Cindi, China

Cindi studied at Henley High School from 2015 to 2018. While studying in South Australia Cindi lived with a homestay and although she is back in Shanghai, China now she still has a great relationship with them and keeps in touch through social media. Cindi even took her homestay on a trip to China last year.

Cindi is currently studying a Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Honours) through the University of South Australia.

We asked Cindi what she missed most about studying with South Australian Government Schools, she replied “Oh, it is so difficult to pick one thing that I miss the most. There are so many things I miss about studying with South Australian Government Schools because this is one of the best experiences of my life. For example, engaging and being included in the school environment, free choices of non-compulsory subjects, nice and helpful classmates, and so on.

If I have to pick one thing that I miss most was responsible, friendly, professional and inclusive teachers. ‘Inclusive’ is one of qualities that Henley High school teachers have and that I valued the most. As a new international student who was from another culture, Henley High School teachers were all nice and professional and believed that I could reach my potentials in a mainstream class, just like other English speaking background students. I am very appreciative of their support and patience since I am learning to be a teacher now, I know how hard it is.”

We also asked Cindi what advice she would give to students considering South Australia as a study destination. She said I strongly recommend new students to choose South Australia as a study destination because it is a welcoming and affordable place. I can say Adelaide is a premier learning city. People here are nice and friendly, so you will feel very included and welcomed. It is also an affordable and liveable place because you will get students discount in all costs of living, just like local students. I suggest you could have a look at South Australian Government Schools’ website and StudyAdelaide’s websites before you come to South Australia because they provide useful information about what Adelaide is like and what you need to do before your departure and arrival.”

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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, and I recently graduated from Unley High School in 2021.

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.

A few years ago, I just finished my first IELTS exam and received a favourable 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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