There is always something exciting happening in the International School at Mitchelton State High School.
This term the school has welcomed three new students from China, Vietnam and Colombia. The students have commenced a busy term, participating in various activities including basketball club, netball club, soccer club, informative presentations from UQ and QUT and the celebrations of National Science Week. The Science Extension students had the opportunity to attend an excursion to Seaworld and the major highlight of the day was snorkelling.
Ayano Otsuka has written an enlightening reflection on ‘difference’ as an assessment task for English Additional Language class. Ayanos’ writing delivers an insight into how the Australian culture can be perceived by an international student. Here is her story below.
By Avano Otsuka
I was trapped in small, safe cage like a bird. I was isolated by a deep, dynamic ocean. There is a different world across the ocean. One that I had not previously experienced. Is it because Japan is an island? Or because our traditional beliefs hold us back? I do not know why I hold that kind of bias, but that‘s why I wanted to know different people in a different country. I escaped the cage.
Even now, in Tokyo, people who are different, because of skin colours or languages stand out for Japanese attention. It is like a circus and we are the audience. And we regard them as outsiders and start guessing where they came from like being in a zoo. They are aliens.
Like lightening, the shock of day 1 at Mitchie shook me. A sea of different faces, different colours, and different accents engulfed me. But we are all learning together in this school. Such an incredible journey I was taking. My comfort zone had disappeared. This was exciting. This was scary. This was eye-opening. I went to the city – again another shock! We are all enjoying shopping together.
I had already known the meaning of ‘diversity’ when I was in Japan, but I really got the true meaning of ‚diversity‘ in Australia.
Australia accepted the differences. But Japan does not.
So on the whole, Japanese culture doesn‘t embrace difference. Maybe they aren‘t aware of that. In Japan there is little discussed about racism and difficult cultural classes, because we are basically monoculture. I have learnt both good and bad things about difficulty. I have learned the negative meaning of the word “Jap”. What a shame! I am Japanese. I am proud of being Japanese, but I want to experience the world – it‘s good and it‘s not so good.
Now, I am flying in the huge and high Australian sky. Difference is good. Trying to understand difference is good as well. But we cannot judge people with their differences. I will keep flying with the dream to help other poor birds be released from the cage. I will not re-enter the cage!