What is this blog all about?

The main purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the things I do, in my everyday life, in order to improve my English. Since I am a very lazy person, I mostly read, and watch movies, and do things which make it possible for me to improve my vocabulary, my grammar and my accent without getting bored... So this blog is going to be about the books I read, the movies I watch, and some other things which I find relevant (or not)...

I hope you'll like it! Don't hesitate to leave comments if you have any suggestions concerning what I should write about!!

mardi 8 mai 2007

For those who've come across the seas we've boundless plains to share...

Hello Reader!
I have good news! One more expat interview!! Having a big family really is a blessing... Here is the interview of Eva Schonstein, one of my relatives who lives in Sydney, Australia. I spent three and a half month with her and her family in Sydney, which were absolutely great and helped me a lot with my English, of course. Here are her answers to my little questionnaire! Thanks Eva, for taking time to answer!! It's really nice of you!
1. How long have you been living in Australia

I have been in Australia since 1978

2. Why did you decide to move there?

For two reasons essentially: I met my (then future) husband, and most importantly I liked the openness of Australia, its proximity to the sea, and the friendly, open people (by contrast with Alsace people) (Hey reader?? It's me! Do you copy?? We're lovely in Alsace!! I promise!! Come and see for yourself!! ;) )

3. Did you run into any difficulties when you first arrived (concerning integration, paperwork, and such)

Well, yes of course, no emigration is totally straightforward. Firstly I had language difficulties as I started my university studies few days after arrival, and whilst my English was good, attending 5 hrs of lectures/tutes in English every day gave me headaches. I also had difficulties with assignments such as essays etc. Paperwork was easy, compared to France, Australia had at that time a very simple bureaucracy, it has greatly changed since, I am told. Integration was not so easy, either.
In Sydney, what school you go to seems to have been (and still is) very important, so I was often asked the question, and when I said I did not go to school in Australia, fellow students had difficulties in "classifying" me. The other issue was the marked difference between sexes in Sydney, which was far less marked in France; that is, there were norms in Sydney of what "girls" could drink, do, or even wear. For example, girls did not drink beer, this was for boys! I liked windsurfing and again, I was one of the only girls doing this. This has changed since then, and now Sydney has become a much more cosmopolitan city, and this difference between sexes is almost gone.

4. Do you think your experience would have been different if you had had a different nationality of origin?

Yes I do. I know this as I emigrated twice in my life: once as a Romanian into France, and the other as a French into Australia. The latter was easy, as it was seen as cool and sexy to be French! The first was far less pleasant as French people firstly did not know which part of the world Romania was in (Africa was often the belief, due to my somewhat dark skin color) and because of this, I was considered to be some kind of strange animal, coming from a very far away, unknown place. I coped with this by learning french very quickly, and trying to blend in as much as I could, and only then people in France approached me as a "normal" person.

5. What are the 2 aspects of the Australian culture that you like best?

Openness and multiculturalism. Australia is I think one of the countries most acceptant of other cultures. Australians are friendly people, helpful on the street, smiling most of the time.
- The two you like least?
Friendliness has a superficial side to it: it is difficult to make close friends in Australia when compared to France, for example. It is more the English way. The other aspect of Australians I like less is their apolitical attitude. Most Australians feel so far removed from the World's problems that they behave as if it is none of their business. There is also a confusion of identity in Australia as historically and culturally we are Europeans, but geographically and economically we are part of Asia, and a lot of people cannot somehow reconcile these two facts. It is a young nation with little real history of its own and a great guilt complex towards aboriginals, so there is much confusion in our identity.
6. Do you intend to stay there for ever?
The world is becoming smaller and smaller and for ever is a big word! I call myself a citizen of the world, and I intend to remain one. I will always have close ties to Australia I think, but I can easily envisage living somewhere else for some time. My old age will be spent mostly in Australia, I think.

There you go reader!! That's one more expat interview!! I need to go now, and eat my lunch before I come to class tonight!! I have a funny problem with my jaws... They are stuck open and I can't chew... It's very annoying... Maybe it's going to help my English pronunciation though, or magically give me an Austrian accent when I speak German... I wish...

Aucun commentaire: