of the B H I E C students interviewed here have chosen
to remain anonymous. The photographs included do not
therefore necessarily correspond correctly with the
On Tuesday 16th March 2004, our Yr l2
ESL class went down to B.H I.E.C. I interviewed a boy named
Steve. He shared his journey from China to Australia, including
his emotions and thoughts during the journey. From his detailed
description, I have had a better understanding of the Area of
Steve used to live in a big city in China called Guang Zhou.
It is a busy and a highly populated city. His parents migrated
to Australia before him, and he was left in China with his sister.
Due to the familiar environment and the love and support, he
has been left with happy memories.
got onto the aeroplane in October 2003. After 9 hours flying,
a long distance physical journey brought him to Australia, a
new country which to him is full of unknowns. On the way, Steve
was kind of calm, because his parents and sister was with him.
This is an opposite feeling to our main characters Molly, Daisy
and Gracie in the text, film, Rabbit-Proof Fence. For the purpose
of reuniting with their own culture and more importantly with
the family, Molly led her young sister and cousin through the
harsh land and avoided the people who were chasing tightly after
them to recapture them. In comparison, Steve's reunion with
family is peaceful and pleasant. However, he still has got his
inner journey or growth. Steve asked himself: "what is
it going to be like" frequently on the aeroplane. Since
the supportive family was next to him, he didn't feel nervous,
instead, knowing clearly that he had taken the responsibility
to help himself as well as his young sister to fit into a new
life. This is similar to the duties of our main character Molly.
Steve thought this country was going to be friendly and clean,
but language was going to trouble his life for a period of time,
as no one would always accompany him and interpret for him.
Luckily, he is determined and realises that as he and his sister
work hard together, they will overcome this obstacle in life's
journey. While he was sharing this, the smile of confidence
and hope was on his face. Once again, the imaginative journey
of Steve's future occupied his mind, by reading his eyes the
bright future is communicated to me.
However, reality put Steve down a bit by the time he finished
the long and exhausted physical journey in the aeroplane. Steve
stepped onto Australian soil, and his emotions came out one
after another strongly and passionately. Steve's eyes were going
through the houses, meanwhile, his emotional journey went on
and on. Yes, Australia is different, it is clean, but far too
quiet. He couldn't feel life around him except for the plants
which abound. The environment is totally different from the
city he loves, he used to enjoy the busy and active life. At
this point, Steve realised that his life journey diverged, he
can't turn back to where he started off—his familiar land,
therefore he needs to go forward.
Studying in the I.E.C. is the main thing in Steve's daily life
now. In the I.E.C, Steve's cultural journey continues, because
the I.E.C. is such a multi-cultural place. Different nationalities
gather here, and study together. English is the subject that
Steve puts most of his efforts into. He believes that once the
problem of communication is solved, the boring feelings about
this city will decrease. With this positive determination, Steve
can be cheered up easily by learning a new word or a new expression
as well as knowing a new friend.
In his spare time, Steve extended himself physically into different
areas of Sydney. He explored various life styles. Along this
physical journey, he set up his own goal. He will apply to a
high school to continue study, but unlike other Chinese students,
he has no willingness to go to university. As our strong character
Ken in the set text, Whose Life is it Anyway? Said: "Each
man must make up his own decision..." This guy, Steve who
has experienced the clashes of cultures, languages and life
styles, he has his personal growth, associated with his inner
journey, he understands that in the future he's more likely
to do what he likes rather than what his parents expect. Steve
made up his own mind. He prefers to be a chef. Steve's life
journey continues, I wish him luck to get to one of his life
journey's destinations—to be a wonderful chef.
by Valerie YE
On March the 16th, the year 11 ESL English
class went to Beverly Hills Intensive English Centre to interview
the IEC students, in order to expand our understanding of the
area of study—Journey.
All of the IEC students immigrated to Australia with their family.
Obviously, they went on the physical journey, from their homeland
to Australia. There are many types of journeys, during this
physical journey, the emotional journey, imaginative journey
and other types of journeys as well.
