SYDNEY | Ep. 09 – Half Way Point

I almost can’t believe it, about 12 weeks ago I came to Australia and the adventure was just about to start. And now, I’m sitting here behind my computer, writing this story. This is (approximately) the half way point of my stay. The time really flies by here, but that means I’m having fun! In this post I will get a little bit more into detail about my life here, what I’ve learned since I arrived and what has changed. Sounds boring? No worries, you can always check out the eye candy and look at the pictures!

Study

I’m here in Australia with EF (Education First), an organisation that combines school with travel. The main idea is to learn a language (in my case English) in a country where they speak that language (e.g. Australia). My reason for choosing EF was because I didn’t want to have the feeling to “waste” a whole year of my life without adding anything to my career. Now I’m here, exploring new places and views on life, I know that this statement of mine is incorrect, but I’ll get into detail about that later.

The advances about having school here is that you have certain regularity in your days combined with responsibilities. This makes every day feel valuable and gives you something to hold on to and plan around. The school is a great place to make friends and meet people. My experience with EF is that everybody (student and teacher) is very kind and open, willing to help you with anything. And of course, it’s school, so you definitely learn stuff. However, this is the point I get into the disadvantages and defects of EF.

If you aren’t very good at English or almost can’t speak it at all, the EF system is great for you. But, for those, like myself, who have already had a pretty developed background in English, the regular course doesn’t do much. Classes can be very boring and childish (depending on the teacher of course) and iLab lessons have a very low standard (especially in comparison with the 6-week test, which has a very good and high level. In my opinion they should be teaching on this level). For the General English lessons I can say that the standard is too low. In January I’ll start my Cambridge Course so that will luckily be more challenging

Tips

For those struggling with some similar issues, here’s how to challenge yourself if the teaching method doesn’t do it, or if you want to improve quicker.

  1. Do more than just your usual homework, try to summarise the theory or make extra assignments, you can even ask your teacher for this.
  2. Make notes in class and if given, go to the optional lectures.
  3. Keep up a word file with words you didn’t understand + explanation.
  4. Speak the language. It really doesn’t matter to whom or if you suck or not, just the fact that you are trying shows your determination and will improve you way faster. Even with people from the same country as you, speak the language you’re all trying to learn.
  5. Listen, by just listening to the teacher or a friend, you already learn a lot. But try watching a movie (maybe add the subtitles in that language if necessary) or TED talks.

Life

Like I said, my statement about “wasting” a year on travel is incorrect. Being on your own, exploring new places, views and cultures really help you grow. Here you can argue that, when doing a combination of travel and school, you’re a little bit stuck in one place.. Also, by traveling you’re able to get in contact with locals way easier than when studying at EF. When I compare all the factors, I can say that right now I made the right decision. I would really like to travel more, but think that this will be easier when I’m a little older and have a drivers licence.

Living on my own feels (most of the time) amazing. I love having my own place, cooking my own food and just the feeling of responsibility. And honestly, I think I’m doing a pretty good job at it. Over the past weeks I definitely got to know myself better, or at least, in another way. My stronger and weaker characteristics and how to recognise and deal with them. In advance of this journey, I expected to become a completely different person, but I don’t think that this will be the case. I’ll stay who I am, but the person who comes back has just grown in age and experience.

Keeping in contact with friends and family can be hard sometimes. Time difference (10 hours) and bad Wi-Fi accessibility play a big role in that. But it’s the small and quick messages that can make a big difference. Besides that, my daily life is moving on and theirs is too, once you realise and accept that from each other, everything is fine. I feel so grateful for my amazing parents, brother, family and friends that support me on this trip and want to thank them with all my heart.

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So there you go, a huge story about my life here in Sydney and what I think of it. I really enjoy my time here and will continue exploring till the last hour is over. Keep in contact with me via my social media platforms! Instagram / Twitter / Youtube / Facebook

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Lysbeth Koster

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