelaide, beaches, zoo, botanic garden, the university, Granite Island, Mount Lofty, Windy Point… They are all beautiful places and I saw beautiful sunsets over the sea.

My school, Seaford Secondary College, is different from my Italian school, but I like it. My teachers are kind and they helped me to understand when I was confused and given advice. Thanks to the school I got to take surfing lessons, but also to take part in lessons different than Italian subjects, like food, dance, drama… In this picture I was doing a cinema course with other students.

I tried many kinds of different foods and some I like, but others don’t. My favorite is pasta penne with mozzarella, tomato sauce and chicken cooked in the oven. My host parents often do it for dinner. Last month I turned 18 and my host family organized a small party for my birthday. During the two weeks of vacation I went to Melbourne with my host family and my host sisters from Germany and Japan.

Initially I was kinda scared to leave because I would have gone to a country where I didn’t know anyone, but from the first day everyone was very kind and made me feel comfortable.

I love to do this experience and I love to live in Australia.

Carolina

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Momoko, Japan

Hello! My name is Momoko. I am from Tokyo in Japan. I will study at Seaview High School for 10 months as a Year 11 student. I chose Seaview because we can take a tennis class. It is so rare that I can play it as a subject and I think it is exciting!

I have studied English since I was three. At first, I was afraid of speaking because I didn’t want to make mistakes. But my mother always said to me “Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes.” And she cheered me up. Thanks to her I can talk with people who are from other countries. I think that to speak English and learn about other countries and cultures is so interesting.

My school life in Australia is good so far. Sometimes in class I don’t understand what teacher is saying, so I’m trying to ask teacher as soon as possible for help. In my country, students are quiet and nobody asks questions while in class, so asking teacher to help me understand is really new to me and I’m excited to try new things! I look forward to improving my English skills.

Students at Seaview are so nice and friendly. I could make a lot of friends. That is so great but I want to get to know them better so I’m trying to talk to them more. When I am confused they help me a lot and I appreciate their kindness.

I look forward to making more and more friends and I want to teach them about Japan.

Thank you.

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Settling into South Australian life

Lou-Ann comes from France, and while she has been studying in South Australia, she has lived with homestay family Kathryn, Richard and their three girls.

“Lou-Ann has fit in well with our three girls, there is always giggling and laughter coming from the bedrooms.”

“She has joined one of our girls at her girls football training, which Lou-Ann is loving and she is going to start attending Tea Tree Gully gymnastics for the term as well. She has held a Koala and we have done a few other ‘tourist-type’ activities.”

Lou-Ann definitely helps around the house and offers to cook meals, she has also cooked crepes for us and also for her school class.  Lou-ann talks about some friends she has at school so as far as I am aware all is good there too.

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Emily, Germany

When I decided to study abroad, I was sure that I’d love to go to Australia. Since I can remember, I was in love with this country and I always wanted to go there. I decided to choose a school in South Australia, because I thought that the temperatures there would be the nicest for me. Neither too cold, nor too hot. And I chose a regional school instead of a city school because I already live in a big city and always wanted to experience the countryside.

When it came to deciding about the city and school, I mostly made my decision by looking at three things:
1. The distance to the ocean
2. The subjects I could attend there
3. The school uniform

So, that’s how I got to Port Lincoln High school. It was close enough to the ocean, so I could just go swimming after school, which was pretty amazing! And they offered subjects like Outdoor Education, Food Technology or Woodwork which I was really looking forward to, because I’d never get the chance to study them in Germany. Plus, the school uniform looked pretty as well. And I know, most people might not care about that but I always dreamed of having a school uniform and I enjoyed it every day that I wore it.

Anyways, aside from all those things that made me chose Port Lincoln, there were so many things that made me enjoy my time there. First of all, the people there were so friendly and open-hearted. They directly made me feel welcome and home. And they were the reason why I was able to get to know the Australian way of life and the Australian slang. They showed me breathtaking beaches with white sand and turquoise water, delicious food like “Tim Tams”, “Pavlova” or “Golden Gaytime” and I got to celebrate traditional festivals like “Tunarama” with them. I got to go camping underneath millions of stars including the “Southern Cross”, next to free living kangaroos and then go surfing the next day. It was amazing!

But not only special days like these made me have such a good time. All the normal days in school and average weekends were so great as well! Just being a part of the community there and living a kinda average Australian life was actually the best I could’ve wished for. I felt like I really belonged there. And I never thought that I could find so many new good friends on the other side of the world – some of them I still call on a regular basis – and actually have a host family that I get along with so well. All of them supported me when I needed them and they were there for me when I cried about having to leave them. Even the teachers at school were people I could go to when I needed to talk or required help with something. To be honest, I actually have to say that I was looking forward to going to school every morning. I really enjoyed seeing my friends and all the nice people, wearing the school uniform and just having such fun subjects.

