Home away from home for international students

18 January 2021
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For international students like Phuong Linh Nguyen, COVID-19 has meant visiting family back home in Vietnam for the holidays is out of the question.

Phuong Linh has been boarding at Beaconhills and is about to start Year 12, so couldn’t afford to risk not being able to return to Australia to finish her studies.

Fortunately she has found a warm and welcoming home in the Beaconhills boarding house and loves school, particularly with the chance to choose to study any subject she is passionate about, as well as the much smaller class sizes.

In her home city Hai Phong (the Red Phoenix flower city) – famous for its delicious ‘banh da cua’ soup – a typical day involves getting up at 6am and finishing school at 5pm. School life here is very different.

“What I like best here is probably the study .There are many new subjects here that I have never heard of in Vietnam, like Food Studies and Systems Engineering,” she said. She also loves the sporting facilities and after-school sport.

Phuong Linh wants to study medicine, nursing or IT at the University of Melbourne. For now, she is staying with her aunt in Sunshine until school starts: “in times of unpredictable epidemics, I think it is best to stay where I am!”

Head of Boarding, Kelly Cunningham said some of the College’s international students had not seen their family since the start of 2020. She said the boarding house aimed to create a home-away from-home for students, so they felt they had a ‘family’ to talk to and who cared for them.

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