Experiencing Adelaide a la Jeff and Sue Catchlove
Jeff and Sue Catchlove with Alejandro Román There’s nothing like a backyard barbie or meat pie to open up the conversation and help our overseas students feel at home in Australia.
Mexican student Alejandro Román arrived in Adelaide a year ago and soon experienced both, courtesy of alumnus Jeff Catchlove and his wife Sue.
Alejandro is studying a Masters of Engineering, specialising in mining, at the University of Adelaide and has enjoyed a number of local experiences while being introduced to the Australian way of life by the Catchloves.
They met through the Experience Adelaide program which matches international students with alumni and staff in our university community.
“As long-term South Australians, we feel proud and privileged to live here and want our visitors to share the enjoyment and benefits of experiencing such a pleasant place and lifestyle. Experience Adelaide provides a wonderful opportunity for overseas students to get a little insight into daily life for locals,” says Jeff.
Jeff and Sue have been part of the program since 2014 when it started and so far have met with three other students from Kuala Lumpur, Zimbabwe and Indonesia.
“The level of contact and the types of activities they have shared with the students have been quite different, but this is very typical for the program which allows participants to self-regulate the contact and activities according to how much time they have, their interests and other needs,” explains Experience Adelaide Program Manager, Annette Wheatley.
Through time spent with Jeff and Sue, Alejandro has enjoyed a number of local places and Australian experiences. They include Hahndorf, where they stopped at Otto’s Bakery for a pastie and pie, Semaphore beach, the Sculpture Symposium in the Adelaide Hills, several wineries, a tree planting day in Second Valley and, of course, the backyard barbeque.
“It’s absolutely imperative that everybody experiences an Australian barbeque,” says Sue. “Jeff is an excellent chef and I think it’s important they try Australian lamb.”
Alejandro says the time he has shared with Jeff and Sue has been positive and enhanced his stay in Australia. He’s thankful for the opportunity to study here to increase his opportunities as a mining engineer and allow him to support his family – mum, dad and two sisters.
“You do get a bit homesick, like at Christmas time it was hard being away from my family... but you can always find very nice people and places that you can go,” he says.
“I’ve really loved spending time with Jeff and Sue and I’m very thankful – the time I’ve spent with them has made time away from home a little bit lighter.”
Although the final year of his masters is a busy time, Alejandro, Jeff and Sue continue to catch-up.
Next on the menu is some Mexican culture with a home cooked meal from Alejandro.
“I promised last time we had an Australian barbeque that I was going to cook a Mexican meal for them, just not too spicy,” he says.
More volunteers are needed to help the University meet demand for the program. For more information email email@example.com
Experience Adelaide Fast Facts
>738 new international students from 60 countries have participated in the program
>379 alumni, staff and students have welcomed international students to our state
>94% of the volunteers say they will recommend the program to others
Story by Kelly Brown
Photo by Russell Millard