Guilherme, Brazil

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I arrived in Australia on 29th of January of 2018. My first contact with my Host Parents was at Adelaide airport. Soon in the first days, my parents here in Australia helped me with all things that I would need. All of these things helped us become much more close, and after the day of my arrival, also arrived another Japanese student, with whom I had an excellent relationship. I had my first day at school only a week and half after my arrival. On my first day, I met with the other international students from Wirreanda Secondary School, and I discovered that we were seven: five Japaneses, a French and me, a Brazilian. On the first day, we got to know the school and we had the orientation morning where we worked out our timetable, and chose our subjects. Some subjects were compulsory. Another fact that drew my attention in a positive way is the fact of the school was very well prepared to receive international students, offering classes to focus in English and with a co-ordinator that in the area, that gives all necessary support. When I received my timetable, I noticed that I had subjects that I didn’t have in Brazil, like Marine Science and Research Project, which is an obligatory subject in year 11. I am a very shy person, therefore I knew that I would have some challenges to make friends, but sure the presence of the international students helped me a lot in this aspect. We had an excellent relationship since the first day, and we were in the same situation, and consequently this helped me in my adaptation. And I got to make many Australian friends when I became less shy and could talk more with them. Every time I was very well treated in general, and could make many friends that I would like to keep for the rest of my life. Without doubt it has been an unforgettable experience that is helping me overcome some hurdles that I had. And is helping me mature a lot, and without doubt was one of the better decisions of my life. Here I am having to overcome many challenges, like mainly the missing of my family, that before this I never stayed more than a week away from them. And another reason that made my exchange stay more incredible is the fact of Australians is being open to know a new culture, so I could teach a little and learned a lot.

 

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Khemika, Thailand

Before I left home I am so excited and when I arrived here I was scared and nervous because my flight had to come down to Sydney airport and connect again to Adelaide. I was very relieved when I arrived in Adelaide.

My homestay family was waiting for me at the airport. After we finished collecting all the luggage, she took me to see the places around the city and taught me things. I have learned a lot of things because it is so different from my home country. And she makes me feel safe, she looks after me like my mother. Every time I when I return from school she always asks me like how I was, everything okay, are you alright and she like to cook Thai food for me.

The first day I came to school, I was worried if I could join with my friend or can I understand what the teacher said in classroom but is not as I thought. All of my friends are good with me and the teachers are very welcoming.

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Ning, China

My name is Ning Fan and I am from Luoyang, China. I was an international student of Charles Campbell College from 2010 to 2013. Moreover, it was an honour to be an International Student Captain of Charles Campbell College in 2013. I still remember the time when I was in Charles Campbell College. 

My teachers were always very patient and kind to me. I developed my skills in writing and speaking in English with their help and also enhanced the culture understanding of Australia in class. Later, I achieved a satisfactory grade in Year 12 to enter University of Adelaide for the tertiary study in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering. Now I have graduated from this course in May 2018 and I have found a job in a pharmaceutical and biotechnological company in Hangzhou, China. I plan to go back to China for the next few years. However, I will never forget the experience of studying in Adelaide. 

This experience helped me to develop skills in the professional area and also abilities for problem solving. I built up the confidence to overcome challenges in my life as well. Finally, I want to say thanks to my family, teachers and friends. Their support and encouragement helps me a lot in my life. I appreciated it.

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Mai, Japan

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A Message to Future Students from Abroad

“If you come here to study, don’t waste time feeling embarrassed or squirming in your seat; I think it is much better to get out there and take action. I really recommend that you start studying English as soon, and as hard, as you can!”

Mai makes the most of every moment of school and out of school life. Once a week, she catches a bus by herself into the city and heads to the State Library to participate in the free group English lesson to increase her opportunity to communicate in English. “I am the youngest in the group, but I have made a promise to myself to speak up at least twice each lesson, even if my English is a bit crazy.”