Nana was my interviewee. She came from Thailand, she has been
here since January. In my opinion, her life is so complicated.
She was born in Germany. When she was two years old, she immigrated
to Thailand with her family. Her mother is an Indian, her father
is Thai. Nana has mixed blood.
Thailand to here ,she spent serval hours in the air, that is
definitely a physical journey. Before Nana come to Australia,
she was so excited and confused. Excited because she will be
living in a new country and she was starting to imagine what
Australia would be like and how her life in the new country
would be. There were reasons why she wanted to come to Australia.
Firstly, she wanted to study here to learn the language. Learning
English in Australia is better than learning English in Thailand,
there are more chances and opportunities in Australia .She also
felt bored to stay in the same area for all of her life. She
needed to find some stimulus, she wanted to discover more about
Nana suddenly looked a little bit upset. She said: Although
I am enjoying living in Australia, I have also met several obstacles
in my life." That reminded me of the poem 'the road not
taken' where there is much undergrowth and challenges. The composer
walked along the road, and the undergrowth and obstacles prevented
him from going forwards. This is similar with Nana's Journey.
She felt the hardest thing she had to face was to speak a different
language here. Language is a big obstacle . She also had the
problem of finding new friends because of the different culture,
different language we speak, different topics we talk about".
She lives without her parents. They work in the countryside.
When she was on holidays, she went to visit them. She lived
with her grandma u I feel the way I live is so hard, I hate
cooking ,I have to help my grandma, anyway, I feel like I am
the nurse looking after the old people."
After Nana came to Australia, she had to learn more about herself.
She learned how to live without her parents and menage herself
and live independently. She 11 also learnt how to improve her
relationships with people and learned about the people from
other areas of the world and learn more about multiculturalism.
She also learnt to respect the others and understand more about
In my opinion, Nana is an interesting girl, she was talkative
and we had a satisfying conversation. She also is a brave girl
and she always has the courage to overcome the adversity. We
had a good time during the interview.
After I interviewed Nana, I realised emotional journeys and
inner journeys are closely linked to physical journeys as well.
Emotional journeys can inspire physical journey.
by Jia Li Hu
Today, we had the opportunity to interview students in the Beverly
Hills IEC Centre. I feel very glad that they agreed to tell their
stories and let us into their lives.
However, life wasn't as easy as I thought. They reported feelings
of isolation and a lack of purpose, language barriers, had made
it difficult to become actively involved in their communities.
Through most of their life journeys, they encounter a number of
obstacles and challenges. Here is the journey that my interviewee,
who chooses to remain anonymous, experienced when he migrated
he arrived, he couldn't understand any English at all. He was
so scared to go outside that he'd rather stay home all day long.
He felt this way because he couldn't adapt to this new environment
immediately. Sydney is so different compared to China. The foreign
people, foreign culture and the foreign environment, had replaced
his familiar feelings of his city -Shanghai. I believe his decision
to come to Australia is a big turning point in his life's journey,
however, his migration is a journey which is filled with many
challenges that await him.
Soon after, he went to ESL classes to learn English, but sitting
in a big class, he was too nervous to talk and felt embarrassed
to ask questions. Most of the time he just sat there quietly
until the lesson had ended.
When his parents went to work, he felt even lonelier in this
strange world. This isolation he experienced was due to him
recently moving to Sydney, with little knowledge of this place,
and language barriers that made it difficult for him to connect
more with his surroundings.
time went by, he slowly came to realise that he was studying
in a pleasant and harmonious environment. The class was informal
and the teachers were friendly. He started to feel relaxed and
comfortable to talk. From his progress, he has learned many
everyday English words and conversations, and actively joined
Soon after, he had many friends in the IEC Centre. They came
to Australia a few months earlier than him, spoke the same language
and came from the same country as he did too, so they freely
shared their feelings and experiences together.
