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How I'm preparing for school in Australia

A classroom
A classroom at the Sydney College of English.

Sydney College of English: Colin Muirhead

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Starting a new school can be challenging enough, but starting a new school in a new country can add another layer of challenges. Australia Plus spoke to five Chinese and Vietnamese students from the Sydney College of English, who are preparing to start school in Australia for the first time. They share their hopes and concerns as well as advice for other students who want to study in Australia.

Tiffany
Tiffany from Sydney College of English.

ABC: Allison Chan

Tiffany, China

Having moved from Shenzhen, China to Sydney to study high school, Tiffany has prepared for school by going to the stationery store. “I bought a lot of things... like planners, highlighters and stickers."

But there are a number of things that Tiffany is feeling apprehensive about.

"I’m really nervous about the first day of school. There are many classrooms in the school and I need to go to different classrooms each time and I don’t want to get lost. I also really want to make friends. I don’t want to eat by myself in the corner at lunchtime,” she says.

For other students who are looking to do what Tiffany has done and move to an English-speaking country to study, her advice is:

Tony
Tony from Sydney College of English.

ABC: Allison Chan

Tony, Vietnam

Tony is feeling hopeful about starting high school in Sydney:

He hopes that studying in Sydney will be a different experience to high school in Ho Chi Minh City.

“In our country, there’s a lot of pressure from family and school. And the future isn’t very bright because we can’t find a job easily,” Tony says.

Whilst preparing for school in Sydney, Tony thinks that it's important to "hang around people to learn how to communicate".

"Ask questions when you don’t know. It’s quite scary - I used to be quite shy," he says.

Yennis, China

Whilst studying in Guangzhou, Yennis decided that studying high school in Australia would be more suited to her interests.

“In China there are a lot of compulsory courses. I love drama and music - there’s no elective courses like drama and music in China. So I came here to learn more,” Yennis says.

Yennis says that moving to Australia for school means that it's important to learn and practise English in daily life.

Aisha, Joyce and Yennis
Aisha, Joyce and Yennis from Sydney College of English.

ABC: Allison Chan

Aisha, China

Aisha says that it's important to be "really good at English" in order to settle into school in Australia.

She finds speaking and listening are the hardest skills to pick up.

“In China, we learn English as a subject. We mostly focus on reading and writing, which we practise a lot. But we don’t speak a lot because it’s not in the exam,” says Aisha.

Moving to Australia to study has also meant that Aisha has discovered differences between the Australian and Chinese education system:

Joyce, China

In order to settle into school in Australia, Joyce says "we have to speak English very well and talk to my classmates".

"Making friends is also important," she says.

Joyce, who is from Shanghai, has also discovered that language is the greatest adjustment:

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