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Erasmus+ Journal (Issue 3) 2014/15

Eline Koiter, Ascham school, Australia, mobility for internship, KPZ 



Ascham School

188 New South Head Rd,

Edgecliff NSW 2027,


Phonenumber: +61 2 8356 7000

Website: http://www.ascham.nsw.edu.au/

E-mail: jbutcher@ascham.nsw.edu.au (Mrs. Judith Butcher, head of preparatory and junior school)

About the school
The Ascham School is a non-selective and friendly private school for girls. They have a strong academic program, teach through the Dalton Plan and offer a lot of co-curricular activities (such as music and sports lessons). The school is organized in three sections: preparatory school (prep to Year 2), junior school (Year 3 to Year 6) and senior school (Year 7 to Year 12). As a PABO student, you’ll be placed in preparatory or junior school.

We e-mailed Mrs. Judith Butcher to get in touch and she was very pleased to welcome us at the Ascham School. I was placed in one of the three Year 2 classes in preparatory school (girls in the age of 7 and 8).

We had to get a visa for our stay in Australia. You can get a normal Tourist Visa (because you won’t get paid for the internship so you won’t need a working visa) if you want to stay up to 3 months. Because we wanted to stay a bit longer, we needed the Working Holiday Visa. This one allows you to stay for one year and get a job. You can apply for a Visa at http://www.immi.gov.au/Visas/Pages/417.aspx a  Working Holiday Visa costs about 300 euros.

We (my friend and I) tried to arrange an apartment before we left, but no one responded because we couldn’t move in straight away. So we booked a hostel in Sydney for the first 4 nights and just called/texted the people who had put their apartments on the websites. We looked at different websites: flatmates.com.au / gumtree.com.au. We visited 4 different apartments, one of them was very suitable for us and we moved in the next day.

Review of my stay in Sydney/Australia
Sydney is an amazing and very big business city. Although it’s a very busy city I felt very save and at home. We stayed in the suburb Pyrmont, just a 10 minutes’ walk outside the CBD and 15 to the nearest train station (but you could take busses/railways as well).
I think Australians are very friendly and helpful. I experienced this at the school as well. I felt very welcome and they really appreciated it that I was there. As I said, I was placed in Year 2. The 21 girls in this group were very interested in me and I build up a great relation with them during my internship. My mentor, the teacher of the group, was very pleased to have me in her class. She was interested in my ideas about education and tried to give me as much time as possible to do lessons. Because it was a private school, there were a lot of specialists lessons. So the time schedule was very full planned and there was not that much time left for me to take over some lessons. Because I wasn’t allowed to teach the English grammar, were mathematics and arts the only possibilities left. Although I couldn’t teach much myself, I was never bored at all. I saw new things every single day and learned a lot about the Australian school system. My mentor tried to involve me as much as she could, so I didn’t just sat in back of classroom all the time to observe. Speaking English was not a very big issue, in the beginning I struggled a bit at finding the right words, but after a few weeks I didn’t felt that struggle anymore.
The girls at Ascham School are very well mannered, the school finds academical skills very important and because it’s a private school they can offer a lot of co-curricular activities. Every girl has sports or music lessons at the school, there is a theater, swimming pool and tennis fields and the girls get homework every day. These are just a few of all the differences I noticed between the Australian and Dutch education. It was completely different than my expectations. I thought it wouldn’t be that different than the Dutch education, because The Netherlands and Australia are both western countries and the education system is both very high rated. I think that most of the differences are caused by the fact that the school is a private school and we don’t have private schools in The Netherlands.

The people in Australia are very friendly and hospitable and because it’s a western country, the culture is not that different to The Netherlands which made it very easy to settle and feel like home. 

-          Get an Opal card for public transport. After 8 check ins you can travel for free for the rest of the week and on Sundays you can travel the whole day for 2,50 aus dollars.

 -          Get an Australian phone number (we got it at a Telstra shop), you can recharge each month so you’re not stuck to  a subscription.

 -          Only get your cash at the yellow CommonWealth banks. They charge less extra money than the other banks.

 -          Take a creditcard with you.

 -          If you want to travel; don’t book it until you’re there. Go to backpackers agencies like Happy Travels or Peterpans (they’re everywhere), they help you planning your whole trip and they offer you the cheapest trips and activities.

 -          If you have time/money make sure you do some travelling. It’s an amazing and beautiful country with lots of diversity in its nature/landscape/views/culture. I traveled the eastcoast (from Cairns to Brisbane), the outback (from Alice Springs to Adelaide) and the Great Ocean Road (from Adelaide to Melbourne) and I loved every bit of it!


Visa: €300

Retour plane ticket: €1100

Residence/stay: €600 a month

Grocery: €100 a month

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