Not long after, they became good friends. His life changed since
he made many friends in the language school. They went out together,
making new friends, and experiencing more about the lifestyle
of the country. All these contacts and caring support from his
friends really opened up his mind and got him out of the isolated
life. He started to feel that the world around him wasn't so
strange and fearful, and he was concerned about and taken care
of by many people.
through my interviewee's experience, his story had helped to
build a bridge of understanding between us. I can see how he
encountered few obstacles and challenges, to slowly overcome
his problems stage by stage. This interview is very useful and
relevant to my area of study - Journeys. He had experienced
change, obstacles in his life, but was able to overcome them.
This has further expanded my understanding of this topic.
by Qing Hua Rachel XIE).
Each year, thousands of people migrate
to Australia for various reasons, and each person ‘s experiences
are significant. The interview with a young Jordanian girl Samah,
who migrated to Australia four months ago, assisted me with
my study of journeys. A journey suggests a movement form one
place to another and includes all the experiences under gone
along the way. The young Jordanian girl’s physical journey
to Australia, incurs experiences which affect her psychological
state, both intellectually and emotionally.
Physical journeys occur over land or sea, and also tend to be
accompanied by learning and understanding. Summer was born in
a traditional Muslim family in Jordan, which is a small South
Arabian country. She spent her childhood there and had started
schooling before she migrated to Australia. “ I didn’t
know much about other countries, but now I begin to know some
of them. I know Australia has more wealthy natural resources
than my country, also the society is more democratic”.
This physical journey has given Samah an opportunity to learn
about the world.
addition, I come to understand that the physical journeys could
result in learning about new people. Summer met many different
people in Australia through the journey. People from Asia, Africa,
Middle-East and so on which has broadened her horizons. “
I cannot imagine that there are so many cultural groups of people
in the world. I find that their cultural values are different
from mine, I couldn’t understand them at first, but now
I think that these values are not bad…”. This evidence
shows us that there is interaction between people who are from
different ethnic groups. Summer’s interaction with other
people has made her more tolerant of others. Her journey is
from one point of belief to another point of understanding and
acceptance, hence she is also having a mental journey during
the physical journey.
Physical journeys often involve emotions, and many people can
have a stronger connection with their homeland when they take
a journey away from home. During the interview, Samah showed
her sadness of leaving home: “ it’s very sad to
leave a place that you’ve lived in for more than 10 years…”.
Also she always shows her love and connection to her country:
“ I miss my homeland. Every week I look up the events
that happen in my country, and the internet and phone are the
way I keep in touch with my homeland. I’ve never been
so connected with my homeland”. This is similar to our
set text, the film “ Rabbit Proof-Fence” by Phillip
Noyce. When the main characters, the three young half-caste
aboriginal girls Molly, Gracie and Daisy is taken away home
to begin a physical journey, they are extremely emotional, this
can be seen through their sorrowful expressions. The Rabbit
Proof-Fence which provides the physical path home for the girls,
is used as a strong visual symbol of the connection between
the girls and their family. We learn from this that physical
journeys often involve emotional journeys.
Making choices is an important part of our life journey. The
decision we make can affect our next stage in life and even
the future. Migrating to Australia is a personal choice for
Samah. This decision has meant that she has gone on a physical,
emotional and intellectual journey. She gains a better education
and future in her life journey. Samah’s choice can remind
us of the issue of personal choice in the play “ Whose
Life is it Anyway” by Brian Clark. The main character
Ken Harrison is paralysed from the neck down after a serious
car accident. When he realises that his life is no longer worth
living, he decides to be discharged from the hospital. This
personal choice can make him die, that is it influences his
life journey. All of the above show that a choice may make a
person’s life totally different, it changes the direction
of one’s life journey.
Journeys are powerful, they challenge us, but also extend and
inspire us. In the young Jordanian girl’s life journey,
we can see that she is over coming the adversity which is challenging
her, extending her and encouraging her. “ language is
a big obstacle in my journey, but every time I learn a new word,
I will be inspired because I know that I am developing”.
