OSHC Students – Studying overseas is a challenge that not everyone is willing to take on, you must feel proud of being here.
We all have a moment in life when we think we need something more. Sometimes we do not know exactly what we are looking for, and sometimes we figure it out on the way.
It does not matter which country you are from, or how old you are, the decision to emigrate is not easy, even when you believe that a new life is what you need.
The first weeks in Melbourne could be the change you were waiting. Far away from your family, sharing a room with strangers, getting lost in the city, finding celery on every food you eat! Perhaps you feel as though you do not belong that place. You get amazed by the landscape, enjoy feeling safe, walking through the parks, attending BBQs, allured by the music on Bourke Street.
This transition process takes time, and while it happens, you wonder – what am I doing here? However, that question will be solved when you least imagine it.
Coming to Melbourne to study is a beautiful experience. Melbourne is a lovely city. Once you are here, you start to feel the multiculturality everywhere you go. Nevertheless, right after arriving, you might feel like a stranger, and of course, you are. It is not the same going on a trip as a tourist than deciding to live away from home, the dynamic is different, especially if you must work.
The first weeks are a challenge. You must get used to what your life is now. No friends, no family, and sometimes not the ‘best’ food. Your school is all you have now, and that is great. Most of your classmates are feeling the same, and it is a perfect excuse for breaking the ice and for meeting new people.
According to Meld Magazine (2016), it takes time for students to find their place in this new cultural environment “but the promise of world-class education and the opportunities that arise from being an independent young adult in a new country can often make up for those difficulties “.
Wojtek is from Poland and for him, the first days in Melbourne were not easy. “I was living in a very crowded hostel, and I wasn’t able to find a job. I met many friendly people at Discover English. My first class was great, students and teachers were very helpful. That gave me the confidence that I needed. Of course, the conversations with them improved my English. My first course at school was the best for me because I met there many wonderful people, who helped me feel better in Melbourne. I want to keep in touch with them. “
Australia is one of the world’s leading destinations for learning English. Every year Melbourne receives students from all over the world, according to Herald Sun (2015). “Melbourne has been named the best city in Australia for international students and the second best in the world ahead from Tokyo, Sydney and London”.
Aline is from Brazil, and she studied at Discover English last year: “At the beginning I was terrified, but Melbourne is a lovely city. Security for me is one of the best things in Melbourne, it is amazing, I can go anywhere feeling safe! After a few days, I felt comfortable because I realised that a lot of people were going through the same experience. I just want to go back and have everything again. “
Safety is one of the things that can be strange for some students when they arrive in Melbourne. Some of them come from countries where security is not a priority, and it takes time for them to get used to not feeling insecure. According to The Age (2015), Melbourne is among the ten safest cities in the world.
However, people from different nationalities live here, and sometimes the multiculturality is not as good as we think. According to Sam from Taiwan, an ex-student at Discover English, something not so nice happened to him during his first weeks in Melbourne: “I was heading to somewhere and focusing on the Google map on the phone in my hand while walking. Suddenly, a guy flung away my phone. There were a lot of people there so I couldn’t find out who did it. I could only pick up my phone from the floor and ignore people watching”.
As in every place around the world, it does not hurt to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are about to take the tram or crossing the street. One of the most challenging things at the beginning in Melbourne is getting used to the left side. Ana, from Colombia, got lost a couple of times taking the tram or train in the wrong way. Moreover, she almost had an accident trying to cross the street looking to the wrong side; an imprudence that many foreigners commit because they are not used to pay attention to the pedestrian traffic light.
There is something positive about getting lost in Melbourne. By wandering around you can find several coffee places. Melbournians feel proud of their coffee, and it is a conversational topic the moment you arrive in Melbourne. According to the Barista Jos Turner in an interview for the Herald Sun (2014) “The tourists love Melbourne because of its coffee. Coffee culture is a part of our lives, and it is a unique thing in Melbourne,”. Once you start studying and waking up early to do the assignments, coffee becomes in one of your best friends. In Melbourne you have several options to drink, that is something you realise when you live here.
So, you came to learn, not just English, but about yourself, about your dreams, about life in all sense. After three o four weeks, you change the question and start thinking why this or that happened to me? What should I learn about it? And that feeling is priceless.
Every beginning is difficult, and it is a logical part of the process. But then, life will show you the actual meaning of the experience, and it will have been worth it.
Emma (OSHCstudents) – According to discoverenglish.com.au