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NHS Offshore: International Students learning online

In 2021, Northcote High School has offered online learning to 17 International Students across Years 10 to 12, who were unable to return to us or commence with us, because of the travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID Pandemic.

The students are all studying EAL with Carlene Wilson and some are undertaking Chinese first language with Jen Wang. They are all studying other subjects through Virtual Schools Victoria (VSV). The International Student Office staff are in constant communication and arrange and supervise all assessment tasks with the students. The offshore students also receive much encouragement and support from the staff in the International Student team, as we strive to maintain their engagement with online learning.

We have implemented a Connect Program similar to that of our NHS onshore students and meet with them weekly via Teams to ensure they have the opportunity to build relationships with NHS and each other.

Another challenge facing our 7 offshore students who are undertaking VCE Unit 3 /4 studies, is when they are required to attempt the General Achievement Test, at the same time as our onshore students but spread across 3 cities in China, some 7000 kilometres from here.

The students are working very hard to maintain their learning in the hope that they will be able to complete their studies here with us at NHS, when travel restrictions allow.


Joint birthday celebrations

For young people, birthdays are an exciting time of year, especially for teenagers who are finding themselves at the gate towards adulthood – something they are both excited and nervous about. International students are no exception. As young people who are both discovering themselves and living in an unfamiliar environment, we feel like we have new possibilities and opportunities to shine, fly, and leave our old selves behind; and our birthdays are a milestone to celebrate. Northcote High School understands this and wishes to share it with us.

On Thursday, March 18, we jointly celebrated the international students’ whose birthdays fell within the first quarter of 2021. We shared delicious cup cakes with candles and a room full of laughter, and we felt this much needed sense of belonging, where, in this country so far away from home, we could find ourselves surrounded by the friends that have somehow become that home we so dearly missed. Some of us are turning 17 and some of us are turning 18, with our dreams already coming to fruition in a future not far from where we are. Thank you for the fun decorations and lovely gifts and all the organising done by our International Student Captains, Samuel Tran, Ivy Nguyen, Ringo Bach, Shelley Yu and Ivy Vo. Our captains work hard throughout the year organising many events for our International Student cohort.

On behalf of all the international students we would also like to thank the staff and teachers who are always taking care of us and paying attention to the way that we feel and think. Once again, we are very grateful for the efforts that every one is paying to make us happy and fulfilled.

Kylie Le Year 12

Enjoying co-curricular activities

The International Student Office has provided a range of activities for us to enjoy our life here in Australia and socialise with our fellow students. The activities have included: The badminton club on Monday, school-based basketball club on Friday and the EAL tutorial on Wednesday.

The badminton and basketball club allows student to relax after a long exhausting day at school. They can play against each other, and with the teachers as well! (p.s: Thank you for all the teachers who are willing to play with us). In addition, these clubs also help us to maintain our wellbeing and have a healthy lifestyle besides our intensive year 12 studies.

Everyone is welcome to come to the gym on Monday and Friday after school to play with us!

We have invited one of the graduates from the class of 2019, Brian Vu to teach the EAL tutorial class. As international students, we have to get a prerequisite of around 30-35 study scores of EAL for us to access all tertiary pathways. This class assists students who needs additional help in EAL, providing them strong support and preparing them to achieve their desired ATAR.

Furthermore, the international student captains are also organising a debating team for our Year 11 international students. The debating team allows students to improve their English speaking skills and become more confident in their communication. Thank you Mr Wall for helping us in organising these events!

On behalf of all international students, we sincerely thank Ms Hill, Miss Fiona and Miss Jessica from the International Office for organising these amazing activities.

Sammi Yiao


Understanding Tertiary Pathways 

The Year 12 international students recently attended a ‘Pathway Orientation’ presented by Ms Booma-Karen Burgess who is our careers practitioner. In her presentation, Booma went through a lot of important information that we need to keep in mind as we head towards our Tertiary Pathway selection later in Term 3.

As an international student, it’s extremely valuable for us to discuss our desired career path with someone who is so knowledgeable about that area and to hear of other students’ personal experiences when they applied for a university pathway. Also, most of the Year 12 students have been staying in Australia less than 3 years, and this can make it even more challenging to understand how the VTAC system works and how different it is for applying to interstate universities. Having a chance to know about different types of prerequisite exams such as UCAT and ISAT and how to prepare beforehand, was helpful for students wishing to pursue a medical career, as well.

After the presentation, students were able to have a clear understanding about what they need to focus on at the present time and how they can be well-prepared and productive throughout this what can become quite a stressful year as we are working towards achieving our best learning outcomes.

All of the international students very much appreciated the time with Booma and thanks to her and our other international staff for being supportive and encouraging us. We hope every one of us can enter pathways that we want and remember that a bright future is waiting for us at the completion of our secondary schooling this year.