Recently, Mai even got the chance to experience being a volunteer and teaching Japanese calligraphy at a community event. “I wanted to share a part of Japanese culture so it was a really good experience for me. It was my first time to be a volunteer. I really want to continue improving my English ability while I broaden my interactions with people by taking part in all sorts of volunteer activities, not just relating to Japan.”

Mai says that when she was in Japan, she was the type of person who didn’t really have an opinion, but this is one of her goals of

studying abroad. “Through this experience of studying abroad, I want to become the type of person who can say ‘This is what I think’ and ‘I am this kind of person’; someone who can say it like it is.” That is why Mai wants to understand not only her own way of thinking, but the thought processes of all sorts of people; taking part in community activities is a really valuable opportunity to understand the value of people. “In reality, there are people from all over the world gathered here and I have come to realise that there isn’t just one way of thinking. I want to become a person who is adaptable to all sorts of things.”

After graduating from high school, Mai wants broaden her global mentality by studying at university and she says that she wants to become a Japanese person who is globally active. She is also interested in working for the United Nations.

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Aiko, Thailand

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Being able to come to South Australia is a once in a lifetime opportunity that has been one of the best decision in my life that I have made for my future and learning experience. Although I was thoroughly surprised by numerous other things when I first arrived, I had no difficulty adapting to the Australian way of life. Accommodating myself to the lifestyle here has made me more confident, responsible, and has greatly improved my time management skills. Not to mention, my English has also been improved dramatically. I was only able to accomplish all of the things mentioned due to the support from my parents, host family, and my peers as well as the support system for students at Adelaide High School.

This past 2 years has been an incredibly rewarding experience that has taught me many valuable life lessons as well as leave me looking forward to spending the rest of my high school and university days here.

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Sipalak, Thailand

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Deciding to study in South Australia is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life. Everyone here, whether it would be my homestay or my fellow students, are very supportive and welcoming.  By stepping out of my comfort zone and coming to Adelaide, I have made many wonderful friendships and gained so many unforgettable experiences!

At first, I found it a bit difficult to adapt to the new lifestyle and environment, but with the support of my friends and homestay family, Adelaide has become my second home. Although making friends was quite challenging for me, I learned to become more sociable. People in South Australia are very approachable and friendly that it wasn’t hard to adapt.

My homestay parents are one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met, and they always support me in everything I do. I have also become the best of friends with my homestay sisters. In our family, we spend a lot of quality time together. Sometimes, we go to the beach. Sometimes, we play games and cook together. Sometimes, we make hot chocolate and have a movie night. Other times, we talk about our future and aspirations. We also went to Cleland Wildlife Park and I saw kangaroos, koalas and many other animals for the first time ever!

One of the best experiences I had in Australia is being part of the South Australia Police (SAPOL) class of 2017 in Adelaide High School, which is about learning to work as a team and citizenship. Through SAPOL, I have learned many life lessons, while making unbreakable friendships and so many unforgettable memories. I went camping for the first time with the SAPOL class and I had to opportunity to work with Cancer Council and the Smith Family as well. It was a fantastic and fun experience. I enjoyed learning new things, while also helping people at the same time. Other than SAPOL, I enjoy other subjects in school such as Food Technology, Biology, English and more. I also enjoy co-curricular activities at school such as being a peer leader and an international ambassador.

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Ning, China

My name is Ning Fan and I am from Luoyang, China. I was an international student of Charles Campbell College from 2010 to 2013. Moreover, it was an honour to be an International Student Captain of Charles Campbell College in 2013. I still remember the time when I was in Charles Campbell College.

My teachers were always very patient and kind to me. I developed my skills in writing and speaking in English with their help and also enhanced the culture understanding of Australia in class. Later, I achieved a satisfactory grade in Year 12 to enter University of Adelaide for the tertiary study in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Engineering. Now I have graduated from this course in May 2018 and I have found a job in a pharmaceutical and biotechnological company in Hangzhou, China. I plan to go back to China for the next few years. However, I will never forget the experience of studying in Adelaide.

This experience helped me to develop skills in the professional area and also abilities for problem solving. I built up the confidence to overcome challenges in my life as well. Finally, I want to say thanks to my family, teachers and friends. Their support and encouragement helps me a lot in my life. I appreciated it.

