The hospitality of the Filipino people is world-famous, but Australia is also well-known for its welcoming, friendly culture.
So when Filipino students Macy Cruz and Tiffany Russel Sia arrived at Macquarie University, they immediately felt at ease despite the differences between the two cultures.
Macy graduated from Macquarie with a Master of International Relations in 2013. She says because the University is home to students and staff from so many different countries, international students are made to feel part of the multicultural Macquarie family.
“The multicultural mix creates a friendly and safe environment,” she says.
“Being an international student was made easier because of the friendly staff like the librarians, security staff and even the department chair.”
Tiffany agrees, saying Filipino students have an extra advantage when it comes to settling in to Australian life.
“It’s not as hard as people think, immersing yourself in Australian culture,” the Bachelor of Medical Sciences student notes. “Because all of us in the Philippines are trained in English, it comes naturally.”
Filipinos also don’t have to go far for a taste of home, with Pinoy@Macq being of the most active student groups on campus. Not only does the group give students from the Philippines a chance to connect, it also gives them an opportunity to share the delights of the Filipino culture with Australian students who are always keen to sample pancit and other famous Pinoy dishes.
Another tip for Filipino students coming to Macquarie is to make the most of the social sessions held during international student orientation, including the many day trips exploring Sydney and its surrounds.
Jarl Marie Therese Gamonez, who is studying a Master of International Business with Master of International Relations, says Sydney is the kind of place where you can feel comfortable, wherever you’re from.
“Sydney is one of the most multicultural places I’ve been to,” she says. “Everyone’s very friendly and you get to be yourself. It’s a very welcoming culture.”