"I totally understand how studying and moving to a new place can be an exhilarating experience, but also an overwhelming one sometimes.
I was a very shy person; I didn't like talking and I tried to avoid any social situations. Another challenge for me was the language change; I speak Mandarin in China but now I needed to communicate in English. I remember when I bought a used car and needed to transfer the vehicle registration into my name. I went to Service SA and asked the lady in reception how I could do the registration transfer.
She told me: “Counter 5.” I thought she said "Count to Five" - so I did what I was told: “One, two, three, four, five.” Then I found that people around me were laughing. I just stood there and felt embarrassed and confused. I have changed a lot. I now know meaning of the word "Counter".
I learnt about social work theories which helped me understand that I am scared to talk to others because I am scared of being rejected. During placement I had to force myself to communicate in a professional way to get a Pass. Strangely, people didn't reject me, but told me about their experiences and problems, they trusted me as a reliable person.
Now I have finished 1000 hours of placement, I am more comfortable and confident about communication and this is exactly what I wanted to achieve before I came here as an international student. I also have a wonderful after school time here: I used to be a roof -climb assistant in Adelaide Oval, assisting groups climb across the iconic roofline of Adelaide Oval. I provided translation and driving services for the Chinese television drama series ‘If Time Flows Back’. Now I work as a student ambassador for Study Adelaide, working to improve the learning and living experience of international students in South Australia through projects and activities.