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Student Corner

MPI’s Students Expanded their International Horizons in Australia

Lam Io Man
Year 2 – Social Work

Participating in an overseas study programme is really an unforgettable experience for a university student, both for the learning process and broadening of horizons. It was the first time for me to go elsewhere and live on my own. At home, my mother did almost all the housework, so I could do what I wanted. In Melbourne, I was living in a homestay. They came from Brunei. I had a wonderful trip because of them. They took care of me and helped me a lot. They helped me to understand more about Melbourne. The homestay father is a priest. He is very talkative and I learned lots of things from him.

Melbourne is a multicultural city. The culture here is really different to my hometown. I think the food is the biggest cultural difference between Australia and Macau. People there eat sandwiches for lunch. In Macau, we prefer to eat some hot food, maybe some noodles or rice. And also, Australians love drinking hot coffee. People in Macau like to drink milk tea or some cold drinks. At first, I felt a little bit uncomfortable because I’m not used to eating sandwiches for lunch. But I know I need to accept the different food culture in different countries.

The next difference is the living environment. The living environment is the biggest difference between Australia and Macau. My homestay family lives in Glen Waverley, which is such a big suburb. In Macau, mostly we live in apartments, with so many people living in a small street, which is really crowded. But in Australia, the suburbs are very quiet and have lots of trees. And also the living space is bigger than Macau. I feel the living environment in Australia is more comfortable than Macau.

In addition, I think Australians are very nice and communicative. My home-stay family taught me a lot about Australia’s culture. For example, how to use public transport and many other things. I think the people in Macau are perhaps more introverted. They will answer your question, but if you don’t ask for help, they won’t help you initially. I think that is a good thing. We should use our observation to see others, observe what they need, and ask ’’Can I help you?”. I think this action can break though the wall between people.

Let’s talk about the Overseas Study Programme. My English is not very good. So I tried hard to listen to others. I hoped I could learn English from my classmates and trainers. I think my English is much better now, so I can more easily understand others’ opinions. I tried hard to improve my English skills because this is my main communication problem. I feel my communication skills are now much better than before. So I feel that I accomplished what I set out to achieve. I am really happy to see that my English has improved, because when I arrived in Australia, I felt really nervous. I have never been to a place where English is the only language used to communicate with others. I was surprised that people there are very nice. For example, my homestay family took care of me very much. They taught me how to go to different places in Melbourne. I love the culture there! I think I will still need time to improve my English, because any language requires much effort to gain proficiency in. So I will try my best to learn English after the programme.

While I'm sad to leave this beautiful country of Australia, I am excited for what lies ahead. I am so glad that I had this valuable experience of a lifetime.

Mu Siqing
Year 3 – Chinese-Portuguese Translation and Interpretation

Time goes fast, we have finished the Overseas Study Programme in Melbourne and finally returned to Macao. This programme was precious as an unforgettable experience in my life. I liked the classes that were prepared so well by trainers from Monash University. The study level was acceptable and was filled full of interactions between students from different countries. From the interesting activities in class, I learned the importance of small talk which was my favorite unit. Firstly, I met our trainer, Lenka, an experienced and active professor who taught us how to communicate with acquaintances. She used funny gestures and interesting tones to attract my attention. I really enjoyed talking with her since I could learn a lot about emotional controls while having a conversation with others.

As for another part of my daily life in Melbourne, I spent a meaningful time with my host family. They were an immigration family with an Indian background. The three kids were talkative and friendly. My host mum was also kind and considerate. She prepared lunches for us and asked my eating preference every night before making meals. I totally felt a different culture in this warm home from several aspects, such as religion and morals. They believed in Jesus, therefore, before having dinner, all of them had to pray to God and then we would be permitted to eat. They also went to church every Sunday for an hour. Those habits made me feel curious and interested. Since this was my first time with a Christian family, I could see their belief that was persistent. It was such a significant experience for me. Furthermore, I also introduced Chinese culture to my homestay family. As we all know, Chinese food is the representative of Chinese culture. Therefore, I prepared a traditional Chinese dinner for them. They expressed their gratefulness to me. I also talked about the history of Chinese eating habits with them.

What's more, I also realized some educational differences between Australian universities and my institute. During this programme, we were asked to do lots of feedback work for homework at the end of each study term. Australians focus on your reflections and what you felt and thought after taking part in an activity. At my school, we are recommended for more presentations and writing tasks in order to improve our skills with expression and public speaking. In my opinion, feedback is definitely a great way to prove our learning efforts. I think I will keep doing this after coming back to my own class.

Outside the university and homestay, I went to a lot of famous locations in Melbourne, e.g. Brighton Beach Boxes. We had a fantastic view of the blue ocean. My classmates and I took a lot of photos in front of those little, beautiful houses. I have been to many countries from Europe to Asia. I think Melbourne is one of the most comfortable cities in the world and I would like to visit it again!

