In early November, a group of new students began to arrive in our college. Most of them were Europeans, and surprisingly they’re also Swiss. Unlike the previous batch of Swiss students, they’re French Swiss. This is the first time I get to know the French Swiss. At a brief glance, they looked slightly different to the Germans. Their appearance has slight Latino appearance, typical of French people. Other than Swiss French, there were also some Japanese and Indonesian students among the new students.
Some of the French Swiss also joined my class. The first one is Anouchka (I can’t recall her full name). She was a blonde haired and freckled Swiss girl in her mid or late 20s from Geneva. Her profession is quite unusual for a landlocked country like Switzerland: a diving instructor! She had worked in that profession for around 4 years, aside of working as swimming instructor. Her boyfriend also studied in the college, although in another class. The other one is Pierre*. He was a handsome looking guy in his early 20s, from Lausanne. Back home in Switzerland, he worked as a shopkeeper in one sport shop in the town. He is like your typical French gentleman like what you see in romantic French movie. Indeed he was later grown close and intimate with Keiko* (the Japanese canteen employee that I normally mingled with in after class hours).
Another European student that I got close to was Anna*. She was an elderly Austrian woman who attends the class to fill her summer holiday, and also improve her English. She is modest, yet outgoing person. She is always curious about other culture, and frequently asked me about many things about my background. When I said that I’m a Muslim, she wondered if I would have two wives in the future, which I replied that it’s impossible as I cannot afford such thing.
Gathering in a cafe after we concluded our tour at Fremantle prison. From left to right: Anna*, me, Anouchka, Ryo*, Linda*, Park*, Nattaporn, and the rest of Japanese students. Name marked with asterisk are fictitious name, as I forgot their real name.
Other than Europeans, we also receive group of new Japanese students (although not all went into the same class as I do). One that I particularly get to know well was Ryo*. He was a student with athletic body, who regularly compete in triathlon event (including one in Perth, about a month before he joined the class). His English was not very good, but compared to other Japanese students, he was a gregarious person who always keen to interact with people other than Japanese.
But the most significant friend who came at around this time was a fellow Indonesian from Surakarta. His name is Wahyu*. He doesn’t just attend the same college as me, but apparently also lives in the same house too! He occupied the room that was once belonged to Danny*. For the first time I finally get housemate that is friendly. The fact that we share same heritage (my ancestry also came from Surakarta, and I frequently visited the place) made us get along easily. It was truly pleasure to be around with him. We frequently chatted both at home and college and he was truly a great mate. He truly made the atmosphere at home became more friendly. Siraj was happy that I truly have a friend at home which make the house much a better place than when Danny* and Erick* was around.
Since I moved to higher class, the teacher also changed. I was no longer in Milo’s class, but instead went to another with American teacher. His name is Mike*. He is American from New Jersey who has Ukrainian and Czech ancestry. Contrary to my previous teachers, aside of his American accent, he was very comical and disorganized. He can’t even pronounce my name properly. During class he often made lengthy talk about issues mentioned in the book. He always correlated them with his personal experience, and often added some funny stories with it. But the problem was, he often talked too much that he overshoots the time limit. Often we went into lunch break, or even going home, without the teaching material fully addressed. For advance class students, it was no problem. But for beginners, he could be a really bad influence. Despite of his disorganized attitude, we actually like him.
It can be said that the last few weeks of my study in Perth was a boring moment for me, when compared to when Denise was around. I get along easily with the Swiss French. They are more open and less arrogant when compared to their German compatriots. And they’re willing to mingle with Asians without too much problems. I frequently spend my lunch break with Anouchka and her boyfriend, and also Pierre*. Pierre* is a big fan of Nestle chocolate, especially Kit Kat. He regularly purchased them during lunch break.
When the new Kit Kat chunky bar was launched, he was really keen to get one sample. In addition, in latter weeks I often found Pierre sat together intimately with Keiko. I think this was the first time I see a European student could get intimate relationship with Asian.
And in this month too, I also had my last class excursion. It was a trip to Fremantle Prison (again). It was generally the same kind of trip that I had during my first months in Australia, unless the people are different. Since we visited at warmer weather, we can feel how it is like inside the prison in summer. As you know, the summer weather in Austrlia is generally scorching hot. Yet the prison interior felt reasonably comfortable. It wasn’t too hot, but not as cool as during winter months.
Once the excursion is concluded, I’m getting more serious on the study. I always search in the library, and in the internet about field of studies. Internet search engine was still in its infancy, Yahoo was the most favorite one, followed by AltaVista, while Google didn’t exist back then (indeed paid e-mail account was norm back then).
I looked at the study programs. Aviation is definitely out of question by now. I was also not interested with any engineering or economic courses. Art seem to be awkward. Despite of my dislikes towards engineering study, I still had an interest in computing world. The most popular study was Computer Science which was offered in some universities. What motivated me in computing was because of my interest in gaming. I was really keen to study to create computer games and made living out of it in the future.
Unfortunately, mathematics and physics were not my forte. Indeed when I was in high school, I was in Social Study major instead of Engineering, as I often failed in calculation subjects (except for economic mathematics). And when I looked at the requirement to enter the Computer Science course, I was daunted by the fact that it requires strong proficiency in mathematics and some physics.
But then I came across one interesting study: Bachelor of Multimedia program. I’m curious what it is. It looks like some kind of computer study, yet it doesn’t require its prospective students to have proficiency in mathematical study. Then I remember that Shah Jehan is studying computer at Edith Cowan University, so he must have some knowledge that might be able to help me.
Edith Cowan University logo as seen in 1997.
One night, I knocked the door of his room to ask some question. He got out of his narrow bedroom, and greeted me. I asked him about what Multimedia study is. He replied by saying that Multimedia study is a study where we use computer to process images and sounds, making animation, and even creating computer game. Wow! That sounds exciting. From that on, I made firm decision that after completing my English language, I would take Bachelor of Multimedia program.
I thanked Shah Jehan, and returning back to my room to sleep.