My name is Jeson Chen. Mrs K was my foreign teacher at Longyan University. I was an English Major student. My Bachelor degree was Bachelor of Arts, in English Teaching. I planned to go overseas to study in the last year before I graduated.
Q. Why did you come to Australia to study?
At first I planned to go to England but the visa application was unsuccessful. Then I decided to go to Australia. I knew that Australia is said to be an advanced country with great education system, and the weather is just so much better than England.
Q. How did it feel to leave China on your own?
I was full of expectation, excitement and a little bit nervous. It wasn’t very scary really. I like to challenge myself, so going abroad is a chance not to be missed.
Q. How did your parents feel about your leaving China on your own?
My mom was really worried about me going abroad by myself, but not my dad, he knew that I would be okay, as he has tried to build up my independence and self-management ability since I was young.
Q. Did you feel confident on your own?
Yes. I would say I felt quite confident. I was nervous but not really worried. I was just not sure about what it would be like when I first came. I like trying new things by myself.
Q. What subject did you study in Australia?
I did Master of Commerce, in Professional Accounting and Graduate Diploma of Management. I studied at Griffith University on the Gold Coast, and then I moved up to Brisbane to do the Graduate Diploma at CQU.
Q. What was your first impression of Australia?
It was beautiful, lovely, the sun was shining and the sky was extremely blue. It did seem really different from China with the weather, clouds, fresh air and trees. China is really crowded and there are not so many people here. We see more cars on the roads than people in the streets.
Q. How did it feel to see so many white people around, and not so many Chinese people?
It was exciting. It was all very different at first.
Q. Did we all look the same at first?
Not really, people seemed quite mixed.
Q. How did you manage with the language? Was it hard to get used to our fast speaking?
Nope. There was only a little problem with some of the slang. I managed quite well in class. I didn’t really have much trouble. My English was good before I came here though.
Q. Was it hard to make Australian friends?
It was kind of hard to make true friends with locals but not that hard with those with the same cultural background. I guess it was the cultural difference. The locals are more relaxed and laid back, and I didn’t go to their parties, so I didn’t have so much opportunity to meet others.
I have some local friends now, and I get on very well with my workmates. Somehow it is just hard to get a deep friendship going with them. So my close friends are mostly Chinese, or from Taiwan or Hong Kong, or some Australian born Chinese.
(Comment by Lana). I think this is an Australian thing. They are very friendly on the surface but it takes ages to make close friends. I don’t think that is because you are Chinese, I have the same problem.
Q. How hard was it to get used to the food here?
It wasn’t that hard, there’s heaps of Asian food available here. One of the foods I love is the meat pie. I love the chicken and mushroom meat pies. The pies were new to me, with the pastry and fillings, but I really love them now. There’s no food that I hate really. I keep an open mind about everything new here, and I will try anything once.
Q. Thinking back, what was the worst thing about coming to Australia?
As soon as I could, I got some casual/part time work. The worst part was working at the convenience store, the 7-11 in Surfers Paradise. I had to deal with drunk and racist people, not just locals.
Q. What has been the best thing about coming here?
To further open my mind and my eyes. To see all different lives from all over the world, and the beautiful sceneries in Australia. It has also helped me to become more independent and mature.
Q. Was the study here easier or harder than in China?
It was easier. My English was good so I could understand the teachers. I found by putting in enough effort I could do very well.
I didn’t feel too stressed about getting high marks. Some students got stressed, but that was mostly due to them having language problems.
Q. What plans do you have for the future?
I’m going to get my permanent residency first, and then see if I can explore a business path in Australia. I will definitely run a business of my own instead of working for someone else all the time.
Q. Did you know about culture shock when you came?
Yes I did, but I don’t think it was a big problem for me. I tried to be open-mined, so it would be easier for me to adapt.
Comment by Lana. I remember you coming and staying with us for a few days when you first arrived in Australia and you made it quite plain that you were here in Australia and you would try to eat our food. You had a very good attitude right from the beginning. I’m sure that helped you.
Q. Do you have work now?
Yes I do. I have worked in the 7-11 convenience stores and at KFC while I was studying. Now I have two part time jobs. I am learning all about the wine industry and I hope this will set me up for a future career with wine.