Mastering English

International Student Saki Namiki arrived in Melbourne knowing very little English. After three years at Elwood College, Saki has been accepted into a prestigious English-language university at home in Japan. Pictured here with her parents and her host family, Saki tells her inspiring story.

I couldn’t understand English at all when I came here so I felt a sense of anxiety and loneliness for the life which is waiting for me. However, I also felt kind of excitement at same time. Everything is different from Japan and I was sure that something will be changed dramatically. I desired to change my life and myself in Australia.

I reckon I was a bad student back in junior high school. I didn’t study. The score for my last English exam was around 30 out of 100. If you ask my friends from junior high school, they will be unanimous in saying that I always got low score in the class. Teachers warned me to study at least one English subject. My mother worried that my future will be very bad. We need to be able to speak English to get a job even in Japan so she suggested I go to English-speaking country for me to get a job. It sounded fun and then I took the airplane. That is the reason why I came here.

For the first year, I studied harder than I’ve ever done. I really needed to improve my poor English skills to live. I tried to finish every homework and learn as much as I could in classes. My efforts were actually rewarded. After three months I could read English books faster, and after three more months, I could understand English better. I felt that my English was improving. The problem was that I still couldn’t write and speak English well. I was too shy to speak English.

The second year was the hardest time for me because I was doing Literature class. I chose Elwood College before I came to Australia because there is a literature class, so I really longed for it. Everyone told me that Literature class is not for international students and now I agree with them! Literature class was really tough for internationals, maybe even for local students! But it was fun, learning everything about novels. I recommend Literature class if you are interested. I learnt how to write an essay from Literature class. People usually learn much more things when they are forced to. For instance, living in an English-speaking country without family or friends who speak the same language, makes you learn and speak English. Having a literature class forced me to learn English writing skills. I had a great time in my Literature class as well as History class. In History class, you need to read lots of books too, so it is good for improving English skills.

My third year at Elwood College was the fastest year. I remember when I became a Year 12 student like yesterday. After that, everything was going so fast so I honestly don’t remember a thing! However, I’m really sure that every moment was fantastic and hilarious. I finished my official schooling in October 2015.

In September 2015, I got the great news that I succeeded in my entrance exam for the leading English education university in Japan, Tokyo Sophia University. If I didn’t come here, I couldn’t do that. I thank the teachers at Elwood College and my lovely host family. They did everything for me and it is the result of what they’ve done for me, I believe. I couldn’t achieve such a great unbelievable result by my own self. The time I spent at Elwood College was wonderful. I can’t describe how special it is but to say it is a really special moment to me. It has vivid colour and holds me up. I can’t believe the day I leave Australia is coming soon. I miss everything I have now. But it is not the end. It is the beginning of a new world. I’m really happy I spent three years at Elwood College. All three years were amazing!