School, (written by our daughters) - (Aus. Outlook, 04)

My name is Gemma, I am 16 years old and presently in year 12 (final year) of Cannon Hill Anglican College, situated in central Brisbane.

I migrated to Perth, Western Australia, with mum, dad and sister when I was 11. I found the kids at my new school very friendly and interested in me as I had a different accent, which they seemed to love. They were also keen to find out information about my background, so I was quickly accepted and made friends easily. I found the work a little easier than my school in London, mainly because the school year starts in January in Australia, in London it had started 4 months earlier in September. This was a big advantage for me, as I was not challenged academically whilst settling in.

We then moved across to Melbourne, and again I had to start a new school. I didnít find my classmates as friendly in Melbourne and this combined with the cold, wet weather made me unhappy at times. The work was still around the same standard as in Perth.

We moved again to Brisbane, where we are all settled now and I really enjoy my school. I have made some good friends here and we socialize probably a bit too much for the amount of schoolwork I have to do. We may head into the city by boat (City Cat), have lunch and a coffee then look around shops. Or go to the Gold Coast by train, where some of my friends surf, but I canít seem to get the hang of it. South Bank is also an excellent place to go by City Cat, it has a beach and swimming lagoon. We do all the usual things like go bowling or the cinema. There is plenty to do here and the weather is really nice so you can plan ahead.

On each move around Australia, I have found the teachers very helpful and friendly. They have taken the time to sit down and chat with me and find out where Iím at academically and offer extra assistance if necessary.

I play for my school netball team and practice every Wednesday for just over an hour after school, then compete every Saturday in the inter schools tournament. With subjects, I like Biology and Art; my intention is to go to Uni and study to become a dietician. I also have a job as a waitress in a local cafť strip.

My advice to other kids migrating is that you will miss your old friends, but soon make new ones and long term it definitely works out for the best, itís such a friendly place to live, with great weather and plenty to do.

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My name is Danielle. I am nearly 15 and attend Cannon Hill Anglican College with my sister Gemma. I am in year 10.

We have moved around a lot since arriving in Australia when I was 9, but have settled in Brisbane and think this is the best place and easily the best school.

I wake up at 7am, just over an hour later I head off to school, which is a short 10 minute bus trip. School starts at 8.25am, at which we time we have to be in our homeroom to mark the role and have any notices read to us. We then attend class, followed by a 25 minute recess at around 10.45. Then itís back to class followed by a 50 minute lunch break at 1.05pm. We tend to sit around chatting and having lunch, sometimes we practice volleyball. School day ends at 3.10pm.

Part of our school uniform is a large white hat, which we have to wear whenever we are outdoors; the school policy is Ďno hat, no suní I really like my school, itís a lot better than the one I went to in Melbourne and I found it easy to make friends here in Brisbane as I did in Perth. There are a good variety of subjects here and my favorites are Art, drama and science.

When I go out with friends, we enjoy dance classes, parties, the beach and the city. I spend a total of about 3 hours in PE, which at the moment is volleyball, there is also 2 hours on Saturday for interschool sports day. I also like to run, swim and take part in athletics. I go to a funk dancing class on Friday and horse ride on Sundays. I also work in Pizzahut 3 times a week.

School here is much more orientated towards being outdoors and taking part in sport. Kids are really friendly and my teachers have been really helpful with settling Gemma and myself in and finding out what we know. I want to go to Uni eventually, but am not sure what I want to do.

My advice to kids coming here is to be really positive, smile a lot, be cheerful and youíll soon make friends.

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