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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Hina, Japan

Hello, my name is Hina Moriya. I’m from Japan and studying at the Golden Grove High School for 10 months.

I was nervous to come here as it was my first time to go abroad and leave my family for a long time. But now, I am glad that Adelaide was the city to stay for this studying abroad. Adelaide has lots of beautiful spots and people. When I landed here, everyone was friendly and welcoming for me; which is the reason why I have never felt lonely. Also, I can see plenty of different cultures here. People in Australia has different cultural background, and this is interesting for me because most people in Japan have same cultural background.

There are so many nice teachers and students at school and I’ve made a lot of friends there. They always try to understand me and kind to me so that I could spend a wonderful time with them. What I enjoy the most at school is the Dance lessons which is the subject I cannot chose in a Japanese school. We’re going to have another performance soon so I’m very excited for that.

I am staying here with the wonderful host family who always helping me and bring happiness for me. I cannot thank them enough because they have spent time with me as much as they could. They took me to many sight spots in Adelaide. I hugged koala, feed kangaroos, went to the show, and eat many kinds of delicious foods with them. I could know what the Australian culture is through homestay.

I’m really enjoying studying in Adelaide and I will miss all the people I’ve met here. It was not only the hardest and challenging year but also the best year ever. All the time I’ve spent here with beautiful people are unforgettable memories for me and I will never forget!

 

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Haru, Japan

Hi everyone, my name is Haru Yamagiwa and I am a year 11 international student from Japan. I have been studying at Seaview High School for almost two years and will graduate next year. During this time I have had a lot of precious experiences and realized many differences in the culture, lifestyle and behaviors. I have been studying hard and my results are pretty good.I love the teachers and the support at Seaview High School because they helped me a lot such as checking my draft many times so I get good results and talking about my country when I feel homesick. It was actually hard to understand English at first, but my friends, teacher and host family helped me a lot.

My host family are from Norway and they are really nice. They love to go outdoors and I have had such amazing experiences and appreciated the beautiful Australian culture and nature, bush walking and the beach.

I also stayed with a temporary host family for just 5 weeks, which I really enjoyed. They are beautiful family and I felt time flies too quickly. I went to a few places here in SA with them, including the Whispering Wall, The Herbig Tree, the Melbas Chocolate Factory, the Toy Factory and Monarto Zoo. I enjoy  ed movie nights, dog-walking and driving with nice music. They are from England and I was really interested in cultural and trivial differences.

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Chihiro, Japan

I still clearly remember when I first arrived in Australia. It was 46 degrees, which was the hottest day ever in Adelaide. Firstly, I was surprised about completely different whether between Australia and Japan. At the same time, I was wondering how would be my host family, how my school life would be… Now, I am having absolutely amazing time here in Adelaide.

I am studying at Seaton High School, and there are many differences from my Japanese school. In my PLP (Personal learning plan) class, all the students have to do work experience for a week. I did my work experience at International Education Services (IES) office. It was good opportunity to learn about how IES works for the International student and homestay family in South Australia.

On the weekends, I go out with my friends or host mates. In winter, it is the season of Australian football. I went to the Adelaide Oval to see the football match for few times. I have many favourite places in Adelaide, especially I really like to go to the beach. In Adelaide, there are so many beautiful beaches such as Henley, Glenelg, Moana, Semaphore and so on. I often go to Henley beach to see the sunset. With host family, I went to many places, and they made me experience a lot. One of my best memory is to went to Sydney trip and spent a weekend at the holiday house in front of the beach.

Since I came to Australia, I experienced so many things that I cannot do in Japan, and I am so thankful to everyone who supporting me. All the experiences in Australia is unforgettable memories and I will come back to my second hometown one day!

Chihiro

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Student Updates

Many students like to take the opportunity to travel during the school holidays to make the most of their Australian experience. Before making any travel bookings, students must discuss their holiday plans with their International Student Program (ISP) Manager and complete the Travel Form. Students can get forms from their ISP Manager.

Find more information on all of our approved tour providers and upcoming tours here.

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Student stories

Check out what other international students have been up to during their time in South Australia: Read student stories

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Q&A with an experienced homestay

Have you ever thought about hosting an international student? We asked one of our homestays, Anna, about her experiences hosting international students in her home.

When did you first start hosting international students and why?

We started in 2014 when we moved to Brisbane for 1 year due to work commitments. We thought it would be a good idea to host international students as our 5-year old son was on his own and we thought it would be good for him to learn different cultures as he was an only child.

What countries have you hosted students from?  

Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Brazil, China, Korea, German, Norway, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

How long does it usually take for a student to feel settled in and part of the family?

We feel it takes about 4 weeks.

What has been the most rewarding experience about hosting?

Watching them grow as a person and discovering the Australian culture as well as improving their English and knowing that they realise that they have grown into a better-informed person.

What have been some of the challenges?

Homesickness, shyness, and students not meeting people or wanting to go out exploring.

Are there any particular activities that your students have most enjoyed? 

Yes, we take our students to Black point (Yorke Peninsula) for the weekend about twice a year and they love the peace, serenity, beach, and just having fun for the weekend. As well as Gorge wildlife park, extended family get-together’s, any kind of celebration that we have in Australia e.g. Xmas pageant, Halloween, Easter and eating different foods

Do you have any handy hints for other homestays in our program?

Make them feel welcome and part of the family, the long life friendship is rewarding.

If someone was thinking about becoming a homestay for international students, what would be your advice and recommendations?

Just do it!! It’s a learning experience for everyone!! Learning about different cultures and showing them what a great country we live in and the bond and friendship we create is phenomenal. We are strangers at first that turn into family.

 

 

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Finja, Germany

I´m Finja, I´m 15 years old and I´m from Germany. And I was here in Australia from January 2018 to June 2018. And the Seaford Secondary College and the people here made this time for me unforgettable and absolutely amazing.

I still know exactly how nervous and excited and also a bit scared I was on my first day at this school, but teachers and students were really nice and friendly to me and there was no reason for me to be scared. And when I had any questions, Mr. Pearce and Ms Wedding were always there for me and the other international students. And when I changed my homestay family they always helped me and made this as easy as possible for me. Generally, I never felt like I was alone. There was always someone I could talk to. And also the teachers were always nice to me and they helped me a lot when I had questions or when I couldn´t understand something. And so it came, that I never felt uncomfortable at school.

And there were also many other great things I experienced with the school. For example, we went snorkeling and surfing in Port Noarlunga almost every Wednesday in Term 1. Both are things I never tried before in my life and I´m happy, that the school made this possible for me. And it is an unbelievable feeling to stand up on your surfboard for the first time. That was one of many moments I probably would have never experienced without this school. Another beautiful moment was the day we were in a wildlife park with the other exchange students and two of the teachers and could see kangaroos and koalas for the first time. And the day we went to Hahndorf was another great day. All of this and also a lot of other things have made my time in Australia to an unforgettable time for me.

And this time ran so fast. It feels like yesterday for me, when I walked nervously into this school for the first time, but it is already six months ago and I wish I could stay for a bit longer. I remember the first day when Adam told me, that nobody says goodbye without tears and that nobody leaves Australia without crying. And I can say, that he was right. I made so many new friends  and I made a lot of great experiences. And if I look back to my time in Australia, it was just amazing and in the beginning I didn´t think, that it would be so hard to say goodbye to all the amazing people and this amazing country.

And if I would ever have the choice, to which school I´m going, again, I would always choose the Seaford Secondary College, because I just felt really comfortable here and that school was one of the reasons that my time here was amazing and I that I will never forget this.

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