Sydney Must-See’s

Sydney is undoubtedly one of the most iconic destinations in Australia. There are popular tourist spots that everyone automatically goes to see, but I wanted to fill you in on some lesser-known ones! First, I’ll cover the basics.

Famous Places in/around Sydney

The Sydney Harbour is packed to the brim with people from all over the world, and beholds the beauty of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.

You may have heard about the Sydney Bridge Climb, which is a pretty cool opportunity… BUT it will set you back a whopping $250 AUD for even the cheapest option. We all know our student budgets aren’t that flexible. So I’ll let you in on a pro tip: the Pylon Lookout.

Walk to almost the middle of the bridge, climb a few flights of stairs, and you’ll reach the Pylon Lookout! For only $10 AUD (saving you $200+!!!) with a student ID, you can have this AMAZING view of the bridge and city! That’s my kind of deal.

Hyde Park and the Royal Botanic Garden are other popular spots to check out that are definitely worth your time. The nice part is you can easily walk from each location!

Bondi Beach is an illustrious feature of Sydney. A short bus ride from the city will bring you to this dazzling town, where you can visit the famous Bondi Icebergs Club and soak up the sun. The Bondi to Bronte Coastal Walk is 6 km round trip and provides breathtaking views of the ocean and beaches. There is a nice cafe with delicious food in Tamarama where you can eat at a table right on the sand.

Spots in Sydney More Under the Radar

Observatory Hill Park is nestled right in the center of Sydney and holds panoramic views of the city, river, and bridge. It was noticeably less crowded than most of the other places I went this day, and I personally really enjoyed the relative peace and quiet. If you’re lucky, you might catch part an outdoor wedding being held!

The touristy coastal destination other than Bondi is typically Manly Beach. Take the path less traveled and go to Watson’s Bay instead! You can jump on a ferry right in the Harbour to get there, which provides a unique perspective of the city from the river. Once you reach Watson’s Bay, check out the skyline in the distance before walking through the park to get to the Federation Cliff Walk. There are awesome views and photo opportunities of the coast along the walk. After you’re done, head straight to Doyle’s on the Beach for some fish n chips!

Portsea: Hidden Gem near Melbourne

If you have an extended stay in Melbourne, there is another coastal destination to explore other than the Great Ocean Road.

The town of Portsea, Victoria is on the very tip of the Mornington Peninsula, directly across Port Phillip from the Melbourne CBD. It is a wealthy suburb that is a popular holiday location for Victorians.

There are absolutely beautiful beaches, such as Portsea Back Beach, and lots of options for other outdoor activities, such as walking tracks and footy. Attractions such as London Bridge and Fort Nepean can be found in Portsea.

There is a great selection of cafes and restaurants to choose from. If you enjoy sailing, make sure to check out the Portsea Surf Life Saving Club or the neighboring Sorrento Surf Life Saving Club. Portsea is a great option if you would like a weekend away from the city at the beach!

International Student Interview: Vu Truong

Vu on Adelaide Street in Brisbane city

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s your name?

  • Vu Truong

Where are you from?

  • Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

How many years have you worked before you came to Australia for study?

  • I graduated from 1998 and have worked for more than 15 years.

Why did you decide to come to Australia?

  • Because studying overseas is my dream. I choose Australia as I have family here.

What’s your favourite  place in Brisbane?

  • Brisbane CBD. I love the busy life, convenience, shopping places and work opportunities offered in CBD area.

Why did you choose to study business at QUT?

  • After comparing several universities, I find the accountancy faculty is better at QUT. Some people told me that the course here is more practical too.

Any tips for finding an internship?

  1. Focus on study first and get a good score; it will impress the employer
  2. Create an impressive resume which can reflect about yourself

Any tips for making friends?

  • Being friendly, attending classes and helping others as much as possible.

Fun Day Trip: Mount Ngungun

Looking to escape the library and get a little physical activity in? Want a better view than your final assignments on the computer screen? Grab a friend and take a short drive north of Brisbane to check out Mount Ngungun.