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Noah, Germany

The orientation-program held on the first two days really helped me getting confident with the school, the language and all the forms and let my concerns disappear. For the next few days I got a buddy that showed me the school, especially the facilities. He also took me to his classes and got me into the first contact with other australian students. The students here at Seaview High School are very open and friendly and they integrated me from the beginning which helped me a lot. Also the care group teachers and the team for the international students really care about every individual, their well being and their education. Everytime I had questions because of travelling as an international student or changing a subject they were able to help me quickly.

My personal highlight of term one was the sports day which was held at the end of the term. It was well organized and I had a lot of fun. Another great thing and new experience for me is the huge amount of subjects being offered at Seaview High School. I am able to do my favourite sport tennis as a subject at school and there are lots of other subjects that you can chose. For example dance, food and hospitality or legal studies. The facilities are equipped with good and new stuff especially the science and computer rooms.

I am really looking forward to the second term and the rest of my stay here in Adelaide at the Seaview High School.

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Shiori, Japan

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Shiori says that ever since she was a child she has wanted to travel overseas so she has always felt that learning to speak English was essential. “I thought that English will continue to become more and more important in Japan, so learning to speak it fluently wouldn’t only help me to build my confidence, it would assist me to grow into someone who can contribute to society. This made me want to complete high school studies outside of Japan”.

There were some who were worried for her but Shiori was determined so her supportive mother, Sachiko decided to come with her as her guardian.

Overcoming Uncertainty

“Even though I felt safe because my mother was coming with me, when I actually left Japan the feeling of ‘fear’ began to grow. I realised that I hadn’t really learnt very much English at Junior high…” Shiori said that this uncertainty led to her feeling homesick and it almost destroyed her dream so shortly after starting her studies. But, after meeting others here who had come from Japan, and hearing that they too found it difficult at first, and shared similar experiences to hers, Shiori felt encouraged and realised that she wasn’t alone in finding it tough. She says that from that time on she slowly began to adjust to her school life, as well as life in general here in Adelaide.

After studying ISEC (International Secondary English Course – a course for foreign students to prepare them for high school) for 8 months, Shiori was accepted into a Year 10 class. She explained that this really broadened her integration, giving her more opportunities to communicate with local people. Her studies became more difficult, but she says, “I got used to openly asking my teacher to explain things that I didn’t understand, and this helped me to overcome the challenges.” She says that through this experience she has learnt that if there is something that you don’t understand, you just need to ask someone and they will help you. She also overcame her weak point of expressing her opinions and showing confidence, which made communicating with teachers and friends much easier.

In junior high school Shiori was a strong tennis player and she is continuing it here, playing for a local tennis club and participating in tennis tournaments. Currently competing in Division 1, Shiori explained the benefits she gets from playing tennis and said, “I only train once a week because I don’t want it to interfere with my study, but it is really good to help me feel refreshed.

After Graduating from High School

Although she hasn’t decided what she wants to do after graduating from high school, Shiori is thinking of making the most of her experience of studying in the English-speaking world by either going to university in an English speaking country, or by studying something at a Japanese university using the English language.

“My mother has tried hard to support me in my overseas schooling so I don’t want to waste it. I am really interested in psychology so in the future I would like to work in a profession that relates to that field. No matter what, I want to contribute to society and become someone who plays an active part in making it better.”

A Message to Future Students from Abroad

“For me, studying abroad takes a lot of courage, but if you have courage and start the ball rolling, you’ll make it happen somehow. Please don’t be afraid to get advice from people when you are unsure of something. You will definitely have an opportunity to make your dreams come true so I think it is important that you don’t miss it and take every chance you have. Studying abroad brings some tough times but I am sure that you will get everything that you put into it, so please keep trying your hardest. I have also experienced many difficult times here, and I continue to battle my way through, but now I am really glad that I have chosen to study abroad.”

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Kaho, Japan

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In January 2017, Kaho started her study abroad program here in Adelaide as a Year 10 student. Now in her second term of study, she is making the most of everyday, very conscious of her own development.

