Sunday, February 22, 2009

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

When I started this blog, I had several goals. One of them was learning more about the Chinese international student community. I feel that over the last couple of months, my interviews with students such as Xiu, Pei Pei, Jack, Crystal, Wei Jia and Neil have helped me gain a much clearer understanding of life in Melbourne for international students. To this end I have discovered that most students face big difficulties finding houses, securing jobs that pay a fair wage and attaining a sense of attachment to their new city. But from these stories of difficulty have also come both positive experiences and new ideas.

These ideas constitute the second goal for Soy Sauce. I hope that the discussions and ideas expressed here will play a part in improving how international students are welcomed by the city of Melbourne, and that with our help, those students who have chosen this city as their new home will be able to lead active, interesting and enjoyable lives filled with new experiences, new friends and the achievement of their scholastic and personal goals.

As our cities most valuable export industry, worth over $4 billion dollars to this state if the word on the street is anything to go by, we cannot afford to lose our reputation as a safe and welcoming city that provides a supportive and hospitable environment in which students from all over the world can chase their dreams.

More than this, as Australians we have come to pride our self on our ability to offer everybody a fair go, reveling in our status as a multicultural society that gives everyone a fair crack at achieving their full potential. But is this sense of being an open and friendly nation that offers all an equal playing field merely a myth? What are we really doing to make international students feel truly a part of life here? I hope that over time Soy Sauce will be able to devote more page space to good news stories than dwelling on the many problems faced by students here.

Finally, I had really hoped that through this blog I would be able to practice my Chinese. In this regard I have been quite lazy but recent submissions by Jack have really reinvigorated my love of this most interesting of languages. As a result, I would like to start posting some entries discussing some of the translation that goes on behind the scenes at Soy Sauce, posting up a word list to accompany some of the articles. The first one will focus on the most recent entry regarding Jack's work experiences in Melbourne. Also, it will include some discussion of the wonderfully worded survey questions which were so excellently translated by Crystal when this all began in November of last year.

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