Mount Ngungun (pronounced ‘noo noo’) is a part of the Glass House Mountains, about an hour away from the city. The hike is easily doable for people of all physical abilities because it is not very challenging. Once you’re up at the top, soak in the view!

Maybe pack a snack or a picnic if you want to take your time and spend quality time with friends. The mountain is close enough to Brisbane that you can drive there, hike to the top and walk back down, and make it back to the city by lunchtime. If you want to make a nice day out the trip of though, the Sunshine Coast beaches are relatively close by!

Two Years in Australia

It has been almost two years since I came to Australia. I can’t believe how quick time flies!

It was a fast decision for me to come to Australia but it turned out to be a decision that I will never regret. On retrospect, the past two years have been colourful, fruitful even though sometimes challenging.

Brisbane City View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I still remember how nervous I was when I first arrived. My cousin took me to Indooroopilly shopping centre to get my bank card and mobile sorted, but I was too shy to speak English and I found it difficult to understand English.

Going overseas to study has always been my dream since high school, therefore I decided to get most out of my studies in Australia in the very beginning. So I joined a couple of clubs and went to as many events as I could where I met friends and practiced my English skills.

I kept myself very busy in my first year and was always outside. However I admit that I didn’t put enough time on study so I was really struggling at the end of my first year. Starting from this semester, I put more time and energy on study because this is the main purpose why I come all the way to Australia.

The place where I call home now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life here without family is not always smooth. I still remember how hard I tried to get a casual job, how depressed I was once while struggling to study and how much I missed talking to my old friends face to face.

Celebrating New Year in Fortitude Valley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a while, I finally found a balance between study, social and work although I still struggled sometimes. Meanwhile, living alone overseas taught me how precious family and friends are.

I start to cherish the free time I got and try to make the most of it, cherish the friends I met because it’s harder and harder to have a close friend when you grow older and study hard because it will bring more opportunities.

Now 6 months left until my graduation and I still have no idea where the future will lead me to especially when some of your friends already got jobs and you are still in the process of figuring out what to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just had a coffee catch up with one of my friends and we had the following conversation:

Me: Do you have anything that you regret or wish you could have done since you came to Australia?

L: Hmm, not really. In my first year I spent most of my time studying and wasn’t very active on campus. That’s probably the only thing. What about you?

Me: In my first year, I spent a lot of time attending events and being active on campus. I wish I could’ve studied more.

Our responses are like two sides of a coin and no matter which side we choose, we will miss the other side. But isn’t life like that? You can only choose once and no matter what you choose, it is your own life and experience. I never regretted what I chose and I’ll try to cherish all the experience and people upon encountering as every encounter is a once in a life time opportunity.

Exchange student interview: Juyeon Suh

Photo: Exchange student, Juyeon Suh from South Korea. Image taken at QUT Gardens Point Campus.

  • What university are you studying?

Ewha Womans University in South Korea.

  • How long was your exchange at QUT?

About 5 months.

  • What course were you studying at QUT?

My major is journalism. I took four classes at QUT. Three of them were about journalism and one of them was Australia Geography.

  • What do you learn from the exchange experience at QUT?

Australia is one of the most multi-cultural places in the world. A multi-cultural society is made up of people from various backgrounds and ethnicities. I could make friends of all different races and learn from them. It was really interesting to share each culture. By doing so, I became more open-minded. After studying in Australia, my perspective and thoughts are broadened.

Photo: Exchange student, Juyeon Suh. Image taken at Kangaroo Point Cliff.

  • What is the main difference do you find between QUT and your university?

Although Ewha Womans University provides students some discussion courses, the number of classes is too limited. Also, there are so many students in each class that students cannot have enough time to express their views. On the contrary, QUT has lots of discussion courses and the number of students in a class is small compared to mine. I was happy to express my opinion during the classes actively.

  • Any tips for the prospective exchange students?

I really recommend you to visit lots of places while studying abroad. Australia is really huge and has many different types of weather. It has many different environments inside. For me, Australia was a really great choice. I traveled lots of parts in Australia such as Alice Springs, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and so on. Each part has different feel and its own attraction. In addition, Australia has various kinds of animals, which are hard to find in other countries. I saw many kinds of kangaroos. There are also many koalas in Australia, it is easy for people to see them. Many of my Korean friends envy me that I could see them. QUT International Student Service also provides school trips for international students with resonable prices. I recommend you to check mails from QUT International Student Service.

