I’m smiling. I’ve just opened my lecture note and read the headline of one of the readings for this week. “Why is English so dominant and which English?”. I’m smiling because some pieces of memory have just come to my mind.
I was 4 when I started studying english at kindergarten. Our teacher taught us how to count up to ten and the alphabet, inventing some nursery rhymes to make the learning easier.
How to forget “Ten little indians” nursery rhyme! We used to sing it all together and then hit off indian calls!
By the way, what Peter Gell and Gillian Vogl claim in their essay is absolutely true: “the internationalization of the university had included the increased use of and reliance of english as the lingua franca of higher education”. It’s no coincidence that I was asked to take a TOEFL or IELTS certification to apply for my exchange program here!
I’ve been studying english since I was 4 and I’m quite fluent with it. Ok, I’m smiling again. I’ve just read what a student explained during the focus group described in the above-quoted reading:
When I came to Australia, I’m thinking what is going on and they put every word together and it’s very different , it’s not like English but it’s English.
That’s absolutely true (I’m sorry for the australian readers) but it is so difficult understanding the Australian English! Nonetheless, a “pardon” or “sorry can you repeat?” are always welcomed, Australians are very nice and kind (at least according to my experience at the moment). I have no difficulties to break the ice with local students, even if I perceived that they use to stay together with their friends and not with international students.
I live in International House, that is one of the university accomodation, together with around 200 students from every part of the globe. That’s a really great opportunity for me to feel an international student but also to get on with “aussies”.
We are international, we share our life experiences, our traditions, our cultures and what is really relevant is descovering that we have a lot of things in common! We are similar in our differencies and that’s not only the consequence of globalization or of the much-discussed americanization. We can be different color skinned but share the same faith or the same favourite foods. We can speak completely different languages but share the same law and idea of democracy, as instance.
I like being an international student and I’m very glad of being italian. “Are you from Italy? I love pizza!” is what I’m used to listen when I meet someone and that’s so amazing for me!
In Wollongong I saw many Italian restaurants and bars, I read italian words like “espresso”, “cappuccino”, “macchiato” on many bars’ menu. We are, indeed, the biggest non-english community in Australia and we have a lot of agreements and deals with the australian government. For example, every year the australian government offers fourteen scolarships for italian students who would like to study in Australia but cannot afford it.
Who are my “best international friends”? Mostly koreans and indians. I was very upset when I heard of tortures committed to indian students during last years in Australia! I had never heard about them and I was badly shoked. I was, because I’ve always imaged this nation as a friendly and multiethnical country, a peaceful land where finding a job, making a new life and feel free. What happened to indian students makes me think to what happens everyday in my country: many immigrants from North Africa and Middle-East are tortured, excluded and abandoned. These are very crucial problems connected with immigration and I don’t really know when we will be able to solve them. Maybe we need to reach a “heart’s revolution” as the german philosopher, Hegel, claimed in his essays. Maybe.
Australia has always been my dream that now I’m living. I’m an international student, but I’m starting feeling home. I don’t matter of minorities of australians who are against our immigration. They are minorities, indeed.
Kell P., Vogl G. 2007, ‘Higher Education in the Asia Pacific ‘, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge