It has been a year and a half since I stepped on the mighty Australian ground as a student. One tiny student in the land of “G’day mate” and “Put another prawn on the barbie”.
Funny enough the first thing I was introduced to was neither. It was heat.
Being from Russia I had totally forgotten that there are countries on earth where the temperature is not constantly -25 and summer actually implies wearing shorts and a t-shirt, not the warm padded pants with a snow/wind/rain proof jacket. On top of that I was leaving my sweet home in the middle of the winter.
I was prepared for almost anything…almost.
What I was definitely NOT prepared for was 40 degree heat with a blasting wind that makes you feel like you are sitting on the top shelf in Banya (Banya – a Russian traditional sauna: flipping hot, contains hot rocks, a bucket of water and a besom made of dry and spiky tree brunches, where just for fun people spray water on the red-hot coals with the intention to create more heat and beat the living lights out of each other with an earlier mentioned besom just because “it’s good for ya”…).
Anyhow, being a student in Australia is a
contradictory great experience…
I found out that “deadlines” imply “some time next year” and “urgently” most of the time means “whenever you feel like it mate”. Though it only applies to lecturing/administering staff (been waiting to receive my certificate award for over 6 months now). Students on the other hand should submit all their work strictly on time, and no one cares that it was given out to you only 3 weeks prior to ending of the semester. (Note: I did not mention quality of work for a reason, because I’ve been told on several occasions “You think too much” and … “Stop thinking too much”). Here goes my motivation out the window. My soviet way of doing things in the best possible way and desire to excel was just seriously questioned…
I’ve learned that some students are getting paid by the government. These are called “social security” students and it is inconsiderate to question their behaviour culture such as sleeping, yelling and distracting class in any possible way in front of fellow students. Though I still don’t understand the whole meaning of social security students in the class, I simply decided to ignore the presence of thee and move on with my studies.
Another thing I’ve learned was the meaning of a word “bogan”. Bogan – a particular breed of homosapien: drives an overpowered and a very loud Commodore ute, wears a reflective shirt or a Bintang tank top with shorts and flip flops or wears no top whatsoever and usually implies to “tradies”. Still to me it sounds more like a discriminative joke against this layer of society. “Tradies” are decent people, they just like loud cars and they are constantly feeling hot, or being safe (hence wearing the reflective shirt).
Speaking of which, pale skin Aussies that you believe to be real Aussies are not the the real “ozzies”. People of aboriginal descent are the real indigenous Australians. In many cases they are very descent human beings, but some are quite unpleasant to be around. Many times I’ve seen this type go on public transport, cause trouble and openly abuse anyone who would come across, repeatedly calling a poor stranger a racist and then making a racist comment straight after themselves. What wonders me the most is that they receive not any less of public benefits than any other non-Australian citizen and in some cases they are eligible to use specific government programs such as Aboriginal Medical, Legal services, educational programs or special payments. So why not use it to full, why not to try and get educated, get a job? But on the other hand it seems that Australian society by differentiating indigenous people from non-indigenous locked itself in the loop. Why on each single form I filled in in Australia I should have determined whether I am of an Aboriginal decent or not…
Who cares? You were born in Australia? Good! You are Aussie… Personally doesn’t bother me as long as you are a decent human being.
Being Asian looking is the whole different story. I was told a few times to “Go back to where you came from FOB!”… Took me a while to learn that one. FOB – Fresh Of the Boat, an asylum seekers: come from one of the neighbouring Asian countries, usually Indonesia, come by boat. These people spend an x amount of time in detention camps until they receive a refugee status and are allowed to come in and stay permanently in the country. Also they receive an equal amount of rights and opportunities as any other permanent resident, plus some special treatment…the kind that even real pale skin ozzies don’t get.
Ex.: Recently Australian government suggested and encouraged housing refugees in Australian citizens homes or nursing houses for a reduced rental cost…
Very humane way of treating people who seeks protection and support from Australian government.
Yet why do I constantly see and read news about the actual Australian residents who have lost their homes and nothing is being done about it…?
Another unsolved mystery.
Moving on to being Russian with the risk level of “3” as defined by the Australian Immigration Department. I had to go through almost hell to get my student visa and the only concession i got was a student discount. Documentation was not an issue during the process, the treatment received in immigration offices were. But I guess this is just a part of the deal, they don’t want any random people full of possibly bad intentions to enter their holy grounds… Understandable. They already have a handful of their own.