Wong Chi Fong
Year 3 – E-Commerce

After the short trip to Melbourne, we graduated from the Overseas Study Programme offered by Monash University and returned with brand new experiences as well as knowledge such as business etiquette and communication skills. The programme was so much more than just training us to be ready for working in a global business environment, it was also a life experience and a challenge of self-improvement in many perspectives. It provided us with opportunities to make new friends from different countries, widened our horizon and exposed us to a diverse culture. In addition, the Overseas Study Programme prepared us to face new challenges confidently and taught us how to be an efficient, flexible and multiculturally capable leader in the international business workplace.

During the three weeks learning in Melbourne, three profound things aroused my interests. First, it was about the interaction with my home-stay family. They were lovely and friendly, not only did they help me to cope with their living style, but also showed me the cultural differences between different kinds of races and people who live in Australia. I was truly amazed by how the people respect and are polite to each other as opposed to that in Macao.

Secondly, regarding the programme, we learned about our working style and how to assemble an effective team through different activities such as project presentation and team-building. It was extraordinarily impressive as these events pulled us closer and allowed us to make friends from other countries such as Japan. Most importantly, we were able to practice the skills we learned by contributing to the team. It also helped us to understand the importance of cultural differences that would influence the success as well as the failure of a team.

Lastly, what I enjoyed most was the explanation of the White Australia Policy during the excursion to the Immigration Museum. It showed us how ugly the past of Australia was, for example, they did not let people from Asia migrate to Australia. Although Australia had such a racist policy in the past and it took them nearly 70 years to get to what they have today, their culture evolved and became better as they now allow Asians in Australia. I think that was the most interesting part because they demonstrated that we must bravely admit when we have done wrong.

However, beyond those excitements, there were also challenges. One of the greatest challenges during the three weeks time was about small talking; I believe everyone who participated in the programme would agree with me, as our Chinese culture do not value 'small talk', and I always felt uncomfortable to start a conversation with people in Australia. On the other hand, in Australia, small talk is highly valued in business contexts and daily life since it is used to break the ice and build trust. At first, I literately hated it because I do not like telling a stranger about my thoughts. But after some practices with my home-stay family and a few Uber drivers, I can now small talk with people confidently.

Other than class, we also explored Melbourne and went to various sightseeing places. Melbourne is like a bowl of salad bowl where people with different background and colour come together and respect each other without the barrier of social status, title, and so on. They are friendly and open to other cultures as immigration has been and will continue to be a part of their history. Moreover, we went to Brighton Beach Boxes to see the beautiful sunset and Melbourne Zoo to pet some cute Koalas. The list goes on and on, here is just to name a few.

Overall, this programme helped me to understand the culture, life and the people in Australia. It was a great lesson of self-improvement and a memorable journey.

Wong Mio Teng
Year 2 – Pharmacy Technology

This was a valuable opportunity to study in Melbourne for 3 weeks. Thank you to the Macao Polytechnic Institute for giving me a precious chance. When I was studying in Melbourne, I learned a lot. It was the first time I went to Melbourne; I was very excited and full of curiosity. I could not believe that I studied here.

During the three weeks learning in Melbourne, three profound things aroused my interests. First, it was about the interaction with my home-stay family. They were lovely and friendly, not only did they help me to cope with their living style, but also showed me the cultural differences between different kinds of races and people who live in Australia. I was truly amazed by how the people respect and are polite to each other as opposed to that in Macao.

As for my coursework, I studied in the Overseas Study Programme at Monash University. I learned a lot of useful facts, such as different kinds of culture, presentation skills, small talk skills and importance of teamwork. I think these can greatly improve my communication skills and are very useful for my future work. In addition, I met a lot of friends from Shanghai, Xi'an and Japan in this course; they were friendly and kind. We did projects, presentations and discussions together and also shared our own language. I am glad that I studied this course with them. I hope we can meet again. Furthermore, the most impressive experience was when the Monash University provided an opportunity for students to visit different companies in this course. This was the first time I had a chance to interview a company. I visited the company called Allianz. It was a global company with a long history. Its core businesses are insurance and asset management. In this process, I learned the Allianz Company’s culture and operation. Maybe I will not engage in insurance but this experience was fantastic, because it was very new to me.

Living in Melbourne changed my life style. I needed to adapt to the climate and the culture of Australia. This is the winter time in Melbourne. The weather of Melbourne is unpredictable and frequently changes. If it rains, it will be colder. The Australians sleep early and wake up early. This is a healthy way of life. I needed to follow them; otherwise I did not have enough time to sleep. Moreover, I found that they always eat sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, maybe sandwiches are easy to make but eating sandwiches tastes very dry for me.

I had many opportunities to explore Melbourne. I visited a lot of attractions in Melbourne in my leisure time, including Eureka Tower, the Great Ocean Road, Brighton Beach and South Melbourne Market. I discovered that Melbourne has a lot of beautiful places. The sceneries are graceful and comfortable. I took many photos on my phone. I will not forget what I see.

My Melbourne journey was abundant and wonderful. I enjoyed living in Melbourne for 21 days. I had an impressive summer holiday and I will never forget this wonderful journey.

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