Heqiao (Amanda) Jia admits she was nervous moving to Melbourne from China given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but is now happy that she made the move and says her English has also improved since she started studying on campus.
Amanda was used to an intense study schedule in high school. Doing school work from 7am until 10pm each day was exhausting, and she and her parents knew that it would be good for her to study university overseas to experience a different educations system. Australia seemed like a good option, and Melbourne, which Amanda had visited on a holiday in 2019, seemed like it had the relaxed lifestyle Amanda was after. She also liked the old buildings and the trams.
Because of the COVID-19 situation, however, Amanda says she was reluctant to move to Australia, but then found that the pandemic situation was under control when she arrived in Melbourne in November 2021. ‘The situation is not that serious,’ she says of the pandemic in Australia, adding that ‘Melbourne is very beautiful, the air is very fresh, and the people are very friendly.’
Amanda also found that her Foundation Studies classes were much more engaging in person than they were online. ‘[Studying on campus] is better. The face-to-face classes are very interesting, especially drama,’ she says.
Overall, Amanda, who hopes to study arts at university, has found that the Australian education system allows for a lot of group discussion and interaction with teachers, which she wasn’t used to after studying in China. In particular, she says she’s been surprised by the friendly relationship between students and teachers, saying that sometimes she even has lunch with her teachers. ‘It’s like they’re friends. I think it’s very good.’
Amanda says that studying in Australia has also improved her English immeasurably. ‘My classmates and my teachers, they always encourage me,’ she says. ‘[My English] is now much better than before I came to Melbourne.’
‘The study style [at Trinity] involves some group work and presentations. Before I studied at Trinity, I didn’t know how to do this, but now I can do presentations and work in a group very well,’ she says. ‘If I went directly to Melbourne University [without going to Trinity], I think that maybe I wouldn’t have been able to understand a word and I wouldn’t have known the study style. I wouldn’t have known about presentations and group work.’
For this reason, Amanda thinks that Trinity College Foundation Studies is a great step for international students wishing to study at the University of Melbourne.