“My study here at Flinders gave me a whole new perspective of how early childhood educators can establish learning habits that will benefit children for a lifetime,” says Zinan Wang, a fourth-year Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) and Bachelor of Arts student.
“Through seven years of study in Adelaide, I found Australia to be such a multicultural country,” she says of her life here. “I want to help children from all different cultural backgrounds – like me – to feel secure and have a sense of belonging in their early years.”
Zinan has been living and studying in Adelaide since high school – so it feels like a home away from home for the Chinese student.
“Throughout all the years I have lived here, I have found Adelaide to be very affordable for living costs and that the education quality has been high.” More importantly, “…the city is safe in the way that I can always feel a sense of security. No matter if I am walking along the streets by myself, or driving in the dark.”
For Zinan, her safety while studying overseas will always be her main priority. This was particularly evident during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“I found it heart-warming to have a community that supports international students, and I know if I need support, I have a place to go.”
Adelaide has held an enviable track record throughout the crisis, with more testing per capita nationally and an early easing of restrictions compared to other cities like Melbourne and Sydney. With face-to-face on-campus teaching returning for Semester 2 July 2020, Flinders offers a level of security in a time of uncertainty for international students studying in Australia.
“Besides that, Adelaide is a peaceful city, with good urban planning. I call it the ‘15-minute city’,” says Zinan of the ease of life here. “I can drive to the beach, the city, the big shopping mall, or my friends’ houses – all in 15 minutes. Life is very convenient here, with quick access to natural sights and a beautiful environment.”
Flinders campus and facilities
The campus environment at Flinders Bedford Park is a constant source of delight for the education student. “I love the natural sights at Flinders! My education building is at the top of the hill,” she says. “Walking by the lake to get to my classes; the green trees, grass, and sea views just brighten up my day and boost my mood.”
Community building is vital for international students studying overseas, and for Zinan, the heart of her Flinders community can be found in one place.
“I especially found OASIS to be heart-warming, as it is a place and community for ESL students to go seek help, or to participate in different activities.”
Situated on the Bedford Park campus, OASIS is a Student Community Wellbeing Centre focussed on supporting the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs of students so they can achieve academic and personal success.
“I participated in lots of special events and I was honoured to be one of the members for a small Chinese tutorial group,” says Zinan. “We taught basic Chinese to some local students – it’s a great place to seek interactions with domestic students.”
For Zinan, OASIS represents the highlight of her Flinders experience.
“Looking back at my university journey, the OASIS Centre means a lot for me; it is a place that helped me to build my sense of belonging in the university community and showed me how the university cares about diversity and international students’ well-being.”
Flinders learning experience
“I have to say; all my tutors and lecturers are really helpful,” she says. “They provide me with active feedback and promote equality in the classroom,” Zinan says she has felt comfortable in the learning environment. “They care about everyone in the class. I can always feel their understanding and support for international students like me – it helps me feel settled and comfortable.”
No.1 SA university for teaching quality, student support, student:teacher ratio, student retention and starting salary The Good Universities Guide 2020 (undergraduate), public SA-founded universities only
Placements and internships
“Throughout my degree, I had four placements, which means I will have had practical early childhood experiences from the first year of university.” Zinan found she was supported by university staff throughout her placements. “All of my university placement topic coordinators and liaisons have always been supportive and speedy in replying and giving feedback.”
“I truly felt they were here to support me as an international student to achieve my best in an unfamiliar environment.”
“After I graduate, I will be recognised by the South Australian Teaching Registration,” says Zinan of her graduate qualifications. “I believe it is a wonderful community with exciting job opportunities.” Zinan is looking forward to working in a range of different settings. “I will be able to work as an early childhood teacher in places like pre-schools, kindergartens, early learning centres, and primary schools.”
Advice to prospective international students?
“Flinders University cares about its international students, and it is a place where you can achieve your goal in Australia with strong support from the university team,” Zinan says.
“As an international student who has been in Australia for a good length of time, I can say my four years’ experience at Flinders University has always been enjoyable. With the excellent school environment and well-equipped school facilities, you can immerse yourself in a well-balanced multicultural academic learning environment along with fantastic natural interactions that not a lot of universities can offer.”