Journeys are the processes of overcoming adversity and development.
The interview lasted for about half an hour, but nevertheless
it furthered my understanding of the concept of ‘journeys’.
The physical journey to Australia has impacted on the young
Jordanian girl, who has developed physically, emotionally and
intellectually. The power of the journey challenged her thinking
and broadened her understanding of new places and people. Also,
through her journey we can learn about the importance of personal
choices. Samah will continue her life journey with the great
passion—“ I want to be a nurse to help people”.
This is the catalyst of her journey, it will inspire her to
go on a successful life journey.
by Sylvia Liao
Everyone has their own journey, and hers, all began on the 24th
of July 1987, in Sudan, which is a beautiful place for her to
come into this world. Everything was just so wonderful with
happiness and laughter. However, everything suddenly changed
The war came when she was in year 4. At this time, every child
is supposed to be having a happy life with their families, and
studying hard in school with their friends. But unfortunately,
many children were taken away from their families by the invaders
in Sudan during that time. They were forced to work until they
reach 14 or 15 years of age. They all underwent an emotional
journey as they could not live with their families, and they
could do nothing but just accept the things happening to them.
This reminds me that in our main text Rabbit Proof Fence, the
main characters Molly, Daisy and Gracie, were all forced to
leave their family as well. Also, we could see their emotional
journey as Gracie said ‘Molly, I want my mother.’
which had shown the sadness and loneliness of being taken from
was living with her father, mother, uncle and her younger brother
in a big house when she was still young. As she was just considering
herself fortunate to have such a wonderful family, the war came,
and it took her father and uncle away. She had never ever imagined
that one day she would need to live without her father’s
protection. She could never forget the time she needed to face
the sadness of losing her father. This is the same as the short
story Afghanistan. The author had the same situation as the
girl interviewed, ‘yes, [they] should leave ’, in
order to escape from the war.
As she had no choice but to leave her country, her physical
journey began. Her mother sold their big house to gather the
money for their expenses on their way to Egypt. She had to say
goodbye to her home in which she had her most joyful time with
her family, and also say goodbye to her happy childhood. She
began to imagine the life they would have in Egypt-- bad conditions,
no food, no money and working, which became the imaginative
journey of hers. At that moment, all the emotions were coming
to her at the same time, “ I did not know what difficulties
I would need to face, but at least I knew that my life would
not be back to the one that I wanted after we went to Egypt.”
which indicates that this physical journey leads to her personal
growth as she began to live without her father’s protection.
When they arrived in Egypt, they had nowhere to live, and their
money gradually became less and less. Although she was supposed
to continue her year 5 studies in Egypt, she could not even
get food for school. They were desperate unless they had a job
to support their lives. As she was the oldest child in their
family and her mother needed to look after her younger brother,
she had to work. She found a job in a big house as a cleaner
in Cairo. However, she could not see her mother for a whole
month, until the day that she got her wages, and took them back
home. Her journey in Egypt is similar to the text Whose Life
is it Anyway, where the main character Ken Harrison, does not
have the right to choose his path. Ken was in charge of the
medical staff, and she was controlled by the house owner.
It was really hard for her-a 14 year old girl, to persevere
with through the days that she had in Egypt. As she was wondering
whether their life could be improved a little bit at this stage,
her mother got in contact with her uncle in Australia. He said
that he could help them migrate to Australia, and have a better
life here. From that day, she began to expect the day to arrive,
even though she was excited to go to Australia, but when the
day came, she was a little bit afraid. This is similar to the
screenplay Journeys over Land and Sea. People will have fears
when they are heading into the unknown. She did not know what
kind of country it would lead her to, so she began to imagine
how beautiful the place would be--clear blue sky meets sea,
lots of trees and flowers around her new home, again, she underwent
the imaginative journey, but this time, everything got better.
