Jonny from Jersey, Channel Islands, British Isles joined ACU to complete his Post graduate Diploma in Education at ACU Brisbane Campus in 2011. Today Jonny is a proud graduate from the ACU and has already started a bright career in the teaching field. During his studies he got the opportunity to do placements at an Aboriginal School in North Queensland where he is now employed.
Despite his busy teaching schedule, he has agreed to share some of his experiences with us.
1. How different is the Australian Culture from your country and tell us what do you like about the Australian Culture?
Well, it´s a lot bigger for a start. I´m from a nine by five mile island in the English Channel. It´s a drop in the ocean. Australia is bigger than Europe. There´s so much to explore.
Plus, where I´m from, it´s freezing for most of the year. In the UK they say we have nice weather in Jersey, as it´s the most southerly part of the Btitish Isles. But with luck, we get three nice months a year, June, July and August. The UK flooded in June this year, and it rained non-stop in Jersey. It´s depressing to think about.
I love the weather in Australia. And now I´m living in tropical north Queensland, it never really gets cold. The only bad thing is, there are no waves. The Great Barrier Reef shelters the coast from the Whitsunday Islands up to the Torres Strait. I started surfing when I was down in Brisvegas, but I can´t do that up here.
I could go on and on about this question. In short, there are similarities in culture, and differences. We share a language. But Jersey has about four castles and a lot of history. Modern Australia has existed for just over 200 years, so it doesn´t have that the same cultural richness and historical depth.
There is of course, the greatly under valued Indigenous cultures, which have existed for more than 40,000 years and are the oldest living cultures in existence, but that´s another story.
2. Tell us in a few words how you would describe ACU to your friends, family, colleagues?
ACU Brisbane is a great little uni. I developed good relationships with all my lecturers. Smaller class sizes means they have more time for you, and are always understanding if you need a bit of extra time or support.
There´s also great support for international students. The student advisor in Brisbane, Maria, helped me a lot and still helps to this day, if I’ve got any questions. All the students are pretty friendly as well. Especially the international students. I met people from all over. It was a great experience.
I can’t let this go without mentioning Bernadette O’Mally in the education office. She is a diamond. She endeavoured to find an Indigenous school for me to complete my teaching practice at outside of Brisbane. I ended up getting a job there, so she is partly responsible for that. Cheers Bernie. I love you.
And Elwyn Hennaway in Weemala, the Indigenous support unit. He is an inspirational guy who taught me a lot about Indigenous culutures, ceremony, corroberie and dance. He really is an asset to ACU. Anyone starting the uni, go and find him and have a cup of tea. Tell him I sent you. He’ll be delighted to open your eyes to the many wonderful Indigenous cultures around Australia.
3. How was your experience at the Aboriginal School in North Queensland?
Incredible. For a lad from Jersey in the Channel Islands to be working with Aboriginals from all over Australia and the Torres Strait. It was a dream. And as I am now working at the school, I´m living the dream. I treasure every day and even look forward to going back to work on Monday mornings (well, most of them, depending how endulgent my weekend has been). Not many people can say that.
4. Now that you have successfully completed your studies at the ACU, what are your future plans?
As I said, I am now teaching at the school. Most of my students are from north east Arnhem Land and speak Yolngu Matha. They have been teaching me. So although I´m called a teacher, I am actually learning so much from the wonderful young men and women I work with. Their culture, art, song and dance, evokes a spiritual connection. A connection modern Western societies lost long ago. Everything is connected to the land. They have different names, dances, totems (animal symbols) which date back to dream time, or the beginning of time. I count my blessings every day that I walk through the door.
5. What would you advise someone coming to study at ACU?
The Brisbane campus is picturesque, but it´s a bit out of the way. If you enjoy tranquility, it´s for you. If you love a bit of ´how´s your father?´, a bit of life and the hustle and bustle of a city, I´d say try to live closer to town. I´ve heard the Sydney and Melbourne campuses are more central. But I loved being in Brisbane. You´re close to the Gold Coast and the utopian Byron Bay. Whichever ACU campus you decide, you´ll be well looked after. That I can guarantee.
Thank you Jonny! 😀
Are you planning to study teaching in Australia?
Let us know in your comments! 😉