Study Melbourne partnered with Melbourne Writers Festival 2017 to host a storytelling competition for international students. ‘My Melbourne Life’ by Ayako Nagahara from Japan was shortlisted in the English Language Training category.

My Melbourne Story

I believe my Melbourne story is unique because there were some incidents which I should say were miracles. As I would like to bear it in my mind, I’m telling my story.

I arrived in Melbourne in May one year ago. In the second month I came here, I caught a cold. I remember it was very bad because I couldn’t get up from bed for several days. At the same time, one of my fingers was festered and swelled up large. Consequently, I had a small surgery. What is more, my parent’s IT system broke, and I wasn’t able to get touch with my family in Japan. For these reasons, I felt lonely for about a year and a half.

However, my life changed in the best way suddenly. One day, when I went out with my room mates, suddenly, it hailed. We sheltered under the trees. Then a man asked us, “Would you like to have a tea until it stops hailing, in my house?” His name is Mr. Fred, he was an owner of the trees. His wife, Ms. Jan also welcomed us into their house. When we visited them to say thank you, they invited us for dinner again. Since we were invited to their house, we have had dinner together in their house once every fortnight.

In every meeting, Fred and Jan tell us about Australian foods and also the culture. The most impressive thing I have learnt from them is about their heart. They can recognise a variety of nationalities and other cultures flexibly, due to living together with diverse people. Before I came to Australia, I had never thought about background because there are a few ideas of background in my country. (If we talk about a sort of background, it means just which prefecture our parents come from.)

Thanks to my Australian parents, I remembered and found some warm hearts in Melbourne. One of them is that Melbourne opens a gate for international students. For instance, there is the Study Melbourne Student Centre and many free conversation clubs. Moreover, we are given the right to borrow books in libraries. The other is existence of people who think not only about themselves but also about others a lot. One of which is my teacher who told us that Australia day is simultaneously with the national foundation day – the invasion day. Another is my ex house mate who cried when she watched a documentary which showed a terrible refugee problem, and lastly my landlord who cares for me like his daughter. These remind me that there are a number of warm hearts everywhere in Melbourne.

Recently, I have had lovely days because I have been reminded of Melbourne’s goodness. My English is also improving. Therefore I can feel Melbournians’ friendly character directly when I talk to them in places such as cafes. And now I am thinking that I would like to be a person who has a warm heart and broaden my horizon like some Melbournians who I met.