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Friday, 6 February  2009  Friday review

This week on review we're going to do something a bit different. We're going to go back and meet Mai and Liz again - two people who we met during the week at a garden party for international students.


This time though we're going to listen to their whole interviews. When you are watching, see how much you can follow the flow of their story. And see how much you can understand. First let's meet Liz again.

My Name is Liz Stinson and I'm the Deputy Director of UniSA International. We're the international office in the University, the University of South Australia, here in Adelaide, and our role is to both encourage and recruit students to come and study in Adelaide at UniSA, but also we do a lot of work around international quality frameworks and student mobility programs and support international activity throughout the university.

There's lots. I mean, I'm sure - I know, as someone who's come from another country myself, there's lots of personal development and personal growth. You move outside your family sphere, you move outside your cultural comfort zone, as the Governor just said, and you expose yourself to other cultures and in this case, to students from other cultures as well.

But in studying in another country, for example, students coming to Australia, they learn a lot about Australia. All of our programs in many of the institutions now talk about other cultures quite a bit but because we're in Australia there's obviously an Australian focus. And out of that sort of thing I know comes the capacity to build relationships across cultures. You learn how to talk to people from other cultures. If you've never met anyone from China before it's a fantastic chance to meet someone from China, find out about China, learn a little Mandarin and, ideally, potentially make some friends as well.

I think when they first arrive - and this can take fully six months of their first year here, this is our experience - they certainly feel a sense of homesickness sometimes. They can be a bit lonely. Many times students from one country will make friends in Orientation Week with friends from the same country, because they have language familiarity and so on.

So, that's the beginning. What we hear from students after they've gone home or toward the end of the study is that they wish they had made more Australian friends and that's often because, for instance if you're here from China or from India, you might make your friends with Chinese students and Indian students first, but really what you want to do in another country is get to know folks from the other country.

So, at our university for instance, we've now established what we call a host.. well, not a host family scheme, but a sort of a buddy scheme, where we're actually linking staff from the university with students, international students, and they get together, they invite them into their homes, they get together for picnics and barbecues and so on.

So, I think anything that an institution in another country can do to forge relationships between the visiting students and, in this case, the Australian students, just works wonders.

Liz introduced herself and what she does for a living.

The she talked about the experience of international students coming to Australia.

She finished by talking about what her university does to make the experience of international students better.

If you go to our website, you'll be able to explore Liz's story in more detail.

Right now, let's go back and meet Maida again.

Hi, I'm Maida from the Philippines and I'm studying a Masters of Gastronomy at the University of Adelaide with the Le Cordon Bleu.

Oh, it's pretty interesting because I don't know a single person in Adelaide when I arrived a couple of months ago and it was just discovering the whole city but it was immediately getting fascinated with the market, getting fascinated with North Terrace where I lived and soaking up the museums and soaking up the different restaurants all around, and immediately, within the first weekend I was already going around to wineries and checking out the wine regions and going to the Barossa and checking out the Hills.

Ah. Living in Australia gives you a good feel of both a western culture but still belonging to the Asian region and that's one thing -

I have studied in America and I didn't get that same feel. And it has a certain warmth and a good relaxed feel and a good sense of balance for the lifestyle we have. And there's a lot of beautiful things to see, there're a lot of beaches so it's a well-rounded life that you would get as a student in Adelaide that no other city has offered me.

I come from the Philippines and it has like the gorgeous beaches so I do miss the tropical lifestyle I've been accustomed to. I know that Adelaide's much colder but I do miss that. I do miss just.. it's more just the culture that I've been accustomed to but in terms of food I can't complain: Adelaide offers quite a broad spectrum of food.

It's been easy because the program is almost ninety-five percent international so we've basically had each other to support us through the program. So it was fairly easy to make good friends and it's a city of students so you'd likely bump into a lot of students along the way in the street or in the gym or in the library so, it's a fairly good way to move around and meet students. It would take a lot of effort. You can't be shy though, definitely.

I still have to finish my dissertation but after that I'd like to probably explore because I'm taking further studies. I've already established myself as a writer in the Philippines and I'd like to take the next leap which is to go international, so I'd like to see what opportunities are available to me in Australia, and in the region. So I'm not really sure where that's going to take me but just the fact that I do have a Masters in Gastronomy which is pretty rare, and it's a good thing that the city can offer that. It's one of the few programs around the world and having that to at least back me up will probably get me to do more of the international work that I'm trying to do as a writer.

Maida is an international student. She introduced herself, explained where she was from and what she is studying in Adelaide.
Then she talked about what it was like when she first arrived in Australia,why she likes it, and why she gets homesick.

She finished by talking a bit about her course, and her plans for the future.

And like Liz's story, you'll find Maida on our English Bites website. You can watch her again, read the transcript, and get all the help you need to understand her story.



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English Bites - Friday review
story notes

 encourage
 
To encourage means to give someone confidence and make them more likely to do something.

 recruit
 
To recruit means to persuade someone to join or become a member of a group.

 personal development
 
Personal development means growing and changing as a person. It means to learn new things and become stronger and more mature.

 sphere
 
Here, Liz is using the word sphere to talk about an aspect or area of a person’s life.
 
To move outside your family sphereis to move away from the safety of your family and meet new people.

 cultural comfort zone
 
Your comfort zone is an environment or situation in which you feel comfortable and secure. So your cultural comfort zone is the culture in which you feel safe and comfortable

 met
 
Here met is the past participle of the irregular verb meet. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: meet

 homesickness
 
To be homesick means to be missing home - to be unhappy because of you are away from home. The noun is homesickness.
 
Example: I suffered from homesickness on my travels overseas.

 Orientation Week
 
Orientation Week is the time when students are shown around the university. They are given a tour and introduced to other students. Orientation week is often shortened to ‘O week’.

 gone
 
Gone is the past participle of the irregular verb go. Follow the link below to find out more and to listen to some examples.
 
more information: go

 buddy scheme
 
A scheme is a plan. And a buddy,/b> is a friend. So a buddy scheme introduces staff and students. They are paired up as ‘buddies’ so that the student has someone they know and are comfortable with.

 get together
 
To get together is to meet.
 
Example: Let's get together next weekend.
 
For more meanings of the phrasal verb get together, follow the link below to our language library.
 
more information: get together

 gastronomy
 
Gastronomy is the art of preparing food.

 fascinated with
 
Fascinated with means very interested in.

 soaking up
 
To soak something up means to enjoy the experience as much as possible.

 good sense of balance
 
She says her life here has a ‘good sense of balance’. She means that all aspects have equal time - so she is not spending all her time studying or working. She also spends time at the beach or doing other relaxing activities.

 well-rounded
 
Well-rounded means involved or having experience in a wide range of ideas or activities.

 accustomed to
 
Accustomed to means familiar with. She’s used to a different culture and different weather.
 
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