Study In Australia - Xin's Journey
Meet Xin. She moved to Australia as a backpacker and is now studying her Master's in Social Work. Learn how her experience has opened her mind to new possibilities; from embracing her homestay family to meeting people from all over the world, finding new passions from dragon boating to Japanese dancing and becoming a barista.
Meeting new people
When I first got here as a backpacker, I wondered how I was going to meet new people. I was a bit freaked out, but knew I had to do something to make friends. I asked myself "How do I orientate myself into this new society?"
I found a homestay, A place where I lived with local people and experienced local culture with a family. Everyday, we would have dinner together, the parents and their three kids and myself. During dinner, everyone had a chance to talk about their day; about anything we wanted to talk about, and it didn't matter how old we were or how good our English was, everyone was equal.
This made me learn about patience and equality. It was so different from what I experienced growing up. Honestly, as a single kid from a Chinese family, it was very rare for my parents to ask me about my day, especially when i was younger. There’s a gulf between adults and kids in my home country.
Through my dinner table experience in Australia, I learnt that I always have a chance to express myself, to share and to understand others. I loved this experience and would encourage newbies in Australia to go out and find your identity.
How does one do that? Easy. It’s not necessary for you to live with locals but don't be afraid to mingle, make convesation with neighbours and share with them some homemade food, you never know what kind of surprise you may get back.
After 2 months, I made my step to being independent. I enjoyed the family atmosphere but was still so curious about this country. I moved into a house, shared it with young people and found a job to support myself. Without any actual work experience, I wondered about what job I could do. Well, starting from zero opened up so many opportunities and realised it was a great time to learn a new skill.
In Melbourne, there’s a saying that everyone is a barista. What is a barista? Well, since Melbourne has a huge coffee culture, many people find work in cafes, yes, making coffee! That is basically what a barista does. Considering this popular local culture, I decided to learn how to make coffee and soon found a personal barista teacher on Facebook. As a former instant coffee drinker, I had very limited knowledge about coffee and didn't know it was so hard to make a cute heart in a coffee cup.
Though I was a clumsy student, my barista teacher, Stephano taught me step by step with loads of patience. Soon we became friends. After class, we would share some Italian and Chinese food that we cooked ourselves and talk about Japanese manga.
我真的很喜欢结识新朋友，并希望扩大我的社交圈。 我开始经常使用Meetup应用程序。 这是我寄宿家庭首先向我推荐的，因为他们说我可以找到很多兴趣小组 - 郊游俱乐部，阅读俱乐部，语言交换俱乐部等。我很开心能会见志同道合的人，所以我加入了龙舟俱乐部，日本舞蹈俱乐部和极客桌游俱乐部。 我遇到了很多不同背景的人; 我们有时在户外呆一天，享受大自然，跳舞，晚餐和泡泡茶，还有玩桌游。
找到和你有共同兴趣的人是结交新朋友的好方法。 今年当我作为学生回到澳大利亚时，我做的第一件事就是重新回访我的Meetup舞蹈团 - 我与老熟人取得了联系并看到了一些新面孔，他们都对舞蹈依然充满热情。
Breaking out of my comfort zone
Who you live with is important, especially when you're living in a foreign country far away from your family and friends. Housemates are a big part of your life so it's important to take your time and find mates who are the right fit. How does one find good housemates? I tried different websites like flatmates, but the most effective way for me was through Facebook.
I know many international students prefer to move in with people they already know especially students from the same home country. I, on the other hand, prefer to always have housemates from other countries to give me an opportunity to broaden my horizons.
I have lived with people from all over the world; Italian, Japanese, Australian, English, Korean, Dutch and German. The experience helped me understand different lifestyles and values and allowed me to discover food from all over the world. Currently, I am pursuing my Master's in Social Work, and all these experiences that I've had has broadened my view, opened my mind and made me respectful of different cultures.
Melbourne is an amazing city with fun activities happening all the time. When you first arrive, you may feel confused, stressed or lonely. However, the most important thing I have learnt is that one has to open the door to this beautiful city, step out and enjoy all the good things that Melbourne has to offer. You have control and need to make an effort to grab opportunities that come your way.
You will discover a whole new world in front of you, which may be very different from the one you're used to. Get to know this new world and you will get to know yourself more deeply. What’s next for me? I don’t know, but i do know that I feel free and brave to walk confidently into the next stage of my life.