Fortunately, I got the chance to join the overseas program in Australia this summer. It was a really lovely and unforgettable experience, not only because the knowledge I gained but also because of the people and everything I met there.
We went to Australia from Macao as a group of 23 students, and before we gathered at Macao Outer Harbor Ferry Terminal we rarely knew about each other. On the way to Australia, we were curious but also a little bit nervous about living in a strange country on our own.
After we arrived in Melbourne, our homestay families picked us up and we headed to our new Australian families. My homestay grandma, Beverley, was there as well. (I knew she is 74 years old, so I thought she would be an old lady; however the truth was that she looks really young and I didn’t recognize her at the first time!) She is a kind and nice lady, after talking with her for a little while, I felt no longer nervous. She drove me home and I really liked my new bedroom because the whole second floor was mine, how exciting!
During all the three weeks, Beverley and all her family members: her daughter Melissa, lovely little girl Megan and the handsome boy Harry, of course, and their puppies Lottie and Millie made me feel like I was at home and gave me lots of help. We went to the beach near our house, we went to the stadium to watch Harry play basketball, we went to the theatre to see the musical show Grease, we made dinner for each other, and we watched TV during the whole night… We shared lots of interesting and unforgettable moments together, and I really miss them now.
The study in school was also impressive. Not like the way we study in Macao or Mainland China, studying in Monash College was fun and interesting. The teachers can make even the driest things attractive. We played many games in the class and learned a lot about business and Australian culture. In addition, we also visited many workplaces in Australia like the Dairy Innovation factory and the Nab, which is National Australia Bank. Meeting with the employees working in Monash College who were foreign and now are working in Australia gave us much information about how to live and work in Australia; talking with the management personnel made us know more about the working conditions and management arrangements in Australia. We also went outside to learn more while having fun. Learning in Australia was pretty fun and helped me know more about the business environment of Australia.
Although I really gained lots of knowledge from living with my homestay family and studying in Monash College, the most meaningful part for me was the experience of living in a totally new city on my own. We needed to do everything by ourselves and to find anywhere we wanted to go by ourselves. It would be easy for us when in a country using Chinese, but it was difficult when we were in a country speaking a different language from us. For example, the train system was really strange in Australia and on the first day many of my classmates couldn’t find their house, then they needed to ask strangers and found their way in the really dark night. After overcoming every difficulty, we found that we could deal with the life in a foreign country and really enjoyed ourselves.
In these three weeks, I tried to use all my leisure time to explore this city. I went to nearly all the famous places like the Great Ocean Road, the Luna Park and all the gardens, galleries and museums in Melbourne I felt interested in. Then, I found out that I really like this city, I like the relaxed attitude when people are dealing with things, I like the natural places with great scenery, I like the old buildings along the streets, I like the sea near my host family’s house, and I love the feeling when I have an entirely new experience. Like my journal said, every day I have new experience in Melbourne and I like it.
In addition, all of our 23 students no longer feel strange with each other. I also met lots of talented people, and made many new friends in Melbourne. Moreover, when communicating with people from different countries, I learned more about different cultures and how to view the world from different angles.
After this program, I found my oral English improved a lot. Maybe I still have grammar mistakes when I speak, but I feel confident because I realize that language is used for communication – if the person whom you are talking with can understand you, then, your English is useful. I don’t feel ashamed of my English anymore. Moreover, I know how to live in a foreign country and really enjoyed that kind of experience. It will be pretty useful for me because I’m thinking about studying for my master’s degree abroad; however I was not so sure about whether I can live in a strange country on my own. This program has helped me to know more about myself and to let me see more of my own potential. I really appreciate the opportunity our school gave to me and I learned a lot through this overseas program in Melbourne Australia.