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.
Coming 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 triple layer padded pants with a snow/wind/rain proof jacket, gloves and possibly a ski mask. 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 the 40 degree heat with a blasting wind that makes you feel like you are sitting on the top shelf in Banya (Banya is a Russian traditional sauna: seriously hot, contains hot rocks, a bucket of water and a besom made of dry, spiky tree brunches, where just for the fun of it, people spray the water on the red-hot rocks with the intention to create however more heat and beat the living lights out of each other with an earlier mentioned besom just because “it’s good for ya”). ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Anyhow, being a student in Australia is a rather
contradictory great experience…
I found out that the “deadlines” imply “some time next year” and “urgently” most of the time means “whenever you feel like it mate”. Although it mostly applies to a lecturing / administering staff as I’ve been waiting to receive my certificate award for over 6 months now. Students on the other hand should submit all of their work strictly on time, and no one cares that the assessment papers were given out to you only 3 weeks prior to the 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”, occasionally “Can you dumb down a little”. 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 just to be in class. These are called “social security” students and it is inconsiderate to question their behavior such as sleeping, yelling and generally distracting class in any possible way. Also even though I still don’t understand the whole meaning of the 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 type of the Homo Sapiens that typically 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, the term usually refers to “tradies”. Still, to me it sounds more like a bad discrimination joke against this layer of society. The “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’d believe to be real Aussies are not the the real “Ozzies”. People of an aboriginal descent are the real indigenous Australians. In many cases they are very descent, respectable human beings, however some can be quite unpleasant to be around. Many times I have encountered that scenario where they would go on public transport, cause trouble and openly abuse anyone who would come across, repeatedly calling a poor stranger a racist and then make a racist comment themselves. What wonders me the most is that they do not receive any less of the public benefits than any other non-Australian citizen and in some cases they are eligible to use specific government programs such as Aboriginal Medical and Legal services, educational programs and special payments. So why not use it to a full extent, why not to try and get educated, get a job? But on the other hand it seems that Australian society, by differentiating between the indigenous people and non-indigenous, locked itself in the loop. Why on each single form I had filled-in in Australia I should have determined whether I am of an Aboriginal decent or not. It’s like asking random Russian Citizen whether they belong to an aboriginal race (Any of 100 ish of them to be precise)..?! Personally doesn’t bother me as long as you are a decent human being.
Being Asian looking on the other side 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 a.k.a. Fresh Of the Boat refers to asylum seekers who in many cases come from one of the neighboring 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 it seems 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 citizen’s homes or nursing houses for a reduced rental cost…
Very humane way of treating people who seeks protection and support from Australian government indeed.
Yet why do I constantly see and read the news about the actual Australian residents who have lost their homes and nothing productive 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 nearly all 9 circles of hell to get my student visa and the only concession I got was a student discount for public transport (butt-hurt much). Documentation was not an issue during the process but the treatment received in immigration offices was. But I guess this is just a part of the deal, of course they don’t want any random people of all sorts of shady backgrounds and questionable intentions to enter their holy grounds… Understandable. They already have a handful of their own.