It all happened like a bullet

Since she was little, Kaho had always thought “I want to experience life outside of Japan.” That feeling became increasingly strong in her second grade of junior high school (Year 8) when she took part in a language study program in the US, and the idea of studying abroad became instantly real when her friend told her that she was going to study in Australia. After hearing that Australian schools offer students a lot of choice on the subjects they study, she thought to herself, “I want to go there and learn more about the things that interest me.” Then, in her second term of Year 10 she had a discussion with her father, telling him about her desire to study abroad. He understood her feelings and was very supportive, immediately working with her to get the ball rolling and make it happen. Fast forward a few short months and Kaho was standing on Adelaide soil.

“It was like a bullet! I hadn’t done any special preparation for studying here or taken any extra English lessons, so it was pretty tough at first.”

Memories of Adelaide

In fact, the Shimizu family had lived in Adelaide before. Kaho was only two and a half years old when they returned to Japan so she has no real memories of her time here, but she says that she heard about how great Adelaide is from her parents. Understanding the great things about the city, such as the friendly people, ease of living, and safety, it was a natural decision for Kaho to choose Adelaide as her study abroad destination.

“Arriving here I found that everyone, my homestay family, school teachers, the people I happened to meet on the airplane, was really kind. It made me think that we, as Japanese people, need to learn this type of kindness.”

3 weeks, and then 3 months

Even though she was surrounded by kind people, in an environment well-suited for overseas students to study, she still experienced many tough times when she first arrived.

“My first three weeks were really tough,” says Kaho who started her studies here really strong, but soon began to miss Japan and become homesick.

Understanding that feeling down was counter-productive, bit by bit her motivation increased, she got over her feelings of homesickness and even began to feel motivated with her school studies when she hit a brick wall; this time it was the language barrier.

“Even in my favourite subject, Maths, I couldn’t work out the answers because I didn’t understand the questions. But once I understood the meaning of the questions , I could answer them in less than a minute.”

“I also wasn’t used to preparing for, or doing presentations so it was really hard.”

Those tough times continued for the first three months.

“My host family, parents and two younger host sisters, all go to bed at 10pm,  and I didn’t want them to worry about me staying up late”, says Kaho, so she too would go to bed at 10pm, only to wake up at 3am to do her homework.

Then, in her fourth month of study here her mother flew out to visit her on a surprise trip from Japan.

“My mum came to Adelaide and it was when I was showing her around the city that I realised how much my English had improved.” Friends close to Kaho also noticed the change.

“At first, when we went to the shops together, I always relied on my English speaking friends to order for me. But, before I knew it I began ordering what I wanted for myself! I didn’t notice until my friends pointed it out.”

Kaho also explains that she soon began to easily understand her teachers in class. Each time something happens that makes her conscious of how much her English has improved, it makes her realise how all her efforts early on helped build her confidence, and the smile on her face tells the story.

“I had prepared myself for everyone around me to say, ‘It is hard at first’. I really did have some hard times, but now, looking back, it was better than I expected!”

Now and into the future

“At the orientation session on my first day of study here, I sat next to a student from China and we have become good friends, often going out together. Becoming friends with people from other countries and learning about their cultures is not only fun, but communicating in English is great practice, so it is also really good for our own development.”

Even though Kaho, who says that this interview was the first time in a long time that she had spoken so much Japanese, admits she still sometimes struggles with communicating in English, she is beginning to lay her roots, enjoying frequent conversation with her host family and living the local lifestyle. She also explains that living so far from her family in Japan has helped her to appreciate them and really understand their importance.

Kaho is currently studying the Intensive Secondary English Course (ISEC) designed to help foreign students prepare for High School, but she is about to enter mainstream classes and make lots of local friends, with her dream for the future to become a mediator between Japan and Australia.

“I want to find lots of great things about both Japan and Australia and I’d be really happy to work in a field where I can benefit both countries!”

Finding her future dream here in Australia, Kaho is walking life in her own way.

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