Hi, I’m Jun Wang, from Jiangsu Province in China. I graduated from FedUni’s Master of Teaching (Secondary) in July 2016. That’s me in the wedding dress in the photo. I’ll tell you about that later.

I first came to Ballarat in 2009 to work as a teaching assistant as part of my Chinese degree. I was really impressed by the quality of teaching, but it was the friendliness of the people that made me feel quickly at home. During that year, I lived with two homestay families, and they were both so welcoming and kind. Most of my course-mates in bigger cities didn’t enjoy that kind of experience.

When I got married in China in 2012, I invited my new ‘Aussie families’ and was so happy that they could come! Their daughters were even my flower-girls! When I first came to Ballarat, I used to babysit those children. These days, I’ve got kids of my own, and I get the girls to babysit for me!

When I decided to come back to Australia in 2015, I had offers from a number of leading universities but I chose the Master of Teaching (Secondary) at FedUni. Obviously, I knew the location, but I was also impressed by the staff. Amanda, the Program Coordinator, spoke to me several times and seemed like she genuinely cared. Now that I’ve got to know her, I can say that she definitely does.

My study at FedUni helped me to pursue my dream and become the best teacher I can. The staff are closely connected with schools, so they’re up-to-date with changes and challenges. Many classes were taught on campus at Ballarat High School, so even before our placements, we got very used to being in a school. As someone who’s quite short, it was good for me to spend time around the really tall local students!

On my second teaching placement at Mt Clear College in Ballarat, my mentor retired and the school offered me a job. When I started, I already felt so familiar with the school environment and the up-to-date practical theories. Since then, so many opportunities have opened up for me and my students. I organised a China visit for my Year 9 students, and we took a koala and panda on the trip.

Like I always say to my students, studying in another country isn’t just studying a language or studying a course; it’s studying a culture, a lifestyle and a whole new perspective on life.