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18 January 2007

Simon

We're back at the international students' party today on English Bites.


My name is Simon Stephens and I'm the International Student Co-ordinator at Our Lady of the Sacred College at Enfield in Adelaide.

This party is an annual event hosted by the Governor of South Australia at her own expense and it's a great way to end an international student's time here in South Australia. So whether they're graduating or finishing from secondary school, as in our case, or at university, it's just a way to say thanks for coming to South Australia.

I think the food and although Hong Kong and Chinese and Japanese and international cuisine is all over the place, it's not exactly the same food as home. Maybe it's just not the same food as mum cooks but that takes a while to get used to. And also it is a different pace of life.

It is generally a more relaxed pace of life and although that has benefits for them it also has some disadvantages. It's not as quick, it's not as frantic, it's not as wonderful on one level. But it's certainly.. they really come to appreciate the more casual, relaxed approach to study and working.

A lot of our students, or all of our students are basically home-stay students, rather than living in their own accommodation and so what they learn more, apart from the English, apart from the formal course work, is learning to interact with families who are not their own families. So, you know, for sixteen years they've known their own family members and there are so many assumptions that they make about how a family member speaks to them, and the host family themselves makes the same assumptions about their own children.

You put those two together and there's a lot of mismatched assumptions and the levels of patience and understanding and just strategies of how to deal with misunderstanding is probably the greatest benefit they ever achieve, because it is something that, being cross-cultural, they're going to be dealing with all their lives.

And I think it gives them a real edge in trying to work out what are the other possible implications of my statements that I just made then. So they really start to have a strong strategy about dealing with misunderstanding and that's fantastic.

I'm from an all girls school and these are little girls a long way from home and they are so brave, and it really is amazing to see them blossom into independent young women who can deal with things that, you know, at our own ages and our own domestic students would find huge hurdles, and the admiration I have for them is amazing because they just can do things that.. they can leap tall buildings really.


story notes

 co-ordinator
 
A coordinator is someone whose job is to help different groups of people to work together.

 annual
 
Annual means yearly, or every year.

 hosted
 
To host means to be in charge of an event - to invite guests and be responsible for them.

 pace of life
 
The phrase pace of life refers to the speed at which things happen. If you live in a big city with a lot of traffic and people rushing around all day, you’ll get used to a fast pace of life. If you live in a small town where things happen slowly then you might prefer a slower pace of life.

 benefits
 
Benefits are positive or helpful effects.

 disadvantages
 
Disadvantages are negative effects or problems.

 frantic
 
Frantic means hurried, or in a state of excited confusion.

 home-stay
 
The students are mainly home-stay students. That means that they live with an Australian family while they’re here. They stay with a family and share their home.

 assumptions
 
An assumption is something you believe without question or proof.

 host family
 
The host family invites a student to stay and they also take some responsibility for the student while they are visiting. Just as the governor is the host of the party, the family welcomes the student and takes care of them.

 mismatched
 
Mismatched means different and not suitable for one another.

 strategies
 
Strategies are detailed plans for achieving success.

 misunderstanding
 
A misunderstanding is when someone doesn’t understand something correctly.

 cross-cultural
 
Cross cultural means going between two cultures.

 blossom
 
To blossom means to grow and become more confident.

 leap tall buildings
 
He means that they can do amazing things and they can do just about anything they want.