Australia Immersion Programme (Jul-Aug 2018)
Liu Pak Lok, Jack (5A)
I participated in the Australia Immersion Programme from 11 July to 28 August last summer. 12 students were selected to take part in the programme and luckily I was one of them. The school we studied at in Australia was called Fraser Coast Anglican College.
The first few days, I was very shy talking to other students, but my buddy, Hayden, was so nice taking me to meet his friends and always talked to me. He also took me to the classroom as the school was so big.
The electives I chose were Drama, Music, Technology Studies and McCafé. I have never tried Drama, nor any musical instruments before, but I wanted to step out of my comfort zone. I became more confident in Drama lessons and I learnt to play drums in Music lessons. Also, in Technology Studies, we learnt to do woodwork, like making a tree and a chair. That was a new experience as we do not have this class in Hong Kong.
You may want to know what the McCafé lessons were all about. They were lessons about how to run a café and we learnt to make some drinks like iced-chocolate and iced-coffee. In addition to these special subjects, we also had English, Mathematics, Science, History and Health and Physical Education. The subject I liked most was probably PE lesson. There was a large lawn at school, so we could play Frisbee every PE lessons. That was really fun.
My homestay experience was wonderful as I stayed in a house with a farm. I could always see kangaroos jumping around outside the house. My host parents bred ducks, sheep, geese and chickens and I fed them with my host mom sometimes. I never felt bored at home as I could play table tennis, play on the trampoline and even have a spa. One of my favourite activities was listening to music while I was lying in a hammock in the sunshine. That was so awesome.
I took part in many activities with other students at weekends during my stay in Australia. We went horse riding, whale watching, visited Fraser Island and also Australia Zoo. Fraser Island is a heritage-listed island and it is the longest sand island in the world. The environment there is so nice and natural. The sea water was clear and clean with no rubbish at all. We flew on a puddle-jumper, which is a small airplane, to get a beautiful view of the whole island. In Australia Zoo, we saw different special animals such as kangaroos, koala bears, and dingos (as well as others). My host parents also took me to some famous places in Hervey Bay, like the pier and the beaches. I enjoyed spending a relaxing afternoon on the beaches very much. I also joined some festivals like the “Blessing of the Fleet”, “Paddle out for Whales” and the “Whale Parade”. I had a great time with my friends as we played some exciting rides and watched the fireworks.
The whole program provided me not only with an eye-opening experience learning about western culture, but also the opportunity to be immersed in an English-speaking environment. When we stay in a western country, we may face some communications problems, like misunderstanding what people say to us. I did actually face this kind of problem. But, I tried my best and I asked for help when I had difficulties. I was so delighted that I got a lot of assistance from people in Australia. I can surely tell my fellow schoolmates that you can learn English really effectively from joining the programme, as English becomes your main language. You have to communicate with your host families, teachers, students and also students from other countries in English. It is an effective way to learn English in a unique environment.