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Lunchtime Stories was a live storytelling event at Curtin University. It focused on sharing international students’ stories to inspire understanding and empathy between Curtin peers; and to energise the Curtin community–leaving a positive impact on storytellers and listeners and to refresh their day and minds.

Amy talks about how her life in Thailand has been stable for many years until she moved to Australia to pursue a degree at Curtin University. Amy shares funny anecdotes about the strange cultural differences she has encountered through her travels as well as while living in Australia. Throughout all this, Amy learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Amy shared this story on 21 May 2019.

[Transcript]

Hi, my name is Amy, I’m studying at the Curtin University and today I will talk about my story. My story is like, very normal, my life is very, very stable because the whole of my life, I always stay at the same pace for a long time. I have studied nine years in the same school, at kindergarten to primary school, and then I moved to another school it only had to grade six, so I moved to another school for sixth year to grad twelve. After I graduated I moved to university, and I studied in the same university seven years. Five years for Bachelor’s degree and two years for my previous Master’s degree. But my life had changed last year, my last year of my Master’s degree because actually I had never gone abroad before, I always stayed in Thailand, I never like, go to another country, even like my neighbouring country. Yep. And then, last year I had to go to three countries.

The first one is Japan; I went there because I have to present my study and had a little trip before I come back to study again. In Japan, it’s wonderful country because everything is beautiful, even the culture, the building, the nature is very, very fantastic, everything is beautiful. And actually, I think Bangkok and Japan is quite similar because, yes Japan is cleaner when we compare to Bangkok but, the travelling and everything is quite the same. Even in the rush hour, lots of people on the train and we have to compared to a lot of people, it’s not only Bangkok but Japan as well, so I think I’m quite familiar with that and, I think I just I got a few weeks to be in Japan, and then I come to study, to my normal life again.

And then after I finished my Masters’ degree, I think I had to rewire myself because I studied so hard, so I think like, “I should have another trip, I want to go abroad again.” So I chose Taiwan. Yeah, it’s cheaper than Japan, and everything is quite the same as Japan, but cheaper. When I went there, it’s not like that much that Japan have, but they have the Chinese culture, it’s not only Japan,  it’s like a mix of the Chinese and Japan. Everything is still like, fine for me, I can stay here, I can survive here for the whole of my trip. And I still like the nature at Taiwan as well, so its like the first trip that I really liked, then I’m back to Thailand again. I come back to my life, everything is still fine, everything is normal but it’s ok I’m happy with that. But a big change that came to my life, because it’s the first country that I went to, is here, I came to Perth because I got a scholarship so I have to come. I thought it would be fine because I have been to a country already, it’s not too hard, I can survive and it will be okay here. But, before I came here, I read a lot of information on the internet, I searched everything that maybe help me to survive here, but everything on the internet is kind of like, it’s just for a trip, for one week or ten days, it was not for the life that people stay here, something like that, but I didn’t know that. But all the tips kept reminding me, “You have to worry about immigration, it’s very, very, very, strict.” I think, “Oh my god! Can I pass something like that?” and then when the plane landed, I had to pass in the first step, I think that’s very hard for me, when I arrived to the immigration part, they just say, “Yes, you can pass.” There was nothing, no questions? They said, “Do you have any food?” and I said, “No.” It was like, “that’s good, yeah pass.” I think like, “What?!” People were like, “You have to be careful. You cannot pass.” But it was just one question, and then I pass, and I think, “Maybe, am I lucky in this country?” Because the first step I thought would be hard for me is not that hard. So, it maybe it’s fine, and then I came here and I chose to stay with the local people so I stay with my host, she is very nice, she has been a host for around ten years, so she knows that international students are not that familiar with this country so, she can every people. And, my story is still looking good, there is no problems.

Actually, it had problems but it’s not a big problem, and other people will think it’s not a problem because it’s not a big problem but it made me have trouble sometimes because I don’t know how to live here. For example, here is quite different from my country, for example like, how you go to the toilet. It’s quite simple, if you’ve done it your whole life, just open the door and go to the toilet. But for me, it’s like when I came here and I went to the toilet, I don’t know that here have two doors, because in my country, in Japan also, we have one door, but here we have two doors to open. But I don’t know, it’s just open the first one, and I stand in front of the second door, and I don’t know how to do that. Because, I think if I open, I will meet another people in the toilet, and I think, “it’s not good.” So I just stand there, and I don’t know how to do it. And some lady asked me, “What are you doing? What’s wrong with you?” and I see “Oh I have to open this door first and then I will meet the toilet.” I think like, “I’m stupid to people!” At that time, I think like, “Oh My Gosh, something like that [I can’t do].” But now, I already that if I meet another door, I just open it. If there has some body inside, the door will lock. There was the first story I can remember, but it’s okay now because I know if you are not allowed some place somewhere the door will be locked. And then yeah, I can pass. And I know, it’s quite simple, it’s quite normal again for me now.

And another thing is about the rubbish bin, yeah in my city, we would have like, the signal on the bin that says general waste or recycling bin, something like that, but in the house, it has two bins, the yellow one and the green one, and there’s no signal. And I don’t know what is that. And I don’t know what will happen, I don’t know that. And I think, “How can I deal with this problem?” I don’t it’s not difficult, it’s not that hard, I just have to ask. And I just go to ask my host, and she just explain to me, the green one is for general waste and the yellow is for recycling, and then I know.

At that time, if I don’t know, I just ask. Everything will be fine, no one will think that you are stupid because you ask a little question, because you are new here, this is your new place, it’s fine that you don’t know what you have to do or something like that. So you just ask and you will get that normal life back again. This is my story here.

Copyright © 2019 Amy Piaprad

These stories have been licensed to the Centre for Stories by the Storyteller. For reproduction and distribution of these stories, please contact the Centre for Stories.


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