STEPS AMEP Student Diary: Yan Li

Yan Li studies at STEPS AMEP because she enjoys learning something new every day. She moved to Darwin after marrying her Australian husband and has been living in Australia for almost a year now.

For the last eight months, Yan has been studying at STEPS Education and Training at Casuarina. When she first began studying at STEPS, she was nervous and a little unsure but by working hard and finding support from her teachers, she is now confident in her skills and looking for new challenges. With her study success and new goals set, Yan shares her journey so far.

Where did you live before coming to Australia?
I lived in Northeast China, Liaoning Province, city of Shenyang with a population of ten million people.

What was your life like before you moved to Australia?
I have been lucky with my life. I have been able to travel overseas to see the world. My first job in China was working at a post office bank. I have owned a business with my ex-husband. My last job in China was working with an agent to help people looking for aged care, childcare and home services.

What did you know about Australia before coming here?
I did not know much at all, but I knew Australia is a country that is green and has forests, blue skies and clean beaches. Australia is a country that Chinese students prefer to come to study.

What is your favourite part about living here?
My husband told me that ladies here are free and have rights. He is looking after me very well. I enjoy cycling with my husband around beach and bush. I enjoy being surrounded by green and I enjoy learning at STEPS. I am very happy, and I feel safe here in Australia.

What have been your biggest challenges in Australia?
Language and to drive on the other side of the road.

Who are you happy to have met in Australia? Why?
I am very glad to have met Sophie, from STEPS, at Rapid Creek market when I was shopping with my husband (after only being here a short time). It has changed my life. Through Sophie I have met teachers at STEPS. They have encouraged me to learn when I felt scared and wanted to give up, for that I thank them.

Can you describe your experience with STEPS AMEP?
I was studying English at a school in China. I can read and speak but it was limited. The first time I attended a class at STEPS I felt scared and lost, but teachers are very patient and keen to teach. I have been learning about English, history, culture and policies as well. I really enjoy learning at STEPS. During COVID- 19, STEPS did very well and as students we continued to learn online on Zoom. It was awesome!

What achievement are you most proud of?
The first day I joined STEPS for learning, I doubted that I could pass the assessment. It is so hard! But I am so proud of myself – to hold on and study without giving up. With the teachers’ help I have progressed.

What are your goals for the future?
I will still continue with my English. I am planning to study aged care, that will be my next step, to help older people.

What advice would you give someone who is new to Australia? What should they expect?
Be positive about your future and learn more English. That will help you understand more about Australia. NEVER GIVE UP!
They should expect Australia is a country where you have freedom of speech. A country with equality of human rights and respect. Don’t be afraid to ask people here for help and obey the law.

If you would like to further build your English language skills, STEPS AMEP can help. We have classes in Casuarina, Palmerston and Alice Springs. Call 1300 585 868 to find out more about classes in Casuarina and Palmerston and 08 8950 7600 for classes in Alice Springs.


The Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) is funded by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs

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STEPS AMEP student Sherry Haynes at her workStudent Support Officer Rachel Christo with students