Photo: Exchange student, Juyeon Suh. Image taken at Alice Springs.

International Student Interview: Yu-kai Chuang

Yukai with Brisbane Lord Mayor at International Student Friendship Ceremony

What’s your name?

  • Yu-kai Chuang

Where are you from?

  • Tainan, Taiwan

How long have you been in Australia?

  • Nearly two years

Why do you choose to study at QUT?

  • Because the weather in Brisbane is good, not as cold as Melbourne. And there are lot of things to do here compared with Perth and Darwin.

What do you do in your leisure time?

  • I usually go to shops for grocery and try new recipes. (me:you must be good at cooking)

What’s your favourite place on campus?

  • Level 4 in P block because there are sofas to take a nap.

What do you want to say to the incoming QUT students?

  • Enjoy your time before starting university because there will be lots of assignment coming soon, but it’s rewarding!

Cultural Exchange Trip at Japan

I was so lucky to grab the last spot to participate in the University life in Japan (Oceania) programme 2016 in December which hosted by Sonoda Women’s University.

Image: Sonoda Women’s University.

This is one of the best trips in my life so far. I kind of having some Japanese culture contact since young through anime and entertainment. I have been longing to travel to Japan for a long time. I was extremely excited for the long awaited trip when I received the email from David regarding to my successful application!

On the first day of the programme, David (the person in charge) fetched us from Kansai airport to our hotel at Amagasaki. The coach journey from Kansai airport to Hanshin Amagasaki station was so enjoyable due to the excellent scenery and introduction given by David along the way. David brought us to tour around Amagasaki and introduced us some places near our hotel. I can feel the kind hospitality of Japanese from the very first day of the trip. I feel like the living expenses at Japan is similar to Brisbane. However, I was so spoilt with the various options of food and products. On the other side, the size of the accommodation is much smaller if compared to Brisbane. Regarding to the transportation, the train lines there are very confusing so do bring a map with you in case you get lost. The buses are always on time so do arrive early at the bus stop if you can’t take the risk to miss the bus.

Image: The bus and train station near to our hotel.

Sonoda Women’s University doesn’t offer as many courses as QUT so the size of the campus is also much smaller compared to QUT. We don’t have the chance to explore the student accommodation because we were arranged to stay in the hotel nearby the campus during the program.

Image: The student accommodation of Sonoda Women’s University.

I always have the interest to learn Japanese language. I have the chance to learn some basic Japanese language during the cultural exchange programme at Sonoda Women’s University. Even though there is communication problem, however Fujiwara sensei tried her best to make the class become an interesting one for us. Now I am so proud of myself because I am able to introduce myself in Japanese language. The another class I enjoyed a lot is the Japanese crafts. We learnt to make some beautiful Japanese crafts and got to bring it home as well. We got the opportunity to be clad in two types of Kimono and also being introduced about Shinto and tea ceremony. It was an interesting experience indeed to learn about Japanese culture this way. I also got the chance to handmade ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi) and savoured it after that. It tastes so yummy and I am craving for it now.

Image: The group photo with the professor and staffs of International Students Department at Sonoda Women’s University on the first day of the programme.

Image: Having fun during Japanese craft class.

Image: Our very first Kimono experience.

Image: Having been introduced about Shinto by the priest and trying on the red and white kimono.

Image: Ichigo daifuku aka strawberry mochi making lesson conducted by the students.

The two highlights of the short-term program are the visit to primary and junior high school and the homestay at Ojiro. I am so impressed by the friendliness and discipline been cultivated in Japanese since the young age. I had so much fun while spending time with the adorable and polite students. During the homestay at Ojiro, we were so lucky to see the snow. My first snow in life was so beautiful and I will forever remember it in heart. I have been assigned to homestay at a sensei family consists of grandmother, father, mother and two little girls. My host father is a vice-principal of a primary school and my host mother is a primary school teacher at Ojiro. My two little host sisters are studying at their high school and junior high school separately. My host father tried his best to communicate with me in English and introduced me Japanese culture in English as well even though he is not familiar with the language. I got to know more about ‘yukigassen’ (snowball fighting) from him as he is one of the judge for the game. I had wonderful time spending with the family and also the visit to the primary and junior high school at Ojiro. I will definitely plan my visit to Ojiro again whenever there is a chance.

Image: The drama performance by junior high school students.

Image: My host family at Ojiro.

Image: The scenery outside of the house of my host family.

Even though the program schedule is quite packed, we still have the time to do some travelling.

The following photos are the scenery where we managed to arrange the time to travel to.

Photo: Osaka Shinsaibashi.

Image: View taken from Tsutenkaku Tower.

Image: Street view at Kyoto.

Image: Kobe Port Tower.

I am grateful for being one of the members for this cultural exchange programme. This trip gave me so many wonderful cultural exchange experiences. I cherish the rapport relationship we forged among the members and also with the host family. Big thanks to Sonoda Women’s University and the host family for hosting us so well at Japan. And also thanks QUT Global for giving us such a good opportunity to have this type of experience during our university journey. It made this trip possible for me with the bursary provided by QUT.

Image: The group photo taken at our farewell party.

I collaged some small clips during the trip into a video, here is the link for you if you are interested to know more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wptNWklDOKs&feature=youtu.be

My first skydiving experience

I have always wondered what it would be like to fly. As a kid, I used to pretend that I was a bird, an airplane or anything that flew through the air.

Skydiving has always been of interest to me as a natural consequence of my desire to fly. I have always wanted to do it, but never thought I will be able to do it.

Well, during the Easter break, I had an opportunity to visit Whitsunday Islands with my friends. We spent the whole week there, exploring the islands, skydiving, snorkelling, ocean rafting, visiting Airlie beach, Boat haven beach and White haven beach, which is clearly the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

I got to fly for the first time, and it wasn’t by riding in an airplane. It was by jumping out of one from 14,000 ft. high which is my biggest adventure till date! My friend took an initiative and booked our slot at Skydive in Airlie beach, Whitsunday Islands. We got the 11:00 AM slot. I reached the place by 10:30 AM hoping to return with my mission accomplished.

Check in at the reception

I checked in at the reception and completed the paperwork, where you basically sign your life away and waive the Tandem of any liability in the event of a mishap (injury or death). I had to sign the waiver that I already read all the safety rules and watched their video and responsible for my life. I also paid money for photos and video.

As I came out of the reception, I looked at the sky. The weather was very unpredictable. Kept on changing from being sunny to cloudy, rainy with cool breeze. But, I was lucky enough that the weather was perfect when my turn came. It was clear, blue and sunny with cool breeze. I thanked God for that beautiful time and prayed that it should not change till my jump.

Diverting mind 

Before your turn comes, you will have endless time of the world to think about anything you want to divert your mind from freaking out. I was chilling with my friend getting our endless pictures clicked as if it would be the last day of my life. No matter whatever the time of your Tandem slot is given, you will have to wait for at least minimum 2-3 hours depending upon miscellaneous reasons (be it weather conditions, etc.). You will see a number of people climbing the airplane and landing through parachute.  Videographers and photographers would be clicking their endless pictures, family and friends would be waiting on the ground. You will get fascinated in 2-3 take-offs and parachute landings and be desperately waiting for your turn.

Waiting for announcement of your name to dress up and instructions 

As soon as I heard my name, I was waiting for my instructor who came in few minutes and introduced himself. He gave me the jump suit to dress myself over my clothes. The jump suit was little loose, but then my instructor fixed it and it was looking fine. Later, my instructor gave me 5 minutes of Skydiving instructions – cross arms, head back, knees bent and jump. One tap on the shoulder is a sign to open your arms. Second instruction is to bring the arms close to chest as the parachute opens and knees bent for landing.

My friend and I are all set to go to the boarding place!

All set to fly

Within 15 minutes, my instructor took me to the airplane boarding area. He took the interview video of me and my friend and asked several questions whether we were nervous or it was our first jump etc. He instructed me to look up while diving and smile in front of the camera, look for his sign when he will give me to hold his hand and I have to let him go as per his sign. I wasn’t nervous that time. I was feeling very excited as if I was going to war front to save my country.