Of course though, I have to mention my time in the homestay as well. How could I not? I had a great host mum, Tamara, with the best and sweetest cat I ever met. And me and Tamara just got along so well. She accepted me the way I am and even encouraged me to love myself. Thanks to her I’m way more confident than I was before and just happy with myself – thanks to her, her family, my friends and all the amazing people I met. They made me feel so comfy and love that I couldn’t stand not seeing them again so I decided to come back the next holidays.
All in all, I can just say that I loved my experience down under! It was the best decision I ever made! It changed my life.
And I know it sounds kinda cheesy but it’s the truth!

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Thaysla, Brazil

I arrived in Australia in July 13, 2018. I spent 1 day in Sydney with other Brazilian students who also from the same agency as me. We had a orientation there about Australian law, about host families, about school and everything related to Australia exchange program and then we did a mini tour. We went to Manly Beach, The Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach. It was amazing.

The next day, I went to Adelaide very nervous to meet my host family who was at the airport. We did so much stuff together in the first two weeks before start of classes. I went to the famous Glenelg beach, saw Kangaroos and I hugged a koala, among other things. In this time, I had a lot of contact with Australian culture. For me, it was amazing because I could see how Australian culture was.

Adelaide is a small city, mild winter temperatures; however, Adelaide has everything that you need and especially beautiful beaches, which I love. Also is a city with few Brazilians so it is good to improve English language and be in more contact with English and other cultures.

 

 

I studied in Hamilton Secondary School and my experience there was amazing. I have always been interested in Psychology and I had the opportunity do it here, because I do not have this subject in my timetable in Brazil. The teachers in Hamilton gave me all support and they never refused to help me at all. Also I have made friends there that I will never forget them. I am enjoying every single moment of this experience as much as I can, because it was always my dream do to an exchange program. I am dealing with the homesickness of my friends from Brazil, my family and also the food, however, each day I have a new challenge to face, what matures me as a person.

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Angela, China

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I started my journey in Adelaide, South Australia because of the high education quality and moderate cost, but the welcoming nature and vibrant lifestyle made me stay.

Even before my departure, I received a welcome pack by Department of Education including description of studying and living in South Australia, preparations and checklists. This small but useful gift filled me with warmth and expectation instead of worries.

However, my journey wasn’t free of turbulence. I applied for another high school since the Plan A, Glenunga International High School is full. My language school, though, agreed to express my interest to Glenunga if I maintain the excellent results. With my hard work and encouragements from others, I graduated with two academic excellence awards and was accepted by Glenunga eventually.

Glenunga was different from language school. As I was embarrassed of my insufficient English skills, fitting in was difficult. Nonetheless, teachers and classmates in Glenunga were very friendly and patient. They encouraged me to contribute more in class and socialise during break. Thanks to them, I slowly adapted to life in Glenunga. Most importantly, no one discriminated against me. This embracing culture of Glenunga implies the welcoming Australian culture and grants me a healthy and enjoyable journey.

How can I give back? My answer is – run for prefect to represent International students. During my tenure, I co-founded International Connect Program for International students to achieve their personal best and look after their wellbeing. Alongside the language class ISEC, this program has assisted generations of International students with academic and wellbeing aspects.

Glenunga is the only public high school offering IB in Adelaide. Throughout my journey in IB, I have received outstanding grades and numerous recognitions, especially the 2017 StudyAdelaide International Student Award. I am grateful to develop courage, perseverance and positive attitude in Glenunga.

 

Homestays in South Australia often has various cultural background. The Chinese homestay assigned to me has helped me a lot in adapting to life in Adelaide. During my stay, I realized the importance of communication and trust.

My family recommended applying for renounced universities in Britain with my final grades. However, Adelaide has been my home away from home with the network I developed, the valuable experiences created, and the wonderful journey I experienced so far. Besides, Universities in Adelaide are also world-leading in research and education. In the end, I successfully convinced my family to choose Adelaide for tertiary study. I am currently studying Bachelor of Teaching and Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Science in University of Adelaide, looking forward to teaching in Adelaide and promote education in remote areas.

I was honoured to be selected as one of the 2018 StudyAdelaide Ambassadors whose roles include promoting South Australia as study destination and improving the experience and wellbeing of current International Students in South Australia. As experienced International students, we offer tips on getting the most from Adelaide and help arrange and promote workshops and events around the year. What I recommend the most is the summary per month on internship and volunteer opportunities in Adelaide. Do not miss it if you want to improve yourself in your spare time! If you want to know what’s happening around Adelaide, then follow StudyAdelaide’s social media accounts!

I have never regretted my decision on Adelaide. No matter studying or living, Adelaide has been excellent in quality and cost. Wish to see you in Adelaide in the future!

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Taehwan (Daniel), South Korea

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Exactly 10 years ago from now, my whole world turned upside down, quite literally actually. I was a happy average child in South Korea, only to discover that I will be moving to the other side of the planet to study abroad. At that age, I have never heard of Australia or South Australia, and especially not Adelaide. Years later when I asked my parents why they chose South Australia in the first place, they expressed how its nature, security, and multi-culturalism led them to elect here above all the other options. The same boy who once felt intimidated and petrified by the new environment ended up falling in love with it and miserable to head back home.

