NEWCASTLE, Australia, February 12, 2008 – Two of the youngest members of AIPS have commenced an English language scholarship in the coastal city of Newcastle, New South Wales.
Frank Marín Vergara who writes for the Latin-America News Agency, Prensa Latina was the first to arrive in the city famous for its beaches and located 200km north of Sydney.
26-year-old Frank completed his journalism degree in 2006 after studying at the University of Havana for five years. He says he is enjoying the Intensive English Language Course immensely and believes he has benefitted already from the expert teaching at the Engish Language Centre at the TAFE Hunter Institute. “I have made so many friends already and feel like I am in the United Nations,” Frank said.
The friendly young Cuban was joined by Iranian sports journalist, 29-year-old Maryam Sabzali yesterday. Maryam works for the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency as a football translator and was recently elected to the executive committee of the Iranian Sports Press Association. A post-graduate student of Communication in Social Sciences at Tehran University, Maryam is keen to improve her grammar while in Newcastle. "The standard of teaching is very high here and I am sure my English will improve very quickly," she said. Maryam is being hosted by Mrs Noelene Sullivan in an apartment with sweeping views of Newcastle Harbour and the coastline.
The 4-week scholarship is being jointly sponsored by Australian educational services company English + Further Study Downunder and AIPS.
Frank Marín Vergara wrote the following article for the AIPS website.
A long journey leads to an unforgettable experience
After almost three days travelling from Havana to Sydney I have spent two wonderful weeks in Australia, an amazing country. In only a few days I have enjoyed a lot of excellent experiences.
I departed from Havana on January 27th and after more than 40 hours of flying through America, Europe, Asia and Oceania (including two stopovers in Amsterdam and Singapore) I landed in Sydney on January 30th.
When I arrived to Newcastle I met my first Australian’s friends: Roslyn Morris, the executive editor of AIPS Magazine, and Jamie Barnes, a veterinary surgeon with whom I am living while I am here. They have both been very polite with me.
On my first weekend in Australia I went to Sydney and got to know that amazing city. Even though I was there for only two days I could look at many of the most famous places of the city, like the Opera House, the bridge over the harbour, Saint Andrews’s Cathedral and Bondi Beach.
When I came back to Newcastle I began my English scholarship at the TAFE Hunter Institute, where you can find students from a lot of different countries, including China, South Korea, Thailand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Turkey and Papua New Guinea.
The teachers are very talented and they have a good system that helps to the students to improve their knowledge of the English language. The first week was very useful for me and I hope that my English will be better when I come back to Cuba.
This week the other awardee of the English + Further Study Downunder/AIPS scholarship, Maryam Sabzali (from Iran) arrived to join the lessons. Now we have another nationality in our classroom, which looks like the UN. It’s a wonderful experience.
We can share with people from other countries, other cultures, other ways of life, and that is very useful to get more open mind of the world and increase our general knowledge.
Out of the classroom I have had a lot of nice experiences like my first time at a horse racing meeting at Gosford, a small city on the central coast of New South Wales. And I am getting to know many places in Newcastle.
For certain, I can say that I am spending terrific days in Australia and I am sure that I will never forget my visit to this interesting country.
Frank and Maryam get to know fellow students Seon Ho Kim (left) and Man Kyo (second from left). The young men are from Korea.