Monica Jang


Happy Lunar New Year!

First of all, we want to wish everyone a happy Lunar New Year. We hope you and your family have a very successful new year. Please stay safe and beat the COVID pandemic with new energy.

Due to the current situation, international students weren’t able to go back to our home countries to celebrate Lunar New Year with our families. Lunar New Year is one of the most important family celebrations in both the Vietnamese and Chinese calendars.  Luckily, our Northcote family was always by our side. On Thursday night last week we celebrated the new year with a warm and cozy dinner, joined by some of our Northcote High School teachers.

We enjoyed delicious Vietnamese food which was served in a seemingly never ending, banquet style. All of the dishes were appetizing and flavourful. We also received a small gift from the school to acknowledge the celebration.

Special thanks to Ms Hill, Ms Fiona, and Ms Jessica for arranging such an amazing dinner. Your generosity and thoughtfulness are very much appreciated. Thanks to everyone who attended the party. Remember the good moments we had last year, and let’s make some better moments this new year!

Ivy Nguyen

Summer Holidays in Australia

As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to sizzle in Melbourne, as international students we did our part to stop the virus from spreading by choosing to stay in Australia. As a reward from Northcote High School, we had the opportunity to embark on two summer trips to the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island, both of which were equal parts entertaining and educational.

On January 13, the sky was gentle and the sun was clear, the weather was perfect for us to enjoy our day on the famous Great Ocean Road. By popular demand from the international students, the bus made an unplanned stop by the beach for us to be able to enjoy the softness of the golden sand and laughter of having the waves hitting us on our shoes. We had a pleasant walk up to the majestic lighthouse and enjoyed the fantastic view of the sea and the saline scent of the winds. In the afternoon, we had a short but memorable lesson about Aboriginal Australian artifacts and were taught how to throw a boomerang. We also had the chance to try out kangaroo meat for lunch, which for a lot of us, was delightful.

The trip to Philip Island was just as much fun as we tried to catch up to the rising sun early in the morning. International students at Northcote were joined with another group of students from a neighbouring school – Strathmore College and through that chance, many new friendships were forged.  We took our time in awe at the Philip Island chocolate factory and the fascination of seeing how these sweet treats are made. The bus then took a scenic route along the coast so we could see the clear seawater and hear the sounds of the protective seagull mothers hovering above our head. We had BBQ for lunch and went to an open zoo where we could see and interact with various Australian wildlife animals and were taught about the koalas, the dingoes and the snakes.

Summer holiday in Australia has ended for us but we are truly thankful for the happy memories the school has generously provided us with during our time away from home.

Ringo Bach


Farewell Year 12 International Students!

At the end of October 2020, we said goodbye to Year 12 international students. The party was held around the open space in front of the gym in order to be socially distanced under the COVID19 restrictions. Balloons were tied and packed ‘bento’ boxes were ordered. ‘Bento’ means lunch boxes in Japanese as we wanted to match our party theme as well as to convey more cultural ideas to our dearest teachers! All the students and teachers very much enjoyed this memorable evening. There were many photo opportunities for us to have beautiful memories.


It is wonderful to have this opportunity for Year 12 international students to connect with teachers and farewell each other. Thank you so much for all staff who participated in this delightful gathering! Thanks for the international student captains who helped in this special event. We very much appreciated the IS office staff Fiona and Jessica, for all their hard work in co-ordinating the event and also for buying beautiful gifts for our teachers and our Year12 IS students.

Farewell to all our year 12 international students

Remote learning has been difficult for everyone, especially international students. Despite the fact that being far away from home is not easy, the lockdown has just made everything even more unfamiliar and unknown. Luckily, thanks to the support from the ISO and teachers, our students have made it through the challenges. Without your support, we might not have got through this year.


Furthermore, congratulations class of 2020! What an extreme challenge year you have faced. Good luck with your upcoming exams and I am sure that all of you will pass it and pass it very well. So please, don’t stress yourself! You have got this!


Once again, on behalf of all international students, congratulations to all the year 12s! I wish all the year 12s to be successful and have a thriving future!

Sammi Yiao


Super birthday celebrations

International Student Office recently celebrated with 43 of our international students, who had missed out on their birthday celebrations during semester one, due to the pandemic lock down.

Under the gorgeous winter sunshine, the birthday students received their gifts and cards with smiles as music played over the school public address system, adding to the celebratory atmosphere. Many teachers came over to wish them a very happy birthday, and our Principal Ms Harrap gave the school’s birthday well-wishes to students and led the singing of “Happy Birthday” which was a highlight for the students.

Super Birthday celebration with Ms Harrap







For the students it was an honor and privilege to have the school Principal cheer for their birthday! The international students were very grateful to the school and their teachers for making them feel at home.

Thanks to staff for assisting with preparation, your dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated.


Great Debating Success

Our Year 10 International students successfully completed their round 1 debate on Tuesday 23 June. Students formed two teams and debated the topic “we should reduce the number of cars for each household”. With little time to prepare, students were able to deliver high quality arguments and demonstrated strong communication skills. We are very proud of the knowledge and skills they have developed during the remote learning period.

Passionately debating a topic

We have had great participation in the International Student debate team at Northcote High School for over eight years. The debate program provides extra opportunities for International Students to practice their English and to learn more debating skills beyond the classroom.

Thanks very much to Mr Ramsay and Lixia for being the adjudicators. Great credit to Mr Ramsay for leading the debate program.


Looking after International Students’ mental health and wellbeing 

During Term 2, our International Students received a mental health and wellbeing presentation from the school’s wellbeing team for their different group level. Thanks to Kat Brissett, Mental Health Practitioner and school nurse Lauren Pilakis.

The sessions focused on addressing mental health problems our International Students may encounter over the pandemic period. Students gained much knowledge and skills on how to identify those issues, as well as how to deal with them. Students also learned about where to get support and access further resources and services if they needed.

The pandemic hits much harder on young International Students who are away from their families during this extremely difficult time. We are very grateful to the school community for doing its best to look after International Students’ mental health and wellbeing to ensure that they stay safe and do well.

Health and Safety training

Our Year 10 international student group recently took their annual health and safety training session run by the school wellbeing team and local police officers. The aim of this session is to raise international students’ awareness in youth health and social safety, and to promote healthy lifestyle. The session covered a range of topics including healthy living, general youth wellbeing, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse prevention, social and community safety and protection. The students thoroughly enjoyed the session and have gained valuable knowledge, which will certainly help international students to build a healthy lifestyle and to bear safety in mind all the time.


Health and safety workshop

The students especially showed curiosity and interests in police officer’s equipment like capsicum spray, baton, handcuffs, radio etc. The students also had a chance to ask questions about these weapons, especially for the baton.

Many thanks to school nurse Carly for organising this special annual session. Our appreciation also goes to the local police officers from Northcote Police Station.


Cyber safety training

On Thursday 12 March, Year 10 and 11 international students took their annual Cyber Safety Training Session run by Project Rockit. The session aims to raise international student safety awareness on social media and to promote positive online attitude. The session covered a range of online issues young people face, and explored safe and socially credible strategies for challenging risks.

Cyber safety training

The students thoroughly engaged in the session and gained valuable knowledge, which will empower them to take ownership over core material and create a safe and positive online culture. Leon, Samuel, James, Yarina participated in the activity and Yarina won the prizes!


Camp at Marysville

In February, thirty-five year-11 international students of Northcote High school enjoyed a three-day trip at Marysville organized by the International Student Office. The camp has created exciting memories for the international students who had the chance to experience more teamwork spirit and gain more understanding about Australia and Melbourne.

Campers were organized in three teams with student group leaders, school staff and camp facilitators. Days often started at 6 am and ended at 10 pm with evening campfire that was full of joys, laughs, shouts in friendship and youthful experience.

Sharing campfire stories

The first day started by visiting the Bushfire Museum which gave us an awareness of the devastating 2009 Black Saturday bushfires and other fires that have affected Victoria. Then the tour to cultural sites such as Bruno’s Sculpture Garden to give international students joys and inspirations with the collection of unforgettable characters lovingly handcrafted by Bruno from clay and fired onsite in his kiln.

The second and the third days were designed for outdoor activities such as cycling, climbing, abseiling, and canoeing to challenge campers and give us some familiarity with survival skills. The fun teamwork games such as dodge ball, hula hoops, and the beast had everyone laughing.

Living full days outdoors on the mountains, cycling uphill and down dale, rowing in strong water streams have nurtured the love of Australian nature among international Asian students. Spending nights in sleeping bags in cabins for five, has tightened the relationship among international students who have just gathered at Northcote from various regions of Vietnam, China, and Korea.


Rock climbing adventure

Breakfasts, teatimes, lunches, dinners were also time for sharing reflections, emotions, and understanding about cultural events. Among those funniest moments, campers cannot forget the stop at the Lolly shop at Marysville to buy candies, lollies, ice cream, and coke for refreshments. Various kinds of food such as chicken Vietnamese noodles (phở), hamburgers, lasagne, fried rice were served in the buffet to give the chance for eating and hanging out. All the campers were sad when the camp ended and we had to go back to our schoolwork. We would like to express our appreciation to the camp organizers and all students hope to have more time together for other camps. Much love to the international student office.

Jessica Le





International Student News 2019

International Student News 2017-2018

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