Life in Australia Student life

Sharing food and thoughts with my multicultural roommates

The idea started when I met all my roommates, who are from many different cultural identities. This was the first time in 6 months that all the rooms in my unit had been occupied which was very exciting. When I had a quick first chat with my new roommates, I found out that three of them were from Taiwan and one from Malaysia. They all had moved from just the opposite side of the building I’m living in.


Me and my Taiwanese roommates (the Malaysian is too shy to be on camera)
As a keen food lover staying home during the lockdown was tough. I thought it would be a great idea to start out our friendship with a beautiful dinner. Inspired by one of my friends from Taiwan, I decided to prepare a typical Taiwanese meal, sesame chicken, and three other local dishes.
I wanted to make it a surprise, so I didn’t tell them about dinner.  After they unpacked their luggage and set up their bedrooms, they came out and discovered that dinner was ready. They were amazed and immensely appreciated it.  With many happy faces around the table, and endless conversations, I knew I had already made four great friendships.
A weekly feast 
We have continued to have a weekly food sharing dinner on Friday nights since we all have busy schedules. Each of us will prepare a dish that represents our home country, which makes it very interesting.
A great cultural experience
Having these weekly dinners has been a great way to get to know my roommates better and learn more about their different cultural backgrounds. I have never lived with people from other cultures before, so it’s been a totally new experience for me and one I would definitely recommend. Thanks to this special meal, we are developing great relationships that are beyond just roommates. It has been a while, probably six weeks since the first dinner was held, and now I can proudly say that we have become a family, despite coming from different cultural identities and speaking different languages.
Tips to other students living with different cultures
Respect is the priority for building a positive relationship. During our weekly dinners, we have shared a lot about our cultures, which include the ‘do’s and ‘do not’s. This has helped us understand each other more reducing conflicts and misunderstandings.
I would recommend that if English is the common speaking language, to make sure that you all speak in English. This makes everybody feel included in that conversation and creates a shared learning experience as we can all practise our English together, even with our Australian friends. For example, if you are in a group with your Australia friends and people from non-English speaking backgrounds, you should speak English to make everyone feel included.

Below are some recipes for my surprise dinner.

Sesame chicken

1 x Whole Chicken,

2 soup spoons sesame oil

5 tablespoons of soybean sauce,

4 tablespoons of raw sugar

1 cup of water,

your favourite side vegetable

Mix the sugar, water and soybean sauce and put it into the hot pan. Cut the chicken and fry it till medium cooked, then let it simmer for 15 minutes. Finally, put your favourite vegetables in and stir for another 3 minutes.

Stir-fried vegetables

2 slices of Garlic

1 coffee spoon of sea salt

1 coffee spoon of raw sugar

An Iceberg lettuce or your favourite vegetable

Preheat the pan, put sliced garlic and a few oils in it. Put the cut vegetables in the pan then add salt and sugar. Stir for 4 minutes, finished!

Silverfish steam eggs

1/4 ozs Silverfish

2 eggs

2 eggs volume of water

Mix them and steam with boiling water about 4 -7 minutes.


Hi, my name is William and I come from Guangzhou China. I love traveling, doing sports, and meeting people from different cultural backgrounds. I'm also a bit of an adventurer, I like to experience new things, as well as writing and reading. I decided to go to Australia to fulfill my dream of becoming independent and learning something new. Currently, I'm studying for a Master of Education something that I really enjoy. I'm a hardworking and motivated person who wants to share my experience of studying and living in Brisbane and hopefully inspire others to study overseas.

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