Student Sharing of Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) – My First Step Out of My Comfort Zone: Exchange Programme in Australia
(只有英文版 English version only)
Cheong Bing Qiang, Year 2 Student of BEd(EL) (2019/20)
In July 2019, I mustered my courage to embark on my exchange journey in Australia. During the exchange, a few strange but fascinating things have enriched my exchange experience.
Firstly, the English language. Australia embraces multiculturalism in terms of World Englishes as Australians have various accents and slangs in different regions. I had hard times understanding their speech because of their accents. Anglo-Australians have different vocabulary items even though they speak standard Australian English, which is similar to British English. For example, they call McDonald’s “Maccas” and breakfast “brekkie”. Furthermore, the English language spoken by the Indigenous people in Australia is totally different from the standard Australian English. It is because they are influenced by their mother tongues, the Aboriginal languages and dialects that consist of more than 150 languages. Although it was challenging, this had stood me in good stead when taking linguistic courses after coming back. Having been aware of the diversity of Australian accents, I am able to provide more real-life examples for the linguistic analysis in group assignments.
Secondly, culture shock. In my home country Malaysia, we dare not drink water directly from the tap as there is no guarantee whether the tap water is contaminated due to the lack of maintenance and aging pipe. However, it is not the same case in Australia. In Australia, the tap water from both the bathroom and kitchen are clean and safe to drink, just like the UK. The taps are attached with water filters automatically provided by the Australian Water Authorities in every household. Also, I was told not to treat Australians with food. It is because individuals with food allergy, such as gluten intolerance and lactose allergy, are common in Australia. That is why Australians do not return people’s favours by giving foods or drinks.
Because of these experiences, my horizons have been broadened and I have learned to be more open-minded. This exchange experience is now one of the significant milestones in my life!