My Favorite Things About Studying in Australia as a Filipino
When I was 9 years old, my family and I moved to Australia. Even though we had moved quite a lot, studying in a country with such a diverse community was different from what I was accustomed to. It was daunting at first, but the longer we stayed in Australia, the more I got acquainted with the different cultures and traditions, and the more I loved the “Land Down Under.”
Here are just some of my favorite things about studying in Australia as a Filipino:
1. Practical and Theoretical Education
Education in Australia has got to be one of my favorite topics to bring up whenever someone asks me about being an international student.
Australia is more hands-on when it comes to education. Instead of extensive note-taking, they always include experiments and projects into their lesson plans. This is to assess the students on what they’ve learned during theoretical lessons, to apply what they’re taught instead of standard memorization.
2. Special Subjects
Speaking of a more hands-on approach, in high school, you are allowed to partake in multiple non-general education classes.
For example, at my old high school, we had woodworking, art, and cooking classes.
In woodworking class, you learn how to use heavy-duty tools and apply what you’ve learned to build something in the woodshop.
In art class, you not only learn about different painting strokes but you’re also taught how to sculpt and use the kiln for pottery projects.
In cooking class, you’re taught different cooking methods and techniques.
3. School Events
Schools in Australia have multiple school-wide events ranging from local sports tournaments to two-day field trips out of town.
Australia takes Physical Education to a whole new level. Every year, schools host sports carnivals that focus on three sports-focused themes— Swimming, Cross Country, and Athletics.
All students are encouraged to compete and to try out. It’s always good fun and it’s a nice break from all the studying we were doing. It helped the students challenge their “personal best” and engage in new activities.
While the field trips and sports carnivals are hosted by the school and the faculty, there are a lot of school events that are organized by the students, specifically the Student Representative Council (SRC).
The SRC in primary school is elected students from Year 6, while in high school, the SRC is comprised of students from Years 7-12. They are the ones tasked to plan and manage numerous fundraising events, school barbecues, talent shows, formals and dance, and even breakfast bars.
As someone who came from a country that titters between sunny and rainy seasons, you can imagine my surprise when I was handed four seasons.
While the weather in Australia is similar to America, don’t expect a cold December. In Australia, December to February is summer, March to May is autumn, June to August is winter, and September to November is spring.
In the Philippines, when it rains hard, classes are either suspended or students are let home early. In Australia, when it gets extremely hot during the summer and the temperature reaches 40 degrees, schools let their students go home early.
Summer in Australia is not something taken lightly as everyone is on high alert for any emerging bush fires and sand storms.
However, summers aren’t all bad. Some of the things I looked forward to in the summer were trips to the beach, eating Paddle Pops (popsicles), and showering in the rain.
As soon as autumn arrives, the breeze becomes more tolerable — most of the time.
Coming from someone who has had their fair share of typhoons in the Philippines, I’ve experienced Level 1 Typhoon type winds in Liverpool on a simple autumn day.
Regardless of the winds, autumns in Australia are still my favorite.
Winter, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations, to say the least. At first, my family and I were fascinated that we could see our breath every time we exhaled or talked, but then the nights became colder and my family finally decided that we should invest in a heating blanket, a kettle, and a heater.
While autumn is my favorite season, spring comes to a close second. The arrival of spring comes by smoothly the moment you start to see the flowers bloom, the trees green, and birds flying about.
Spring in Australia is neither hot nor cold. To me, it feels like lesser autumn, with a cool breeze and sunshine.
Experience these for yourself! Study in Australia with the help of IDP. Just fill out the form on this page to set up an appointment with an IDP Education Counselor.
Written by: Dominique Sucgang
Dom studied in Australia from 2009 to 2015. She’s currently a freshman studying Communication with a specialization in Digital Cinema at Far Eastern University-Manila.