Some advice from a fellow international student

Hi all,
My name is Julian, and I’m currently a Marketing Manager at UEC. In a past life, however, I was an English teacher for 7 years here at UEC.

I’m originally from Malaysia – a small tropical country in the middle of South East Asia. I came to Sydney by myself when I was 16 years old, and I liked it so much, I never left.

Like all of our students here at UEC, I was also an international student, so I’m writing to give you some advice that I wish I had when I first moved here. =)

An Australian is NOT someone with blonde hair and blue eyes.  
Australia is officially only about 117 years old. Because it’s so young, it’s a nation of immigrants. There are Serbians, Croatians, Greeks, Turks, Lebanese, Pakistani, Indian, Chileans, Colombians, Brazilians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hong Kongers, Japanese, Korean – my list could go on. All of them moved here for a variety of reasons and now call Australia home. It’s important to remember that Australians come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Who knows, maybe one day, you and your children might call yourselves Australian too. =)

Make friends and hang out with people from different countries
As I mentioned before, Australia is a big melting pot of culture. As an international student, it’s very easy to somehow find yourself hanging out with people from the same country and culture as you. I can totally understand – it’s familiar, it’s more comfortable, it’s easier.

But then ask yourself this very important question; why did you come to Australia? Was it to meet people from the same country as you? Was it to stay within the same culture? Was it to eat the same food you can find every day in your country? I’m guessing the answer to all those questions is a big, “no”. If you come all the way to Australia and hang out with people from the same country and culture, you are missing the point of your journey.

When you start living in Sydney, you’ll realise – you don’t have to travel all over the world; the world is right here at your doorstep. You just have to recognise it and be brave enough to open the door. You have an amazing opportunity to meet people from all over the world. To make friends with people that you would never ordinarily make friends with. To eat food you might not ever be brave enough to eat. To see different ways of life, and to learn things about different cultures that you never imagined even in your wildest dreams.

If you are brave enough to embrace all these things, Sydney will transform you. It will make you a better person, and a true citizen of the world. You just have to be brave enough to confront the differences you will see around you, and open-minded enough to embrace them.

You will never again be in Australia in this time of history, at this age and have these opportunities, so remember; be brave.

Hope this helps. See you in Sydney soon.  =)