One-Year Study in Australia by Li Jinkun
After the graduation from the university in Xi’an in 2001, I had been an English tour guide for over two years in Guilin, which is enjoying the reputation of having the most beautiful mountains and rivers in the world. The job was actually quite good because of the high income and lots of opportunities of travelling around the country. Having this job, I could have a very comfortable and relaxed life in that quiet city.
However, probably because the unknown things and environment always seem attractive, I had always been distracted by the curiosity towards the foreign countries. Is the outside world really wonderful? Is it a heaven or a hell? Can I have a better career development out of China? Like many young and ambitious people, I made up my mind to study abroad. After doing of a lot of research on the Internet, I chose Griffith University of Australia, for it enjoys the well-known reputation of the program of Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management. I successfully got the offer from the university in March 2003 and lodged the application for a student visa in October 2003. In the end of the year, I got the visa and quit my job from the travel agent, flying to Gold Coast of Australia with my dreams and hopes.
Gold Coast is a beautiful tourist city on the east coastline of Australia. The 70km coastline features Australia’s largest expanse of calm water. It is a place of warm and welcoming weather with 300 days of sunshine a year. Griffith University is located in this charming city, which is excellent for travelling or leading a quiet and relaxed life, but probably not quite suitable for study. I still remember that on the first day when I came to the campus of Griffith University, I was a little bit disappointed, for the campus is quite small and it seems that it is located in a bush. The buildings are new and short and lack speciality and cultural atmosphere. Unfortunately I became more disappointed when I found that almost half of my over 100 classmates are Chinese — sometimes it made me feel that I was attending foreign teachers’ lectures in China! There is no doubt that this is not very good for me to improve my English level in such a language environment.
There is always a gap between ideal and reality. Accepting the fact, I started my studying life in Australia, but I didn’t expect that the study is that stressful. Believe it or not, I had never ever been studying so hard before, even including the period when I was preparing for the exam of entrance to university in China seven years ago. There is such a big difference of the studying system between Australia and China. In China, everything will be fine as long as I can pass the final exams of every course. But in Australia, students have to do oral presentations, individual or group assignments, mid-term exams and final exams. All of the above must be well done because each of them will be counted into the final assessments.
Presentations are not easy for the most of the Chinese students because we are never required to do presentations in China, and English is not our native language. Actually it proves that oral presentation is really a good way of study. It encourages students to speak in front of other people and deliver their opinions bravely. Through a year’s practice, I became more confident to do presentations without holding a single note in the hands.
The most difficult problem for the overseas students to overcome might be loneliness. There is a popular dialogue in our class. “Why are the Asian students so slim?” “Because we are too homesick.” Homesickness is always with me, particularly during the time of some Chinese traditional festivals. Actually most of the time my life of studying abroad is really boring. For one thing, I don’t have many friends or any relatives in a foreign country. For the other, it is quite hard for an overseas student to afford the entertainments and transportation because the living expenses are very expensive.
Working is a good way to overcome loneliness. On the other hand, the income from the part-time jobs makes my abroad life easier in Australia. During the first semester I got an opportunity of being a tour guide for the Chinese tourist groups around Brisbane and Gold Coast area. It maybe a very attractive one in many people’s eyes, but I quit that job at the end of the semester because I was keen to learn something more important than just making money. As an overseas student, I have been looking forward to working in Australian enterprises in order to learn how the Australian working system and management goes. The process of looking for a part-time job in Australian enterprise is very time-consuming and difficult, for most of the Australian companies always favour those people who have good and strong working experiences. After putting a lot of efforts on it, I finally got a part-time job as a food and beverage attendant in a very famous local enterprises — Warner Village Theme Parks, which includes Movie World, Sea World, Wet and Wild Water World and Paradise Country.
During the part-time employment at Warner Village Theme Parks, I learnt to work with a team and the great teamwork made me get used to work under pressure. This is really an excellent job, and I had a lot of fun in working, for most of the customers are very friendly and nice. A lot of people who were working with me are local university students. I was impressed that lots of Australian students afford their tuition fees by themselves through part-time employment. Compared with the Chinese students, the Australian young people are more independent from the families since they become 18 years old.
Furthermore, I had been doing a lot of other part-time jobs during my study in Australia, such as tutor, kitchen hand, and housekeeper. Each of the jobs is not easy, and sometimes I felt extremely exhausted by doing so many part-time jobs while studying, but the various part-time jobs offered me rich experience and made my abroad life more colourful. The more important thing is that I feel very happy and inspired that I am supporting myself in a foreign country and do not need the financial help from my parents any more.
On 1 November 2004, which is one of my unforgettable days in my life, I graduated from Griffith University. At that moment when I was in academic dress, I was so happy and just smiled during the whole day. After a year’s hard working, I finally harvest the Master degree of International Tourism and Hospitality Management. Yet it is only the beginning of the road to the future. I am now applying for a working visa and looking for a full-time job in the hotel industry in Australia after my graduation from the university.
Looking for a job in a foreign country is not easy, but I will never give up. After going through the past year, I become more confident in overcoming difficulties. The road is chosen by me, I have to keep going and never hesitate in front of cross of life. Having a goal of making an ideal career, I strongly believe that all of my efforts will bring me great success.我非同寻常的留澳一年生活