A safe place

After completing Year 12 at North Lake Senior Campus in 2019, international student Yusi Chen decided to return home to China for a short break before beginning university studies in Australia. The world was changing but Yusi ignored her  mother’s advice to stay where she was. The short stay became three years as COVID restrictions took over.

Yusi returned to Australia this year and her first priority was to visit her old school. “I had told my teachers I would come back to see them and my word is my bond. Miss Judy suggested I should be interviewed and tell my story.”

Daily maths exams and sometimes getting home from school at 10pm in her home country had made Yusi frustrated and combined with a sense of adventure led to a decision to take on the journey of the international student in Australia.

“My mum came for three months and then went back to China and then I lived in home-stays,” Yusi said, “I liked it here, it was a very different way of studying.

“I found North Lake to be a safe place, actually it was more like a home and the helpful teachers made it easy to adapt to my new environment.”

Despite being a very organised person Yusi was somewhat confused when she moved from the IEC to Year 11 in 2018. “I didn’t really know what I wanted to do in the future. I didn’t choose to do four ATAR courses instead I did the UniReady program with Anna that would allow me to transfer to Curtin University.”

Like many students Yusi found Year 12 very stressful at times. “It was good to have very supportive teachers. I went to our chaplin Deborah to seek advice for my wellbeing and my ATAR Chinese teacher Sophie really supported me through Year 11 and 12.”

• 2019 Valedictory with Nadia.

Yusi said she has thought a lot about what makes North Lake Senior Campus successful: “Not only do you have very great teachers but you also have multiple choices even though it is a small school. If you have determination and persistence you can break through anything and you will develop resilience no matter what happens,” she said, “If you seek support proactively you will get the support you need. North Lake is a very safe school.”

During her unplanned three-year stay in China Yusi completed internships in schools that helped her make decisions about further study. She began work on a Secondary Education degree Bachelor of Education specialising in Media this year.