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17 January 2007


Meet Leo, a student studying in Adelaide.

Hi. My name's Leo Cheong and I'm from Singapore and I'm currently studying at the University of Adelaide. I'm currently in my second year of my double degree, economics and finance.

Well, basically, the Governor of South Australia, she has graciously hosted this event for international students who are graduating this year, and it's not just university students but also the secondary and college students as well. So, it's just a nice sort of thing, a farewell sort of party I guess for international students.

Well, I would say I wasn't very prepared to start living in a different country, away from home, away from all the creature comforts, and I had quite a few rude shocks coming to Adelaide for the first time.

One of them was actually walking on the tarmac, like from the plane I actually had to walk on the tarmac and there was all sky, there was just no tunnel at all, just walking in open air. I was like, "What if I get sucked into the plane, like the jet engine?" I was just a bit afraid.

And the other thing was back in Singapore we're used to shops being open very late a night, like eight or nine o'clock, and I landed on a Saturday and I remember going down to Rundle Mall and it was like, oh, the Rundle Mall's supposed to be where most people hang out, and there'd be a lot of people. And when I went on a Saturday at about three o'clock it was like totally empty and I was like, "My God, what have I got myself into?" and "Where is everyone?" and panicking a bit. But as I continued staying in Adelaide it got better and I just learned that okay, this is a new environment, I should get used to it and yes, it's been quite a fun, enjoyable journey so far.

Well, basically, I'm just amazed at the new things I learn every day. I've been here for almost two years but I find myself continually being challenged and also making new friends and learning so many different things about Australia, and there's just so much more to learn.

I almost wish as if I could stay here a bit longer. But I really treasure my time here in Australia, especially here in Adelaide. It's a very nice, quiet town like I expected, a bit too quiet sometimes but it's manageable.

Being a student ambassador we actually get to reach out to the local community to actually introduce international students to the local community and vice versa, to actually break down and to facilitate interaction between the students and one of the things we've actually done is get students to this Rotary Club, the Rotary Club has asked for students to actually come down to attend their meetings and we'll have a meal with them. So, it actually just shows that Adelaide is a welcoming community and that international students are like.. they want to learn more about international students and international students want to learn more about the Aussie culture, likewise.

story notes

double degree
Double means twice the normal size or amount. If someone is doing a double degree, theyíre doing twice the normal amount. Leo is doing two degrees at once - economics and finance.

Graciously means kindly and politely.

international students
Students who come from overseas to study are called international students.

To graduate means to complete school or university successfully.
The noun is also graduate, but it's pronounced differently. Follow the link below to our language library and listen to the differernce.
more information: graduate


Prepared means ready to deal with a situation.

Here, he is using the word home to talk about the place where his family lives. For more ways to use the noun 'home', see today's spotlight.

creature comforts
Creature comforts are the things that make life easier and more comfortable - like having a comfortable place to live, or expensive food or a nice car.

rude shocks
A rude shock is a sudden unpleasant surprise.

hang out
To hang out is to often be at a place.

Example: Teenagers hang out at the shopping mall.
For more meanings of the phrasal verb hang out, follow the link below to our language library.
more information: hang out

find myself
To find yourself in a situation, means to become aware that you are doing or experiencing something without trying to

Continually is an adverb. Itís used to talk about something that happens again and again.

To be challenged means to face a challenge.
A challenge is a test - itís something that requires a lot of physical or mental ability to overcome.

student ambassador
Here, an ambassador is an informal representative.

vice versa
Vice versa means the other way around, with the order reversed.

To facilitate means to help bring about, or to make easier.