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One-Year Study in Australia 1

After the graduation from the university in Xi'an in 2001, I had been an English tour guide for over two years in Guilin, which is enjoying the reputation of having the most beautiful mountains and rivers in the world. The job was actually quite good because of the high income and lots of opportunities of travelling around the country. Having this job, I could have a very comfortable and relaxed life in that quiet city.
 
However, probably because the unknown things and environment always seem attractive, I had always been distracted by the curiosity towards the foreign countries. Is the outside world really wonderful? Is it a heaven or a hell? Can I have a better career development out of China? Like many young and ambitious(有雄心的) people, I made up my mind to study abroad. After doing of a lot of research on the Internet, I chose Griffith University of Australia, for it enjoys the well-known reputation of the program of Master of International Tourism and Hospitality Management. I successfully got the offer from the university in March 2003 and lodged the application for a student visa in October 2003. In the end of the year, I got the visa and quit my job from the travel agent, flying to Gold Coast of Australia with my dreams and hopes.

Gold Coast is a beautiful tourist city on the east coastline of Australia. The 70km coastline features Australia's largest expanse of calm water. It is a place of warm and welcoming weather with 300 days of sunshine a year. Griffith University is located in this charming city, which is excellent for travelling or leading a quiet and relaxed life, but probably not quite suitable for study. I still remember that on the first day when I came to the campus of Griffith University, I was a little bit disappointed, for the campus is quite small and it seems that it is located in a bush. The buildings are new and short and lack speciality and cultural atmosphere. Unfortunately I became more disappointed when I found that almost half of my over 100 classmates are Chinese — sometimes it made me feel that I was attending foreign teachers' lectures in China! There is no doubt that this is not very good for me to improve my English level in such a language environment.

There is always a gap between ideal and reality. Accepting the fact, I started my studying life in Australia, but I didn't expect that the study is that stressful. Believe it or not, I had never ever been studying so hard before, even including the period when I was preparing for the exam of entrance to university in China seven years ago. There is such a big difference of the studying system between Australia and China. In China, everything will be fine as long as I can pass the final exams of every course. But in Australia, students have to do oral presentations, individual or group assignments, mid-term exams and final exams. All of the above must be well done because each of them will be counted into the final assessments.

Presentations are not easy for the most of the Chinese students because we are never required to do presentations in China, and English is not our native language. Actually it proves that oral presentation is really a good way of study. It encourages students to speak in front of other people and deliver their opinions bravely. Through a year's practice, I became more confident to do presentations without holding a single note in the hands.


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