The new world and the new experience opened up the vision that I have never seen; hence led me to realise how the education system in South Australia was truly the only system that I could maintain a genuine level of passion towards both education and other extra curriculum activities which would work in cohesion for me to develop myself as a proud mature individual. Such belief resulted in my arrival back to Adelaide in 2012; it has been six years and I thank god that I made

the right decision. Schooling in Glenunga International High School (GIHS) provided me more support and knowledge than I ever would have anticipated. I was never alone – from Buddy system to Peer Support and International Connect, all of which are programs specifically designed for international students to feel more relaxed and protected throughout their time in GIHS.

On top of that, I can confidently say that my time in homestay remains as one of the most precious memories of my life. I was treated equally with their own children and made me feel like home. Even though I no longer live with them, they remain as my second parents whom I cherish and always meet up as much as I could.

They say that there are two kinds of happiness. One kind of happiness you only know after the moment has passed, and the other you feel in the moment. The happiness you feel in the moment is so precious that they say that the memories of this kind of happiness can stay with you and enlighten your life. My high school experience was the latter kind that will continue to remain with me and now my goal is to give such happiness back to the students and be the support that once nourished me. For this reason, alongside my tertiary studies in University of South Australia studying Bachelor of Design (Communication Design), I returned to GIHS and now support international students both academically and mentally, ensuring content and successful outcome for all those in need.

 

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Iroha, Japan

I decided to study abroad in Australia, because I met a girl who is from Australia when I was a junior high school student, and she told me many things about Australia. After that, I started being interested in study abroad in Australia.

I had never been to other countries before I came here so there were many things that made me surprised and confused. However, the wide sky and many nationalities were especially impressive for me, and I still remember I felt the beautiful blue sky which didn’t have any clouds when I arrived in Australia.

At first, my life in Australia didn’t go good at all. The hardest part for me was to understand English when someone speaks, and I couldn’t understand at all. However, while I talk with many people, my English skills were getting better and I didn’t realise that my English skills were improving.

My host mother taught me how to pronounce ‘r’ and ‘th’ and many other pronunciations which don’t exist in Japanese, and it was then that I felt my English became better the most. My host mother is really helpful, and when I asked her about pronunciations, she spent more than 2 hours with me.

Every member of my host family is really kind and funny. My host mother often takes me and my host sisters to many places on weekends. I respect her like my real mother and I’m so glad that I was able to meet her. Most of time when I’m at home, I talk about school life with my host family and we often joke around. Also, I always ask some questions about English grammars and words and every time I ask, they teach me these things really kindly.

I have two host sisters and they are from Italy and Brazil. We often talk about differences between each of our cultures and languages. That makes me so curious to know about other countries and languages.

There are a few things which made me changed through experiences in South Australia. Firstly, my opinions of Japan and other countries were changed and I could think my opinion from other side to understand many opinions from many people and cultural sides. Also, I didn’t need to try anything when I was in Japan, but after coming Australia, I try as much as I can.

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Catching up with past students in Japan

One of our host families hosted a Japanese girl called Mayuko during her study tour in South Australia. This is what host mother, Brigitta, had to say during her time with Mayuko:

“I just wanted you to know what a wonderful girl Mayuko is. She is soooo lovely, I can’t even tell you how great it is to have her with my family. She is friendly, helpful, respectful, funny and so kind. She helps me with cooking, she has big chats about everything and her English is great. She wants to make her English as good as she can and she works hard on it. She barely uses translating machines etc. Amazing young girl and we are very grateful of these two weeks we get to spend with her and learn all different things about Japan from her. She fitted into our family like we have always known her and the children love her too – she plays with them all lot. Very sweet girl. We feel very comfortable around her. She is an absolute gem!”

 

Later in the year, Brigitta and her family (including 3 children) went on a trip to Japan. As part of their trip, they caught up with Mayuko and her mother. They had a great time seeing where Mayuko lives and learning more about the Japanese culture.

“We would like to say a big thank you to this program you are running. Thanks to this I think we have made some lifelong friends. We just got back from Japan a week ago and while we were there we caught up with our last student, Mayuko, and her mum from Kyoto. It was lovely and without this program our children wouldn’t be able to make special friendships like this. So, thank you to all the International Student Program workers for all these lovely experiences and memories. It was lovely catching up and an incredible experience for our kids to see where our students come from and how they live….”

 

 

“Japan… what an incredible place. We have travelled a lot around the world but have never seen anything like Japan and Japanese people. We have done two-full weeks of travelling around the country to see as much as we can and we truly fell in love with it. Now we are even more excited about hosting international students in the future, so that we can understand their culture and how they live. Very grateful for this international program.”

 

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