|Leong Wai I (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)|
The GPP program has been fulfilling and I am very honored for the opportunity to participate in it. It was my first time across the equator to the southern hemisphere and I was simply thrilled by the prospect of staying in Melbourne for three weeks. It was also my first time staying in a foreign country for a significant period of time. I anticipated living in the Australian culture, language environment and immersing myself in the local lifestyle and eating the cuisine to be difficult.
During these three weeks, we had a Business English course and Job Readiness Program in the Monash College. We were assigned into groups and were studying alongside with a good mix of students from Shanghai and Japan. In the classes, discussions were held in English and we shared with each other about our own national cultures.
The GPP program is a career preparation course for overseas university students and focuses on employment. We visited two big companies and learned about the company’s motto, operations; gained insights on knowledge of business, finance and some of their industry experience. We also had seminars or forums where speakers from different companies advised us on the market demand and relevant skills we should have for a job application as well as some working tips.
Firstly, we must have good communication skills. Secondly, we should know the value of the company and this can be achieved through research before an interview. Thirdly, we have to be familiar with the development of the specific industry and relevant market news. Through this program, I recognize the importance of learning or gaining information on global development before I decide and make career choices for my future.
During the program, I lived with my host family as part of a home stay. My hosts were lovely people and although we could only converse in English, a language I am not that fluent in. It was a good chance for me to practice my English; I could converse and chat with them. In particular, my host mom was exceptionally kind and patient with my limited grasp of English. She would repeat and try various ways to convey her ideas and message to me. She was simply a great person to associate with. We would have small talks everyday and watch the different TV shows like football matches or a variety of shows together.
Through interactions with her and the other host family members, I learned and came to understand different cultural nuances such as the difference between American and Australian football. We would share and talk about our thoughts on the shows and various other topics. In addition, we would try cooking and my host mom would often cook her favorite Australian dishes for me, sharing with me their family recipes. It was truly memorable and I grew fond of the family.
During the weekends, I would explore the city with my friends and program mates. The streets and sidewalks were often filled with graffiti and it somehow resonated with the passion of the people in the city. People there are very kind, friendly and helpful. Whenever I encountered some problems, I would be able to solicit assistance from the locals who often went beyond to help me.
English is a language, one of the most common choices of language for bridging people speaking different languages in a global context, a necessary skill. The best way of learning or even mastering it is to use it in our daily lives which this program made possible. I recognize the value of exchanges and internationalization in the context of this globalised world. Through the interactions and exchanges, the world has grown bigger for me, but, somehow, each place seems closer at the same time.
In conclusion, the program has been a tremendous opportunity and aid for me to improve my English; expanded my horizons and world view; allowed me to experience one of the warmest communities. I am very glad to be part of this program. It is a journey that gave me unforgettable memories and experiences. I enjoyed everything there and I highly recommend the program.