Vol 12, Issue 2
People make the difference
I come from the northwestern part of China – Xinjiang Province, a place as beautiful as Australia.
It’s quite a unique experience to study aboard. Apart from the circumstantial differences, the people I met at Melbourne Law School made the biggest impact on me.
“Sorry, would you say your name again?”
“Yujie” – my name is not easy to pronounce in English, but as early as the orientation, classmates and teachers were trying to learn how to pronounce my name with respect. They’re saying “welcome” in a subtle and warm way. This was the first impression I got. I am thankful for it.
On 15th February, first-year students got the chance to listen to a couple of professional speakers. The most impressive one was Fiona M Mcleod SC. The speech was equally inspiring and touching for local and international students. She was wise and confident. She shared her personal stories and encouraged all students. She said: “Use your legally trained voice to improve, persuade and promote, because your voices are more logical, more convincing, and more rational than others. You can really do good things for the society.” She then gave us a big smile with this concluding remark: “You’re unstoppable.”
To be honest, I’ve never listened to a speech as motivational as this. I was literally crying, as many students were, when she talked about her personal experiences helping people. This was the best orientation of the whole JD programme and I even treated it as guidance for life.
Later, I found that every teacher in the law school is equally encouraging. They never discourage students. Instead, they give advice, find ways and solve problems. I cherished it.
I learned this Australian reply very quickly. I feel a sense of comfort, friendliness and optimism in it – the same impression I got from my local classmates. I did badly on LMR assignments. The feedback was ‘Satisfactory’ and ‘Need Great Improvement’. (Luckily they were not marked) I asked my classmates for help and they were so kind as to show me what they had written for their essays.
I used to imagine that the atmosphere in law school would be very competitive and there would be some tension between students. That is definitely not the case in Melbourne Law School. I joined the Facilitated Study Group and got valuable advice from second-year students; I got an LSS mentor who told me all the tips and pitfalls I might face; I got answers for questions from fellow classmates a million times. I appreciated all of them.
Despite the outrageously high living-cost and tuition for international students, I’m grateful to study with so many talented people in such a friendly and inspiring environment. I would also like to contribute diversity to the cohort.
Communication is a two-way street. There’s a saying in Chinese: “one more friend is one more way.” Making friends from different backgrounds or countries will not only give one more options, but also broader and further views. Every international student is a window for a glimpse of another country, culture, or society. I would like to share my personal experience and knowledge with anyone who’s interested in my culture and country and I think every other international student would like to do so as well.
Yujie Du is a first-year JD student
More International Perspectives:
The rest of this issue