October, 2016 Archive

Studying in Australia: Adelene Ooi

Written by Your Story

Religion is always an interesting subject. Meet Adelene Ooi, who can speak 4 languages – English, Mandarin, Malay, and Hokkien (dialect), and find out what made her keen to learn the Bible and become a Christian.

Hello, I am Adelene Ooi. I am from Penang Malaysia which has good food and great tourist attractions. I came to Adelaide, Australia in July 2015. At that time, I had just finished by high school and started a course of Accounting at TAFE SA. I chose Adelaide instead of Sydney or other busy cities because I like country atmosphere and I feel safe living here. It is so peaceful, quiet and I get to be surrounded by nature.

I would say that I did not find it so difficult to live in Australia without family because coming to Australia for my future studies is my dream. Language is not a challenge for me; however I will still need to keep improving daily by communicating with friends, reading, and more.

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How did studying overseas change you?

I feel much more confident about my communication skills. I am more independent and cooking better. Overall, I am still trying to improve myself everyday.

During high school back in Malaysia, I played many sports competitively such as volleyball, running marathons and jogging. After relocating to South Australia, it eventually suited me a lot and felt just like my second home. Whenever I felt tired of studying, I go hiking, cycling, enjoy sunsets by the beach and more to energize myself.

Australia is a beautiful country and the local council also does a great job at maintaining the national parks for visitors to stay safe.

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If you are in Adelaide, I would recommend the top of Mouth Lofty in Adelaide Hills. You will get to see the stunning Adelaide landscape at the top look out and the sunset/sunrise. While you are there it is also great to go hiking and explore nature around you. If you are really lucky, you can meet joeys, see koalas hugging trees and different types of birds.

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How did you manage your time and improve your personal skills?

I do not have any part-time job, so I am not struggling with time management. On weekdays, I go to class and do all the homework, and I have the weekend free to relax and do what I love to.

Local people living in Adelaide are really kind and friendly. I try to involve myself in English conversations everyday to improve my English skills.

 

What did you find interesting and inspiring about your major – Accounting?

“I do enjoy it! If not, I really am having hard time doing it….”

Never regret starting from TAFE because the classes are small and more of the course work is focused on practical skills. Since the class is small, teacher and students have time and chances to know each other. There will be a lot of homework, but the lectures give us support. So just make sure that you are hard-working, and you will eventually get on the right track. For me, I love the subjects I am doing.

“I will finish my course in TAFE for 2 years and then credit transfer to university.”

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What do you do to reduce stress or enjoy studying?

In my free time, I go to church on Sundays to catch up with friends and chat about life. I also like to go hiking for short distances such as coastal walks along the beach by myself.

I volunteer to coach basketball and other sports to special education high school kids. It requires me to have a lot of patience and compassion. In return I do learn many things like team work, problem solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organizing, learning, using technology and self-management.

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How did you become a Christian? 

Everyone has awesome history to begin with, that’s why you have your awesome today! My introduction to church was a little bit random. I met a girl at the beach some time in April and after a great chat she invited me to go to church for Bible studies. She thought I wouldn’t turn up, but I eventually did.

After that, I went to the church more frequently and begin to read the Bible. To know what the gospel is about, you also need to dedicate yourself to reading, investigating and asking questions. For me, just listening to the preachers wasn’t confronting enough.

From just a random encounter at the start, in the end it was far from random. I just decided to make the first step and see where the surprising (but trustworthy) invitation led me. Now I believe that becoming a Christian was not my duty, but my destiny. We are not born perfect, we all need each other to play our part to reach out to people who need help.

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  • If you could give an advice for international students what would it be?

    Stand up for yourself, don’t be afraid for everything. Don’t be scared of anything. And work hard!

  • What would you say to inspire international students to get better in the future?

    Join some clubs. You can go to the church to meet new people. Show yourself, and be cool for volunteering to see the world.

 

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My First Ever “Breaking Away” in Australia

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

It’s hard to define “home” when you don’t stay in one place for an entire year.

In my case, during the first half of the year, I lived in a homestay. During the winter break, I went back to my home country, Malaysia, to visit my family before coming back to Australia. Just recently, I moved out of homestay into a shared house with friends.

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Living in different places brought out different aspects of my personality. While I was at the home stay, it seemed imperative for me always to show my best behaviour because it was like I was representing my own country. I would consistently wake up early, get myself ready for classes and get my laundry done on time. If I didn’t, I felt it would reflect poorly on my parents and how they have raised me. At the same time, it was the right kind of pressure, the kind that makes you a better person. I felt much more productive, and I certainly got a lot of things done, and I was also able to enjoy what Sydney had to offer in the spare time that I had.

Ice skating with the ladies

Ice skating with the ladies

But now that I’m living in a shared house, it feels like the pressure is gone. I don’t have to put myself on a pedestal and demand myself to be the best example of a Malaysian girl because I’m in a house full of Malaysian girls. There’s no reason to try to stand out because I belong. Of course, at times I do feel left out and awkward, but it happens to everyone. These kinds of awkward moments only last for a split second…then life resumes its course. I’m slowly learning to work through them because if I think about it, in the long run, this is where I can learn more about who I am and establish a closer connection to people from my culture.

Im Ready yo

It may not seem like much but living in a shared house tests my independence and maturity. I am even more in charge of my survival than before, especially when it comes to food. I now have to decide what to eat every day! That’s super stressful! If it were up to me, I’d just eat instant noodles, but I hear that’s not exactly healthy. Really, I have the utmost respect for mothers and fathers that always know what to cook for their families (y’all got it figured out). Also being in university, I am wholly in charge of my studies. There’s a lot of gap time in between classes and what I do in those hours could either really help me or hurt me. Of course, the first few weeks of uni I messed around and slept in my free time. But I’ve grown to realise the importance of setting a routine early on in the semester when it comes to studying. That is certainly something I will work on next semester.

The ladies from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney

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Being able to live in a shared house with different people has also allowed me to meet more people and more friends! It was something I was not able to do back in the homestay as I was living with one family. I recently met my housemates’ friends when we went on a trip to the Blue Mountains together. We hadn’t met before, but during that journey I found that I really connected with them and felt at ease. We have since become friends, and it’s helped me feel that I won’t go through life alone.

The Malaysian sensations from the recent Blue Mountains trip

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My parents have told me stories from their university years about finding a close-knit group of friends, and I have always wanted to experience something similar. I wanted to find people I could seriously consider my brothers and sisters in this new city. By deciding to move to this shared house, I feel as though I have done just that.

It feels like home away from home.

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