Hello everyone! My name is Ján Šimko and I work at Langports Sydney as an Administration Assistant. But I’m also a circus performer and a master student, trying to survive far away from home.
I left my home country of Slovakia right after high-school so I could get a proper degree abroad. I was exploring the unknown in a language I wasn’t even completely familiar with and people did let me feel that.
Throughout my whole life people have been commenting on my accent and some make you feel really unwelcome – as if you were an outsider, because your English isn’t perfect. But you know what? My Slovak is perfect. My English is good enough and I’m sure there are many of you who have even more languages to add to the mix!
Having “bad” or “flawed” English just means you can already speak two or more languages, and that’s more than most Australians can do!
I used to be embarrassed about my foreign languages (I also speak a little bit of French and Swedish) and my accents, feeling insecure about speaking up, so no one notices. But that’s so stupid! It just shows I’m learning, I’m working in different culture and instead of being ignorant, I am actually willing to get out of my comfort zone and study something I haven’t been born with!
You should never feel bad about your accent and it should never stop you from engaging with other people – because that’s also the only way your English can improve.
Studying abroad is tough, it’s challenging, it is a big change in every aspect of your life – and from my own experience, I found this especially true for living in Sydney. I already spent 2.5 years in Sweden and another 6 months in France prior to coming here, so I arrived full of expectations about this lovely country with big plans of how I would go to travel everywhere, how I would take a big road trip around the country and how I would be swimming in the ocean every weekend Ha!
A few months – or even weeks – after I got here, my money started running out and I was forced to find a job. I didn’t need to work before since the education fee in most of the Europe is for free. But I figured out it can’t be that hard to find something.
Well. My first job was at a construction/demolition company where I was sweeping floors, carrying bricks and inhaling unbelievable amounts of dust. In my team we were economists, surgeons, chefs and architects – all unable to find work in our industries despite having relevant experience (BUT outside of Australia).
When I started working at Langports, I was working at 4 different jobs while being artistic director for a circus society and also a full-time student, so trust me when I say: I know how does it feel to be busy.
Many of my friends fall in this vicious cycle of Australia when we have to work so we can keep studying, and we have to study so we can keep working, and you just go from one to the other with little time for yourself. Some of us can’t do it and their Australian dream is broken. Then they go home, but you know what?
This doesn’t last forever! If you keep going and do not give up, life will change one day, and you will be stronger than ever. And having worked hard and defeated everything that stood in your way, your life will suddenly be easy, more enjoyable and FUN!
I spent the hardest years of my life here, but it shaped who I am, and allowed me to acquire so much knowledge and experience. Nowadays, my life is finally settling down, I feel comfortable here with a decent apartment, great job and lots of friends – and it feels awkward to even consider I should leave this country forever. Australia is slowly becoming my home now.