Today I had the last class with my fulltime PGDE Primary group before they took off for a six-week immersion programme in Edinburgh or Brisbane in a couple of days. So, I started the session by nagging at them for 10 minutes like a worrying dad:
1. Watch your belongings all the time.
2. Don’t pick fights.
3. Don’t do drugs. An occasional beer is all right.
4. Don’t go on joy rides.
5. Don’t tune out because people speak English with a Scottish or Australian accent. All varieties of English, accents, and dialects are worthy of respect.
6. Don’t expect your host family to do your laundry. Learn to operate a washing machine if you have never used one. Help to clear the table after a meal.
7. In casual conversations, listen for whether native speakers say ‘There is’ or ‘There are’ when followed by a plural noun. In other words, take the opportunity to sharpen your language awareness. Otherwise, nothing will happen to your English after 6 weeks.
8. In class, speak out, and speak up. We don’t want lecturers at Edinburgh University and Queensland University to think that all students from Hong Kong are passive learners.
9. Use the (long) weekends to do some sightseeing. Go to London …; go to the Gold Coast …
10. The host families’ responsibilities are not to serve or entertain you. Take the initiative to learn their culture.
11. There is little time to prepare for the LPAT exam after you return. Treat the immersion programme as preparation for LPAT.
12. Stick together, but also get along with other programme members.
13. Your parents WILL worry, no matter what they say. Text them at least once a week.
14. There is only a 3% chance that you will get to study overseas again as a fulltime student later in life. This could well be your last opportunity.
15. I envy you.