For high school students, a new semester begins. But for me, I am still enjoying the longest holiday I’ve ever have.
In 2016 I attended Indooroopilly State High School and I received an Overall Position of OP2. This result saw several offers from different universities. After much thought, I decided to study Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) at The University of Sydney. Looking back to my high school life, I am so grateful that I made the choice to study in Queensland.
For students commencing in Queensland schools my advice is to push through the language barrier. Although I have studied English for several years in China, language is still a great hindrance in my academic adjustment. For instance, the large amount of terminologies associated with each subject made it even harder for me to catch up with the teachers. To overcome this situation, I made a vocabulary list for each subject, picking up those words and vocabularies that are unfamiliar to me from textbook and teacher’s note. Then I would review them daily so that I could remember the words, long after I first discovered it.
Another learning experience that I found useful for my language learning was to regularly seek support from the EALD department. Once an assignment was briefed, I would discuss the context with my teachers. I would always send my complete draft to the ESL teachers and they were my secret weapon. I always knew as an international students that grammar was my weakness. Being proactive reduced the risk of being penalised for my grammar.
With great honour, I was elected to be the International Student Leader of Indooroopilly State High School. This role assisted my leadership capacity, as well as giving me an opportunity to grow. In this role, I have learned about collaborating with people and the challenges that leaders face. Through this opportunity, I also became more responsible, flexible and adaptable to change.
Although I have to sacrifice some of my after-school times, but all these skills I’ve learnt will be invaluable in all areas of my life. Most importantly, meeting new people, making new friends, and participating in activities was exciting and full of fun!
I remember being a complete ball of nerves before meeting my homestay family. Would they like me? Was my English advanced enough to communicate with them daily? Fortunately, all of the things that worrying me were proved unnecessary in the end. For the duration of my stay, my experience in my homestay family is filled with smiles, laughter and the mouth-watering scents of homemade cuisine. My homestay parents have been very helpful to me in adjusting to life in Brisbane. Each day I would talk with my homestay over breakfast and dinner, getting continual speaking and listening practice. When I caught a cold or flu, they arranged for their doctor to make an appointment. When I had assignments due for class, they read them for grammar.
Living with the homestay family has been one of my most fondest experiences, not just in the aspect of living and studying, but also in the aspect of cultural immersion. This experience not only enables me to understand and navigate Australia culture as an international student, but also as a part of family.
I am still in contact with them now. From time to time we email each other. They tell me how they spent their Christmas holiday and I update them on my OP results and University that I will go to. I am very lucky that I chose Queensland as the start of my journey, and I believe that my high school life in Brisbane will always be a special and unforgettable memory that stays in my heart forever.
Written by Nicole Chen