7. Happy parent overjoyed at the academic and character development of his daughter studying abroad

Australia is always described as “Down Under”, which is obviously not a compliment especially in the mind of those English speaking Anglo-Saxons. When this place was recommended as a destination for my children's secondary education, I put a serious doubt on selecting Australia for their senior school development.

After having visiting Adelaide several times during the past two and half years to see my daughter both during her term breaks and school terms, I have found it a lovely place not only for living but also educating teenagers. Adelaide has been once described by one of my Australian colleagues that it is the most civilized city in Australia or perhaps in the world. However, for my first-hand observations and encounters with the local Australians, I have obtained anecdotal evidence that it is an ideal place for study, including foreign students.

Unlike other big cities in Australia, Adelaide is a relatively quiet and peaceful city without much thrilling and flamboyant city lifestyles. When my daughter arrived two and half years ago, her first impression of the city is that it is a bit quiet and boring. However, she found the people especially her teachers and classmates are unbelievably friendly and willing to help foreign students. She is studying at a girls boarding school, which is famous for good disciplines and academic results in public examinations. When she joined that school, her English could not be described as fluent, but her teachers had the patience and put in strenuous effort to encourage her to practice. She has now been well-groomed to use English as a medium in public examinations; and she has acquired sufficient confidence in handling difficult subjects, such as science and mathematics. As a boarder, she has learnt how to look after herself independently in performing basic household work.

If other parents ask me about sending their children to study in Adelaide, I can say the atmosphere is appropriate for teenagers concentrating on their studies without much temptation and there are peripheral facilities ready for them. It is somewhat like an evocative metaphor that educating children in Australia is more a marathon than a sprint. There are people along roadside to encourage marathon runners and give them water bottles instead of stopwatch judges at the finish line for time recording during a sprint event. I would prefer continuous encouragement and support from teachers and educators to a result-oriented approach. Remember that education is a long and strenuous process, which requires support, inputs and feedback.

Mr Chan
May 2005
(Mr Chan's daughter achieved an outstanding result of 44/45 from her International Baccalaureate Diploma in 2005)