When I was 17, I came here to do Foundation studies, which is an entry programme for uni. Now, I’m in my third year of my Bachelor degree in Education. My case is unusual, because although many Chinese people who come here to study are rich, my family is not rich. My parents are separated and my father doesn’t contribute much to child support. Also, my extended family didn’t support my decision to come here because where I come from, the neighbourhood is still very traditional in their way of thinking. They think it’s not necessary to invest so much money in education for girls, because they will marry out of the family.
But my mum is a really open-minded person, and she was supportive when I told her my dream to come here, even though we are struggling a bit financially. At that time, I was young, and didn’t know it would cost a lot of money. Then, when I got to uni, I realised how much it was costing, and had a period when I felt really guilty. But when I talked to Mum, she said, ‘I don’t want you to lose your opportunity to study abroad. Don’t worry. I can afford it.’ I’m really grateful that she made this life-changing decision for me.
It hasn’t always been easy to do this degree. Sometimes people say things like, ‘Oh, if you go back to China, you’ll be a great teacher. Are you sure you’re going to teach here?’, which made me start to doubt myself. It was quite depressing, and I even thought about withdrawing.
But I finally decided to use those words to actively seek out opportunities to gain more experience and build up my confidence instead. As a result, I did a teaching internship during my holiday back in China and when I came back, I started volunteering as a teaching assistant in a primary school. I also found a job in another school doing after school care. I think everything happens for a reason, and I’ve now become more mentally strong and more prepared for this year.
I’d like to work in Australia so that I can pay my Mum back some of the money she invested in me. And I’d also like to work in China. Through my degree, I’ve become aware of the difference between the two education systems, and I’d like to take the valuable parts of Australian education to children in China.
I really appreciate the experience of studying here, and hopefully I can make some positive changes to children’s lives in the future.
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