English Immersion Programme – The University of Queensland

Embark on A Hero’s Journey

11 June – 1 July, 2016
Tour Coordinator: Dr. Emma ZHANG

First described by American mythologist Joseph Campbell, “Hero’s Journey” is a pattern common in many myth, legends and folk tales around the world. The hero leaves the familiarity and comfort of home and embarks on a journey to a world of the unknown. The hero meets new companions and mentors, faces challenges and returns to his home community with bounties and new found wisdom. The fact that hero’s journey is featured in so many stories across time and cultures testifies to the transformative power of travel. A journey to a foreign land can function as a “rite of passage” and transform an innocent youth into a wise mature adult.

In the summer of 2016, 19 youths of CIE embarked on their hero’s journey and ventured to the exotic land of Brisbane, Australia. They spent three weeks in an English Immersion Program offered by The University of Queensland (UQ). There, they met witty and wise UQ mentors, warm and wonderful local companions. They saw a unique world filled with outlandish creatures: kangaroos and wallabies, koalas and wombats, emus and platypuses. They witnessed a whole new way of life: stores shutting down by 5:00pm, families go to bed by 9:00pm. They faced many challenges: needing to speak in a foreign tongue, having to navigate their way through an alien city, learning to live under the same roof with a house full of strangers. When these challenges are triumphantly overcome, they discovered with delight a whole new self, who is confident, courageous, considerate, courteous, and culturally literate.

They returned with bounties of Australia and were ready to benefit our home community with their newly gained wisdom. They will introduce warm Australian greetings: smiles and hugs to our community; they will share with you the importance of organic living; they will cultivate our rooftop garden. These wide-eyed youths have been transformed by their journey into insightful adults, treasured members of our community.

When will you embark on your own hero’s journey?

"A Home Away from Home in Australia"

LIANG Nan, Ann (Professional Accountancy, Year 1)

For me, Brisbane is a city filled with surprises and the most surprising present was the University of Queensland. There are committed teaching staff, strong academic atmosphere, good management of residential facilities, and most importantly, the university encouraged freedom of speech among students. Everyone was allowed to voice their own opinion on campus. The luckiest thing was that there were three amazing teachers assigned to our classes.

During our trip, we attended a rich and interesting programme which included academic courses such as IELTS strategies course and oral English classes with opportunities to converse with local students. We also joined many other meaningful outdoor activities, such as visiting to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Queensland State Library, Queensland Museum, Mount Coot-tha Lookout, Second Nature Organic Farm, etc.

Last but not least, I was really lucky to meet an excellent home stay family. We had to go to school during the day, and the parents also had to work. We could only chat with each other during dinner. From local news to state affairs, everything was interesting in our conversations. Not only did it improve my speaking and listening skills, it also gave me warmth like a real family. We also did gardening, planting and cooking together. In order to express my gratitude, I made some rice dumplings which symbolised family reunion with my roommate.

In short, I was very grateful to have this good opportunity to join this programme. I have learnt a lot of things, including but not limited to English language, but also problem-solving skills as well as ways to get along with others. All these will be beneficial to me for my whole life.


"A Trip Empowered Me With Confidence"

WONG Man Wai, Manuela (Chinese for Professional Purposes, Year 1)

I felt really glad for joining this study tour. Prior to this tour, I was not confident enough to speak in English because of my poor pronunciation. I appreciate the classes and the city tour that The University of Queensland arranged for us because these activities provided us a chance to interact with students from all over the world. I discovered that using English to communicate with others was not as difficult as I had thought. The experience gave me more confidence to express myself in English. The IELTS preparation lesson further brushed up my written English as well. Upon the completion of this tour, I felt so happy that both my communication and listening skills had been greatly improved.

Apart from attending classes in campus, we visited many places in Brisbane, for example, the “Second Nature Organic Farm”. We picked various herbs and other ingredients from the farm to make our own pizza. Undoubtedly that homemade pizza was the best pizza which I have ever had in my life. Also, we learnt how the local farmer utilized wind power to facilitate farming, which was rare in Hong Kong. The opportunity to pick strawberries in a strawberry farm and meet koalas and kangaroos in the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary was unforgettable. This was my first time to get in touch with these Australian icons. All these outdoor activities enabled me to appreciate nature and enhance my awareness in environmental protection.

In Australia, people were very friendly and helpful even to strangers. I was very impressed by their attitude and I am more willing to open my mind and make friends with different people now. All in all, I have gained a lot from this study tour. I have become more independent, outgoing and confident.