Joao and Theo: Tennis Excellence at Miami State High School
"I would definitely recommend staying in Queensland because it was the best one year of my life!" Theo from Switzerland
Miami State High School (SHS) is well known for its close proximity to top surf spots and beaches, but now its Tennis Excellence program is also a big hit with international students.
The Tennis Excellence program[i] offers students a holistic approach to developing their technical and tactical skills, focus, fitness and nutrition, and provides a personalised learning pathway to enhance career opportunities in the sport.
Students accepted into the program attend three 70-minute lessons per week on the school's tennis courts, plus additional sessions outside of curriculum time. They also benefit from access to nationally accredited coaches, biomedical stroke analysis and performance tracking.
Study Abroad students Theo from Switzerland and Joao from Brazil took part in the program over the past year. Theo confirmed it was a major influence on his choice of school.
"I wanted a school where I could play tennis and was pretty close to the beach; if you put those two things together Queensland and Miami State High School were the absolute perfect option", he said.
Being close to the beach was important to both Theo and Joao, so they were very happy to live in homestays close to the water throughout their studies: Theo at Burleigh Waters and Joao at Mermaid Beach.
The students tried surfing through the free surf lessons available to all new international students at Miami SHS, and they loved exploring some of Australia's other iconic beaches.
"I chose Queensland and specifically the Gold Coast because I loved the pictures that I saw of its beaches and of Miami High", Joao explained.
"My favourite memory of my time at Miami High is when we had a day trip to Byron Bay and we snorkelled there".
Joao and Theo said the school made it easy for them to make friends when they arrived.
"My best memory was probably when I first arrived and met all the new people that I have never seen before", Theo said.
"Because there were so many international students that also didn't have friends it was easy for me to make friends".
"In the beginning, it was easier to get closer to international students, but later in the program I also made some Australian friends", Joao said.
Both students said they enjoyed the differences between Miami SHS and their schools at home.
"It's really different. In a classroom in my country we usually have 40 or 50 students and here it is usually half of that", Joao said.
"At home you cannot choose your own subjects, but here you have the choice of what you want to do. For me that was a huge difference," said Theo.
Before they left Queensland to return to their home countries, we asked them how their EQI Study Abroad experience will benefit them in the future.
"I absolutely think that it helps a lot", Theo said of his year-long stay.
"Not only do you learn and improve [in] a new language, you get a lot of experience in life".
"You meet tonnes of new people, make a lot of friendships and you get to learn about a whole new culture".
Joao said his six-month program definitely had a positive impact.
"Yes, for sure; the months that I've been here have changed me in many ways, but the most important is that it's made me much more independent".
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[i] Please note that an annual fee is payable before a student commences in the Tennis Excellent program and for each subsequent year that they take part. The fee for 2019 is $500 per semester.