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What’s Your Travel Story?

aust_globe1Beyond the name, job, family basic introduction questions, why not try asking people about their travel story?

Mine goes something like this…

Born in Bangladesh to Australian parents I was a foreigner. At 2 years old I travelled to New Zealand and Australia with my family. Only my family could understand me as I spoke a mixture of Bengali and English. Back in Bangladesh we had the occasional holidays in Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore. At 8 years old I travelled regularly to India to go to boarding school. When I was 10 years old the family returned to Australia to settle. No longer a foreigner, but I still felt like one. I saved every penny of my junk mail delivery, babysitting and Chicken Treat money until at 16 years old I paid for myself to return to India to visit my old boarding school. I final goodbye I guess, then time to move on. At 19 I visited Scotland and Ireland with a friend. Married at 21, I have travelled around Australia with my husband and family seeing Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, living in all of those states except QLD. After a couple of years in Mandurah I find myself back in Perth and really coming to love this city and feel at home.

Travelling these days involves 2 trips a year to Switzerland, hopefully a trip to Beijing this year, and quick trips to Melbourne to see family.

A whirlwind summary of my travel story – but if we were sitting having coffee I’m sure it would open up plenty of opportunity for conversation.

What’s your travel story?

Mandarin for Business

Stacey College is now offering tutoring and group classes to better prepare you for your next business trip to China.

See how impressed your Chinese clients are when you show off your new skill in Mandarin!

Seriously though – it takes a long time to become proficient in a new language. What is 5 hours of training going to get you?

It will give you a couple of words in Mandarin to demonstrate to the people you are doing business with that you are interested in their country and culture, and you value their language.

It will improve your understanding of the Chinese culture, attitudes and values.

See our website for details.

Stacey College – the first year

This is a presentation I prepared for our Stacey College Opening last week. I will blog more about the opening when I have photos to share.

This summarises the process we have been through from initial question to one year on.

Click on the link to see the fully interactive presentation.

http://prezi.com/fobswxhjdp78/stacey-college/

 

Teaching Mandarin

In today’s Australian – and I had just been thinking the same thing after a discussion with a Primary School principal who was concerned that Mandarin may be too hard a language for kids to learn. My thought was maybe if we just focussed on helping them learn to speak the language rather than getting bogged down in all the characters. Looks like Victoria beat me too it, and have already decided to do the same thing.

Just click on the newsprint to read a bigger version.

Visual Calmness

Have you ever flicked through one of those magazines like Home Beautiful and wondered why your house doesn’t look like the houses featured on its pages? Even though reality tells me that a team of designers, stylists, photographers and editors have helped transform already incredibly beautiful homes into exquisite images of homes, some how the illusion that one can live like that continues. Experience tells me that even if my family did live in a house like the ones in that magazine it would not look like the images for long – because it would become lived in, and so it should.

So why do I continue to pursue tidiness? 

(1) It makes it easier to find things when they have a spot where they belong.

(2) Organisation is an important skill to practise and to teach to my children.

(3) I find it calming to walk into a tidy room.

I used to think that if I could just keep one room in the house tidy, then I could cope. At least I could leave the mess of the house behind and sit in that one room and relax, unwind, and not think about all the housework that needed to be done. Now that I have a husband, 3 kids, a dog, a cat and a new business even this seems out of reach. I can’t even keep my desk at home tidy because I share with my 3 children who invariably bring with them ‘stuff’ and leave it there.

So I don’t always have a tidy room, I don’t always have a tidy desk, where can I go for visual calmness? I have discovered a new corner of the house to bring a moment of calm and order – the cup cupboard. Now this may sound a little strange, but it works for me. I used to have a hotch potch of cups, mostly with chips and scratches. Lately I’ve splurged on 9 new mugs ($2 each from Coles!), 3 sets of 3. I take great pleasure in lining them up neatly, in their colours and rows, then selecting one and pouring myself a cup of tea. My love of stopping for a cup of tea is evident in the fact that one of my 2 year old’s first words was “hotta, hotta” followed closely by “hot tea, hot tea”. So my little corner of the house, the cup cupboard, affords me a moment of peace with its tidiness, in an often chaotic house.

Where do you find moments of peace in your day?

What images of calmness are around you during the day?

New City Location

We have been promising a city location ready for full time courses to start next year. Well here it is! Stacey College is now located at 18/7 Aberdeen St, Perth in the Piccadilly Square West building. This is a shared premises with Sheridan College.

The site is approximately 378m², and consists of classrooms, offices and a soon-to-be installed computer lab.

For students, it conveniently places Stacey College next door to McIver Train Station and a 9-minute walk from Perth Train Station. 10 parking bays will also be available for the exclusive use of staff and students, and the Aberdeen St entrance to the Newcastle St Carpark is across the road.

 

This is a very exciting step for the team at Stacey College. Tutoring and small classes now have the option of being held at this city location during office hours. Come and check us out!

Resilience

Resilience is a bit of an IN word at the moment. But I certainly think it deserves its moment in the sun.

