Settling to a new country is not easy. What does it take to become part of a new culture? First of all, it takes time. We are talking about 5-7 years. Second of all, it takes a lot of support from the local community.

Please, join us in the interview with Park who is talking about his journey of becoming a permanent resident of Australia. Not only did he overcome numerous obstacles in a new country, he became a teacher in a high school in Sydney. His persistence, his hard work, and openness to feedback from others made it possible for him to finish a postgraduate degree and make his way to a challenging career as a high school teacher.

This video is a message for all international students out there who are living in Australia or would like to come to study in Australia: work hard, talk to local people, seek support and be patient. Everything else will come your way!

Australia is a land of opportunity with a lot of generous people. Park and I are proud to be part of this community and we will continue serving it in all possible ways.

Swann Park, an ethnic Korean, was born and raised in China. He has been living in Sydney, Australia since 2010. He is an artist and an art teacher currently working at Girraween High School.

He will be talking about his personal journey of studying in Australia and his transition from being an international student to becoming an art teacher in Sydney. In this interview, Park will give a lot of ideas of what kind of mindset to have to go through a transitional time in Australia.

He is a real role model for any international student studying in Australia or elsewhere. He is a living proof that anything is possible if you are ready to work hard and have an open heart.

You can reach out to Park via his Instagram, Facebook or Youtube channel 

If you would like to hear an answer to a specific question, please, jump straight to the question that interests you.

Q1: What do you think about the fact that university websites in English-speaking countries promote students’ life as a glamorous positive experience that will culminate in an amazingly successful career? And how does this one-sided representation compare with your own experience as an international student back in a day?

Q2: Being an art student in Australia is not like being a student studying business, primarily because art schools in Australia are attended by roughly 80% Australians (it’s not the official statistics). As international art students surrounded by Australians, we had no choice but to compare ourselves to their lifestyle and to their life journey. What kind of ideas did this environment provide you in terms of building your own life in Australia, surviving in the country and starting a career?

Q3: There is definitely pressure from the community back home (China, Korea, Russia) to conform to strict milestones in life: by 24 – finish university, by 30 – have an established career. But international students have to push these deadlines back a few years, because adapting to a new culture takes about 5 to 7 years. How did you philosophise about these contradictions: on the one hand, there is an image projected by your native community, and, on the other hand, there is a reality of being an international student, which meant being patient and not having the certainty of achieving life milestones by a certain stereotypical age?

Q4: Going through a university, being immersed into a 100% English speaking environment is not easy. Although being trilingual opens up a lot of doors, gives access to a very special creative flow, it can also generate perceived ubiquitous confusion, doubts and even loss of self-esteem. Tell us, how did you progress through university years, and how important peer support was? Did you have a motto that kept you going in difficult times?

Q5: When you received the teaching degree, were you able to teach straight away? What were some obstacles that you encountered in starting a teaching career in Sydney? When you did start to work as a casual teacher in all sorts of schools around Sydney, did you realise that it would lead to something substantial, or you felt that it was only a temporary stage in your life?

Q6: Have you ever experienced a feeling of being settled in Australia, and if yes, then what did it feel like? And when did it happen?

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