Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Those first few months

Xiu talks about some of the biggest barriers faced by overseas students when they first arrive. Like many students, she stayed with a home-stay family on her arrival here before moving on to look for cheaper accommodation. It is a difficult period that students usually face with minimal help, and a time that often leaves them with mixed emotions about their new home.

I have participated in some events here, like the Melbourne Cup and horse riding. I’ve watched sports games that I don’t even know the exact names of. I have met many Australian people too. I met them through my friends or just accidently. My first two months here, I lived with a local family which was a really important experience for me. I got to come to terms with a different culture and get used to different life.

The biggest difficulty living in Melbourne is the unfamiliar environment around us, especially at the very beginning because most of us don’t have friends and families here. Those first few months are a tough time for us.

Another thing is the transportation; it’s so infrequent here! Some areas don’t even have much public transport and if you don’t have a car it’s really inconvenient.

Money is also an issue and the cost of our tuition is the most popular topic of conversation amongst my friends and I. Our fees are three times higher than those of local students, which just doesn’t make any sense to me. Local students really should appreciate how lucky they are.

So I guess that so far, I can’t really tell about this whole experience. It has been bittersweet. Having said that, if there were more things for us to do, that could help us get involved in Melbourne life, we would be so glad. I have tried so hard to feel part of life here, but it seems hard sometimes.

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