Ready for interview?

Time to take the jump

Luckily, my friend and I were in the same plane. I was about to climb. By now, I knew that it was the time of no turning back and not freaking out as now universe also conspires me to jump! We’re in. The door closes. We’re off. Squashed into two benches that face each other. At 10000 ft., my heart was beating fast and I was little nervous, trying to overcome my fear by smiling and looking out of the window. It was looking surreal from the airplane window.

Smile and Tension at the same time!

At 14000 ft., my instructor nudged me towards the open door. As soon as I saw my friend jumping out of the plane, I was fascinated by that sight. The plane ride lasted for almost 20 minutes.Standing at the edge of the door and looking out at the vast openness below, I must trust you believe that I am not trying to fake any sense of bravado when I say that I felt no fear. There was no expression on my face – no anxiety, no tension. I was utterly devoid of pain, grief and worry. I felt no affliction of the mind or the soul.

Beautiful view!

I looked out upon that beautiful view and was surprised to feel complete peace within myself. In that moment, I felt like I owned the world. I could feel the cool air on my face with the speed of more than 200 mph as if it was welcoming me. However, I only remembered my instructions. You might be thinking how I could forget such important instructions, but it happens because of tension! Thanks to my instructor who bend my head on his shoulder within fraction of seconds before our jump.

Thanks to my instructor!

Sixty second free fall

The first few seconds seemed to be a blur due to the sensory overload. But once we achieved terminal velocity, it was incredible. There was no falling sensation, the kind that one experiences in a roller coaster. Rather it was almost as if we were floating on a cushion of air. I know that this is the moment everyone will be waiting for – the 60 second free fall. I had to hold my instructor’s hand but the air was very powerful and I wasn’t able to hold his hands. He managed to capture our close-up shots.

Freefall

Parachute and Landing

60 seconds later, he launched the parachute and I found myself peacefully floating towards the drop zone. I hear his voice in my ear as he loosens my goggles, unfastens the harness and asks if I’m alright. Suffice to say, that it was exhilarating. My instructor asked me if I wanted some spins on Parachute, I said No!

The parachute ride down took around 7 minutes and the landing was incredibly soft. Wow, this experience was nothing like I had imagined. It was the best moment of my life and I couldn’t express it in words!

After my jump, I spent a while chatting with my instructor about the dive, I thanked him and gave him a big hug. I got out of the equipment and returned the jumpsuit. I believe that my first skydive has thrust me a little closer to my existence and changed my perspective about the world. It is an experience that I hope to undertake many more times and shall never forget my first jump experience. Maybe, I will be doing my second jump soon but first jump is always special.

If you haven’t tried skydiving, I strongly urge you to try it once. It is definitely a life changing experience you’ll live throughout your life!

 

The RoundUp

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Hear from one of our students

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QUT offers a range of international support services to help our international students reach their academic and career goals!

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Hear from Sandeepa, a Sri Lankan QUT scholar

“Brisbane is a multicultural city with friendly people. It is definitely a wonderful city for one’s higher education. My scholarship adds so much to my university experience. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the College of Excellence, which conducts personal development programs. These programs help me to improve a wide array of skills, which will be important for my career in the future.”
Sandeepa Fernando, QUT Science and Engineering student and International Merit Scholarship recipient

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Get sporty!

Our friends at Insider Guides shared a great article about why it’s important to get involved in sport while studying in Australia! It is a fun way to make new friends and unwind during exam time.

QUT has lots of sporting clubs for you to choose from!

Find a sporting club

QUT Open Day in July

If you’re already in Brisbane, then why not come along to our QUT Open Day to be held on 30 July, 2017.
It is a great opportunity to experience our QUT Gardens Point campus and chat to current students and staff about courses, uni life, and careers.

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Real opportunities while studying

At QUT you can experience Work Integrated Learning (WIL) while studying. WIL program connects students with industry through their chosen courses.
This may involve a work placement, an industry based project, or an internship.

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