By coincidence, she had her 16th birthday just the day before
she came to Australia. It might suggest that there would be
a new life for her in Australia. Also, she had set her new target
already, she would do her best with her studies, and she would
like to be a doctor after she finishes her university studies.
Now, she is studying in the Intensive English Centre at Beverly
Hills, and she enjoys the time that she has here, even though
language is the biggest problem for her. But she is overcoming
it in just 7 months, and it is her intellectual journey --from
the first day she came here, she knew no English words. Now
she can speak English fluently. She tries to speak as much English
as she can, and she does not mind the people who are laughing
at her, as she knows that nothing would be worse than the days
that she had in Egypt. Once she learns English well, no one
can laugh at her anymore. Therefore, her English becomes better
and better, and she finds that it is much more easy than Arabic.
Everything is wonderful for her and her family now, except that
she has not got friends yet. Not that she has no friends, but
just not ones that she can share her inner feelings with. However,
she won’t give up, she knows that one day she will find
those people again. They will be reunited.
She is glad that she has the chance to come to Australia, it
brings her the freedom and the rights that she is supposed to
have. Here she can do the things that she would like to do like:
singing, dancing, playing volleyball, etc. which she could not
even think about during her time in Egypt, but now she can.
She can also get the chance to fulfill her dream as well--to
be a doctor. And she knows that her life journey will be more
colourful in Australia, it will continue to extend her understanding
of the world and herself, just like that from the two physical
journeys. She has learned more skills such as living by herself.
She is not the one that always needs parents’ protections.
Moreover, she has learned that we need to change ourselves to
adapt to the new environment and not wait for the environment
to fit us, otherwise we could not overcome the difficulties.
Also, at the time that she was learning English, she found that
she has got the potential of learning language, all of those
things that she has learned, since she got the opportunity to
come to Australia, bring happiness for her again.
16th March,2004 we went to the IEC to interview the refugee
students who have lots of stories to tell the world, to convey
the message of livinga hard life when war comes upon our lives.
One of the teenage students of Beverly Hills IEC (Intensive
English Centre) had migrated to Australia from Africa, one year
ago. She was born in Khartoum, which is the capital city of
North Sudan. She grew up there, throughout all her positive
and negative experiences. She saw her country as beautiful and
free, then she also saw her country and its people in a negative
way during the war.
saw people killing their own citizens and other corruptions.
Her father was a politician but she never got to meet him. He
married twice and in 1996 he died. After facing that sorrow
they suddenly had to face another huge problem which made their
life more miserable. Her step mother got all the assets and
properties of her father by force so her mother would get nothing.
Before 1998 her sister died by cow attack in the bush and in
1998, her elder brother died.
In 1999, they moved to Cairo which is the capital city of Egypt,
because of the war, bombing and because there was no food to
feed themselves. They entered Cairo after a one week journey
by train and ship. At that time, they had no one to take care
of them or help them. As she said; “life was becoming
harder”. Then they had to go to UNHCR (the western migration
office for refugees) to ask for help but the staff said, they
will contact them as soon as possible. But time flies so fast
and taking their breath away, still no respond from UNHCR. They
found one of her cousin’s place to live in and were waiting
hopefully with a dream in their eyes.
After one year of waiting they went back to that office and
the staff suggested they migrate to USA but without her brother
which was impossible for their mother to agree with. Also, she
thinks USA is not a good country to live in. Then after having
all these arguments the staff were allowed them to migrate to
Australia with all of her family on 18th March, 2003. After
they migrated to Australia they were so happy and they celebrated
to express their feelings. They had to stay in a refugee camp
which was a place in Liverpool. For one month they had to stay
even though the migration lady told them to stay for only two
weeks but as they didn’t allow them to leave, they had
to stay for a longer period of time, by force.
