Monday, February 16, 2009

On an island in the sun...

Introducing Pei Pei whom I met whilst teaching a fantastic group of students at the Monash University English Language Centre a year or so ago. It was great reading that she had some great experiences doing vacation work on Boyne Island in Queensland, a remote island that most Queenslanders would never have even heard about, let alone visited.

I’m Pei Pei from China. Right now, I am doing third level of Materials Engineering at Monash University. Before I came to Australia, I finished the first two years of university education at my local university.

I believe that the three main reasons why students leave China to study abroad include a better quality of education, a chance to improve their language skills in an English speaking environment and the possibility of future immigration. As for those students who don’t come overseas, budget and language limitations are two of the main factors. Also, many students would find it very difficult to live without having their friends and family around.

I chose to come to Australia because I was offered a place in a program that allowed me to finish my bachelor degree at Monash University. Actually, it might not have been my first choice if there weren’t so many terrorist-attacks in the United States. :)

It’s hard to tell whether other students from China are satisfied with their educational experience or not. Personally, I’m content with what I’ve gained from my experience. For instance, there is help offered by various levels of organizations and individuals out there. There are all kinds of tutorials and programs helping international students with their studies, communications, and health.

Regarding work, I haven’t had a part-time job since being in Melbourne. Usually coping with lectures and exams is already enough to keep us occupied during our free time. As a result, not many of my friends have taken part time jobs because we think of them as being dangerous. This is because if we fail one subject we have to pay 3,000 dollars to repeat the course, compared to the paltry amount of money earned by doing laboring work it just really isn’t worth the risk.

Although I’ve never taken any part time in Melbourne, this summer I did do some vacation work at Boyne Smelters Limited in Queensland. I’m really lucky that I got this opportunity, because it’s extremely hard, almost impossible, for international students to get vacation work due to the difference in our educational background and language level when compared with local students.

It has been a great experience for me! I have gained industrial experience and contacts, as well as living with locals and hanging out with them. To be honest, if not for these three month, I may never have chance to mingle with local students and experience Australian culture. Now that I have friends who have grown up in Melbourne, even when I go back, life will be different.

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