Paying a welcome visit to Bundoora recently was Joshua Su, a final year Parade College student of the class of 2015, fresh from two year’s mandatory national service in his birth country Singapore.

Shortly, Joshua resumes studies at the University of Melbourne, with a view to completing a Bachelor of Science degree and maybe majoring in mathematics and statistics. For the moment though, the old College beckoned, and Josh took full advantage of a personal tour of the new Nash Learning Centre and the Year 12 Learning Space, courtesy Association Secretary Mirella Busso-Lee.

“One of the major differences I can see is in areas like the Nash Learning Centre, which is technologically-based so that students can work from their laptops and iPads rather than their desktops,” Joshua said.

“What hasn’t changed is the atmosphere of Parade. I could just sense the close friendships around me and the banter ever present amongst the boys which I think is special to the College. That was one of the things I most enjoyed in my time at Parade, the banter with the boys.

“I also got to say hello to most of the teachers who taught me in all my year levels. I had to stop every ten metres to say hi to someone who taught me. It was good to see Mr Bradley Paul, a teacher now, but formerly a Year 12 student when I was here.”

Joshua joined his family in migrating to Australia in early 2009, on the eve of what was his Grade Six year at Mill Park Heights Primary School. The following year he donned the purple, green and blue, and called Parade home until the end of 2015 when the then College Vice-Captain completed Year 12.

Reflecting on his arrival in early ’09, Joshua readily admitted that a sense of isolation prevailed through those first three or four months. “Leaving behind my friends throughout my early years was a bit devastating to start with but it’s all about the mindset you have that determines your new experience. For me I tried to keep a positive mindset in coming Australia which has been a great thing for me,” he said.

The past two years saw Joshua commit to both the Singaporean Army and Navy, during which time he took charge of 40 men as platoon commander.

“Both services posed their respective challenges I had to overcome, and during my time in National Service I was deployed to five different countries – Thailand, India, Taiwan, Brunei and Australia,” he said.

“There were no regrets with national service and if you asked me whether I’d do it again I’d say yes in a heartbeat. The lessons learned in the military will always stick with you. It makes you a better person in terms of time management, discipline and preparation. You are also committed to work with people of different races and backgrounds which translates well into the real world where you have to get along with people different to you.”

Joshua intends to remain permanently in Australia to hopefully complete his degree (maybe with an Honors and Masters) before ultimately joining the workforce.

Whatever fate decrees, he is truly grateful for what Parade gave him, and it’s little wonder he looks back on his time at Bundoora with genuine gratitude.

“One of the earliest things I did at Parade was to volunteer for Eddie’s Big Brekkie Van every Tuesday morning, which gave me the first chance to interact with people of different social backgrounds,” Joshua said.

“With Parade itself being such a diverse and multi-racial school, I understood very early that there are no race boundaries, that we’re all human and that we’re here to work together.”