After leaving that place, they went to her Uncle’s house
in Belmore. Her mother was overwhelmed being Australian but
she wasn’t that much happy. She is reflecting and is missing
her relatives. Also, she doesn’t like Australia because
she thinks the people in here are not very friendly even though
she enjoys the IEC very much and doesn’t want to go to
Therefore, the journeys she went through, are physical with
emotions and inner journeys where she had to face all the obstacles
which improved herself and changed her lifestyle.
by Xin Zhao
The word “journey” for many
people means “travel”, or “a trip”.
However, journey, isn’t only about that. We go on a journey
every day whether we notice it or not, these journeys are what
build up our life’s journey - a journey that continues
until we reach our final destination. The following is about
one person’s journey. It is an interview with Sophie about
a migrant’s journey; it has had a profound impact on the
Similar to Molly and Ken Harrison, the main characters in “Rabbit
Proof Fence” and “Whose Life Is It Anyway”,
Sophie started her new journey because of a dramatic change
in her life. Sophie’s parents decided they were going
to migrate to Australia. For Sophie, a 14-year-old Chinese girl,
that meant she was forced to change direction in the life journey
that she was taking. She felt as if she was standing on a diverged
road, without knowing what would happen on the path she was
about to take.
much time for a deeper thought, Sophie started her physical
journey to Australia, a strange country. Inevitably, this physical
journey created a lot of complex emotions for Sophie. She felt
lonely in the first few weeks. “I didn’t want to
come here. In China, I have so many friends, but here, I have
no-one.” Her mother is the only person Sophie knows in
Australia. Her father is still in China. Her mother has to work
till late. So each day after school, Sophie goes back into an
empty house and for a while she feels the emptiness until her
mother returns home. This reminds me of the scene in “Rabbit
Proof Fence” where Molly and her sisters have their first
night at the Moore River Settlement. Molly feels uncomfortable
and lonely in the Settlement. She desperately wants to go back
home. I believe that is what Sophie also experienced when she
first arrived: a strange country, unfamiliar language, a place
with no friends around. A loneliness filled her.
However, her situation got better as friendships developed in
the I.E.C. Sophie met many people who are in a similar situation
as her. They understand each other and they speak the same language.
With the help of the teachers and friends, Sophie is starting
to get used to the life style in Australia and has her own social
life. She has started to go out with friends, go to shops and
to movies. Sophie is beginning to enjoy her life. “I still
feel lonely sometimes.” But she has passed the most rugged
part in her new journey already, the road will become more flat
and easy as she goes on.
Sophie’s story is pretty similar to the story of other
migrants. Sophie grows up rapidly because of this rare experience.
Sophie has been forced to grow up because of her experiences.
Her future will be completely different because of this journey.
“I don’t regret come to Australia. Although the
life wasn’t easy in the beginning, but I know that is
will become better. I will have a better education, more opportunities
in Australia. My future will not be in China.” This is
what the journey taught Sophie. This life experience has changed
her a lot, and has changed her perspective of the world. Sophie
admits this too. She won’t be the same person anymore.
The way she thinks is totally different from the people who
grow up in China and are the same age as her.
This inner journey is similar to what Ken Harrison has gone
through in “Whose Life Is It Anyway”. His perspective
and how he views himself changes dramatically after a car accident.
His choice is to be respected, to be allowed to make his own
choices about the direction his life will take. For Sophie,
migrating to Australia is only the end of her old journey, and
the start of her brand new journey. She is optimistic and brave
enough to take the challenges life offers.
Sophie also talks about her dream for the future. She wants
to become a doctor, specialising in Chinese medicine and to
travel around the world. Wanting to become a Chinese medicine
practitioner shows the strong connection between Sophie and
her culture. She is from a Chinese background with an Australian
Chinese identity. Just like the half-caste Aboriginal girls
in “Rabbit Proof Fence”, their strong connection
with their Aboriginal culture cannot be erased. The reunion
of Molly and her family proved that to the audience.
Sophie’s story doesn’t end here. She will continue
along her life journey, and head in new direction. She is a
Chinese immigrant in Australia who, step by step, will fulfil
her dream, overcome adversities and continue her life’s
under construction ]