Here are some definitions of resilience:

1. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity: oxford dictionary

2. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness: oxford dictionary

3. In less than a decade the term resilience has evolved from the disciplines of materials science and environmental studies to become a concept used liberally and enthusiastically by policy makers, practitioners and academics. It suggests an ability of something or someone to cope in the face of adversity – to recover and return to normality after confronting an abnormal, alarming and often unexpected threat. It is used alongside security to understand how governments, local authorities and the emergency services can best address the threats from terrorism, natural disasters, health pandemics and other disruptive challenges. Torrens Resilience Institute

4. Put simply, resiliency refers to the capacity of human beings to survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Resiliency Resource Centre

My family have had an opportunity to build up their resiliency muscles this school holidays. After 2 weeks of my youngest son being sick with the flu, the entire family came down with gastro. It was like a rolling wave of sickness that started with me, then gradually engulfed each member of the family, one after another. As I crawled out of bed, my husband was struck, then my daughter. My eight year old was nursing us all for a day before it struck him. Not my ideal family holiday. But amazingly there were positives in it. Adversity brings opportunity to develop excellent character traits. Who doesn’t want their kids to have compassion, be helpful, caring, unselfish, sacrificing, and serve others with love. The whole family being sick meant we all had to look after each other in new ways. We bonded as a family in a new way. We cared for and encouraged each other. I certainly don’t wish for another bout of gastro, but I recognise the value in fighting adversity together as a family. The joy that resilience brings when we all bounce back from illness and charge into our various pursuits. This life will certainly bring trials. We cannot avoid them. As Paul said in Romans “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope”(Romans 5:3-4). Maybe resilience is the new way of understanding this old concept, that those who suffer, who are not defeated by it, can become stronger through it and develop those character traits that make them more able to succeed and prosper in life. So whether it is in your family and children, education, emergency services or whatever field you are in, resilience offers the perspective that says don’t be afraid of adversity, it just might teach you something!

Stacey College Team

I thought it was about time I did a bit of an update. Things change quickly around here at Stacey College. My last update celebrated our first student. We now have four students in ongoing tutoring, and five tutors available. I have been busy interviewing and hiring new tutors. The quality of the tutors that we have on board is fantastic. They have degrees, tutoring experience, teaching experience and on top of that are just great people. I really have no doubt about promoting them as educators who will offer a great service on behalf of Stacey College. I look forward to introducing each of them to you as we go along.

We are getting closer to having a building in the city. An offer on a lease has been made, and I hope soon to announce our new home!

So now I am busying myself with keeping records, making appointments, learning accounting and doing our first business tax return.

Lots to learn! Lots of fun!

China

Population: 1.3 Billion

Language: Mandarin (206 dialects)

Capital: Beijing, 19.6million population.

Shanghai largest city, 23 million population

Population Density: 133 people/km2

INTERESTING FACTS

(1) Technology: China’s bullet train is the fastest in the world.

(2) Religion: There is no official religion. 30% are Buddhist &/or Taoist.

(3) Flag: Was adopted in 1949 after the Communist party took power. Red is for the blood shed in the revolution, and the traditional colour of the Chinese people. The large star represents the leadership, with the small stars representing the peasants, workers, bourgeoisie, and the capitalists, united under the Communist Party.

(4) Superstition: Red is considered a very lucky colour.

(5) Food: The basic diet is rice, noodles and tea. 45 Billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are used every year.

(6) Geography: China is the 3rd largest country in the world, after Russia and Canada, with an enormous range of geographic features from the Tibetan plateau to a seacoast fringed by islands.

(7) Animals: Pandas are a national treasure

(8) Children: China introduced the ‘One Child Policy’ in 1978 as a means of population control.

(9) Inventions: A calendar, calligraphy writing system, silk, paper, movable type printing, the wheel, magnetic compass, porcelain, gunpowder, icecream!

(10) Claims to Fame: The Great Wall of China – begun during the Quin Dynasty 221-206BCE, is a collection of shorter walls stretching about 8 850km.

Beijing Forbidden City – A world heritage Site Palace complex that covers 74 Hectares

Terracotta Army – Thousands of lifesized figures, all with different faces, hairstyles and expressions. They were found by a peasant in 1974, and surround an Emperor’s tomb.

Jackie Chan – Actor

Yao Ming – Basketball player

Confucious – Philospher

There is so much to say about China. It was really hard to select a few facts. Why not let me know what you love about China.

A Baby College is Born

I don’t do pregnancy well. Ask my husband. Ask my children. Ask my mother. But I do have beautiful children. And maybe that is why I have returned to the daunting task of pregnancy twice after knowing how awful it was the first time. Pregnancy for me is a trial to be endured for the joy that comes afterwards. I know it is not like this for all women, but for me, it has been torture every time.

But children… the joy is unspeakable.

This week I have given birth to a baby college. The pregnancy was not nearly as difficult as with my children, but about as long. 9 months ago I was faced with the question “How do we start an English Language College in Perth?” The idea was conceived. The early few months were research, research research. How, what, when, where, and why? Learning everything I could about the industry, the competition, the registering authorities, the nature of small business, the nature of education institutions….

About 5 months in most women are showing a nice little bump, have stopped feeling nauseous (MOST! not me), and are beginning to think about life with a baby. Stacey College at 5 months from conception got a name. The process was very interesting a I looked back over my family history. Finally settling on the name STACEY in honour of my Grandmother, mother to 9 children, Grandmother to lots (really should check that next week!), Great Grandmother to a bunch. There will be more about Grandma in the next couple of weeks. Once the name was settled on, the company was launched.

6 months in and the website was launched, the blog began to chronicle the journey, and the legalities of business name, tax file number, business number and bank account were all done.

The 7th month was spent thinking and reading about vision and culture, then producing a vision for Stacey College.

In May, the 8th month, my wonderful husband introduced me to the woman who has become our first teacher and tutor. Rinna brings a vast amount of experience and talent to the company. There is also a team of agents working hard getting the word about Stacey College out to all their communities. Advertising and marketing kicked into gear.

And this week, June the 9th month, the birth of a college. With the launch of our tutoring services, we got our first student, and they are choosing to stick around, signing up for 2 tutorials a week! The birth felt a little more like a stork delivery than the real thing, but still a very joyous occasion.

So it’s time for a celebration. Time to stop and reflect for a moment. Time to mark the occasion. In June 2012 Stacey College got their first student and officially began! To those who have been following the journey – thanks for your support and encouragement. Stick around and enjoy the raising of baby Stacey into a fully grown college!