I’ve covered some events and stories at La Trobe University Bundoora, around Melbourne, and featured some articles of what it’s like to be an overseas student in Australia. But for my last piece, I want to write about me.
I interviewed a former Bhutanese refugee who’s now running for public office in Moreland, and apart from the issues he aims to address in the city, he spoke about what it means to be a migrant here in Australia. He points out that despite the multiculturalism and diversity in Australia, communities in suburbs do not come together in joint celebration. Adding that integrating people of different ethnic origins is a struggle that still needs work in the country.
It made me think about disposition as a possible migrant and what challenges I’ll be facing.
My two semesters in La Trobe have been a constant adjustment. Not always pleasant but indeed necessary. I’ve mentioned on a previous post of what it’s like to be an overseas student in Australia, and it for the most part it was negative. Having to adjust to the language, lack of context with the social environment, and no family. Well, after two tough semesters I’ve learned a couple of things that changed me for the better.
Hopefully this can help other overseas students.
Don’t linger around. Do it. When you want something, go ask for it (politely). When you think you are mistreated, speak up. When you’re seeking help from your lecturers, don’t be tentative, be definite.
Your confidence and courage will scare people who are timid, and you may sometimes appear arrogant. But do not falter, your personality will attract success and it will grant you opportunities.
It’s your obligation to make them know you. When you’re in a place where nobody knows who you are, and nobody will really bother to, you have to find ways for them to think twice. Remember, you chose to be here, and you have to accept that you might have to exert more effort in gaining certain things than the locals. Therefore, you have to dance along with music.
Do volunteer work, join a club, attend events, and meet some people. If you want to change you have to experience discomfort.
Always remain calm whether you’re ecstatic or distressed. Don’t make impulsive decisions when you are happy, because the danger is that when your expectations are not met, the recovery is almost impossible. When you are lonely, breathe. Remember you are just in school, and you are allowed to make mistakes.
In the end, it’s all about how much you want something and what you’re willing to pay for it.
I guess somehow some migrants feel like these animals. They are there and they are a part of society, but somehow they still don’t belong. If you feel alone out there, please know that you aren’t.
By Haj Songcuya