The Autumn session of the universities around Australia is about to begin. At this time of the year, many new students from all over the world are arriving. Some students were already here for a few weeks, taking English classes before they enrolled into their respective faculties.
Once upon a time
I can still remember vividly when both of us first arrived here in mid 2005. It was winter. Cold. The pouring rain all week had worsen my condition, asik meleleh aje idung. We were blessed with a friend who had helped us a lot to settle down, Kauthar. We stayed at her place for nearly two weeks before we moved into our cute little one bedroom unit right across the road in Catherine St, Gwynnville.
Among the memories, I always remember having breakfast at Kak Sam's granny's flat the very first day we arrived - apple teacake from Woollies and hot tea - before we headed to the uni on foot and did the necessary things like opening a bank account and getting a new mobile phone SIM card. Then slowly we learned where to get halal food, house hunting tips and many more from the seniors. Not to mention accepting the 'pass down' legacy like cutlery, small furniture, heater and pinggan-mangkuk periuk belanga. There were lots of things we discovered by ourselves as well. Staying in another country you must be independence, can't be manja2 asking for help all the time.
At that time, there were just the two of us. Aiman was still in our dreams and prayers. We would walk, I think for more than 2km, just to get to the city for groceries as we haven't bought a car yet. Hop on and off the bus was normal. Going to Sydney sounds too far, nak pegi tu bercinta. Kak Sam as ketua kampung, Hasri & Family, Kauthar, Firdaus & Hazman the bachelors; we lived in the same kampung. Sam & family lived in the city, others were Kak Latifah and Lina. These were the only Malaysian who were close to us at that time, berapa kerat aje compared to nowadays. Thanks to all these people, we have settled down successfully with no major problem at all. Those were the days we will never forget.
The tradition goes on
The spirit of helping the newbies settling down continues from one generation of students to another. During the opening season, there will be lots of emails from prospective students asking lots and lots of questions. Popular question is about accommodation, weather condition, basic things to bring and allowed food from Malaysia. Some people asked into details, I even had a question like "Katanya sejuk, saya dah beli glove. Kena bawak tak ha?". Hmm, hang dah beli tu bawak je laa...
I fully understood that most people are excited, maybe scared too, especially for those experiencing the first time going overseas alone. Don't worry, help is always around. Just don't expect people will do everything for you here. One of the main problem is to find a decent accommodation, and you have to do it yourself. What I did if I received an email asking us to look for an accommodation, I will refer them to the 'archived' emails explaining the same thing again and again each session. Easy. And most of them have no problem in getting one.
Today I managed to meet a new student who just arrived a couple of days ago and assist her moving her belongings from her aunty's house in Sydney to Wollongong. She was here before for a session sometime last year, just changing the university. Nevertheless, she never been to Wollongong during that time. Since I am staying in Sydney, and commuting between Sydney and Wollongong is a norm for me now, dah mangli, I agreed to help her out. Good on her that she's already secured a place in Kieraview Accommodation earlier. All the best and enjoy your time in UoW, a great place to study!