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About Aubrey

In 2015 I came to Australia and became an international student here. Ever since then I started my journey of getting more engaged in university, seeking internship and making more friends. I always strive to live in the moment because time is really short for us international students!

How I landed an internship in Singapore

It has been two weeks since I started my internship at EY Singapore. This was not an easy start because I arrived to a new country by myself and I didn’t really know what to expect. The feeling I got when I first arrived Singapore was somewhat similar compared to when I first landed in Australia.

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Unveil the Mysterious QUT Confucius Institute

The Confucius Institute is a non-for-profit organisation which aims to promote Chinese language and culture. QUT Confucius Institute was established in 2008, the first in Queensland. It has worked with both QUT and local schools to deliver educational workshops and Chinese language classes.

 

While studying in China, I had heard about the Confucius Institute program where you can go overseas to teach Chinese. I was very interested in this opportunity, however, you need a teaching degree to be able to apply, so I wasn’t eligible.

After studying in Australia, I realised QUT has a Confucius Institute and I emailed them to show my interest in volunteering because I’m still very keen to teach Chinese even though I’m studying business. ( If you are also interested in volunteering, you can just email confucius.institute@qut.edu.au. )

One event that I participated in this year is Queensland Chinese Speech competition where both primary, middle and high school students from various parts of Queensland attended. They were grouped by age and background (being Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking). I was very surprised to see the big turnout of both students and parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While volunteering as a floater in the competition room, I also got the chance to sit and listen to students’ speech. Some students stumble, others very fluent. Regardless of it, I can see how much effort they put in learning another language and how much support the peers show to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, QUT Confucius Institute hosted a thank-you event to thank the efforts all the volunteers put in during this year. Some previous volunteers also showed up and they now teach Chinese in local schools. So if you are a teaching/education student and are interested in gaining some experience, start with being a volunteer at Confucius Institute because they have a lot of teaching opportunities and collaboration with Queensland schools.

All the lovely volunteers and teaching staffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you are interested in learning Chinese, QUT Confucius Institute run basic Chinese classes every week. 🙂

Solo Trip to Thailand

Holiday is coming soon! I’m sure some of my dear readers have getaway trips planned already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While studying in Australia, it is very popular to travel to South-east Asia during the holiday period. Some of the budget airlines like Air Asia and Jetstar always have deals to popular travel destinations such as Thailand, Bali and Malaysia.

I know it sounds like cliché but travelling does bring invaluable experience and make you more organised, independent and confident.

QUT offers students a one-week mid-semester break each semester. Earlier this year, I decided to take this opportunity and travel to Thailand for 9 days.

Bangkok left me with an impression of being busy, hot and crowded. I had a pretty funny bus experience: As you may or may not know, the traffic in Bangkok is pretty bad especially during the rush hour. Both the driver and ticket officer of the bus I was on had a newspaper with them. When the bus was stuck in the traffic, the driver started reading newspaper and seemed pretty chilled in the middle of all the cars just like reading in his backyard. Although many tourists choose to take cabs or metros while traveling, getting on a bus really gave you a sense of how local people live. So highly recommended!

 

 

One thing I enjoyed most while touring around Bangkok was taking the ferry along Chao Phraya River. Chao Phraya is the major river in Thailand which flows though Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand.

 

 

The price varies a lot between taking a river cruise and taking a normal ferry. The river cruise is much more expensive with a tour guide while the normal ferry is cheaper with lots of locals on it.

Along the river, you will get the chance to see many famous tourist destinations like The Temple of Dawn and Wat Pho. For me, I enjoy observing the local people more than checking out the Buddha statues. There are usually three people working on the ferry: driver, ticket officer and boat guy.

 

 

Every time when the ferry is about to stop at a station, the boat guy would jump off the ferry and pull the rope of the ferry to get the boat close to the pier so people would get on. I was so amazed by the efficient speed of him and how hard-working he was.  You need to be quick, have strength and endure the heat of the sun. Especially when I think the boat guy is much younger than me, I feel so lucky that I could get the chance to study overseas and hope he could or would get a chance of higher education too.

Another amazing part of the trip was that during the trip I made friends with people from all over the world. There were a lot of other backpackers and solo travelers, so making friends was very easy. However, you do need to be careful and make good judgement while travelling by yourself.

 

 

In my next blog, I will talk about some tips on solo travelling. I hope you can all nail the final assessment and enjoy the upcoming holiday. Until next time!

Officially Graduating!

When I first arrived Australia in July 2015, I literally had no idea what to expect. Studying in Australia was a prompt decision but my impression of Australia back then was limited to kangaroos, koalas and surfing.

The first day in Australia have left me with a vivid memory. I was new to this country and couldn’t even communicate properly in English while trying to open a new account at a local Commonwealth bank.

Things started to get better after joining student clubs, volunteering as a student mentor and talking to people in the class. Now looking back at the past 2.5 years at QUT, I don’t think I have any regrets! I made good use of all the resources at QUT and met incredibly nice people that I look up to.

I went on 3 short-term exchanges, attended 1 conference as a QUT delegate and went for 2 international travels just by myself.

Exchange to Japan @ Sonoda Women’s University

The beautiful winter spent @ Fulda, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of this month, the grades of the final two subjects was released and that’s when I finally felt graduation is so real and so soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Although there aren’t always happiness and success while studying overseas, especially when you have no family here, the 2-year study life in Australia definitely made me feel more confident and mature as a person. I feel that I’m more comfortable to work with people from different countries and have a genuine interest in the world.

However, due to internship commitment, I won’t be able to attend my graduation ceremony. In spite of that, I don’t feel so bad because I enjoyed every second whilst living in Australia. The process itself means celebration for me!

“Graduation is a time of completion, of finishing, of an ending, however, it is also a time of celebration of achievement and a beginning for the new graduate.” 

                                                                   Catherine Pulsifer 

All the best to my fellow students who are also graduating this semester! I wish you a bright future ahead!

Checking out GOMA’s latest exhibition

 

 “I’m just another dot in the world”

— Yayoi Kusama

 

 

From now until 11 February 2018, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) showcase the artwork of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Among them, the mirror room and the obliteration room are two of her most famous masterpieces.

Yayoi was born in Japan into an affluent family and she developed an interest for art at a young age. However, she didn’t get along well with her parents and refused for her life goal to be marrying a rich man. Being diagnosed as mentally unstable, her doctor suggested her to go to New York where she worked long hours and made her name well-known in the art world. Due to illness, she eventually returned Tokyo, Japan and chose to live in a mental institution and kept working in a studio nearby until this day.

It wasn’t until I got home from seeing the exhibition with friends that I started doing a little bit research about this artist. Before then, I only knew that Yayoi was a contemporary artist incorporating polka dots into her work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Mirror Room

If you ask me to use one word to summarize my experience with the mirror room, I would say “infinity”. While polka dots were an important element in most of her artwork, she took it to the next level in the mirror room where you were immersed into darkness and infinite life and feel a sense of happiness as well as smallness in the endless space.

Walked into the mirror room and feel myself a part of it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is another mirror room where you see it as an observer through a hole. The lights change and all you see is infinity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Obliteration Room

This is an interactive project of Yayoi where the whole room was completely white at the beginning. Visitors were handed a sheet of stickers and they can go in and put it anywhere they want.

‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’ Picture from the Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time I visited the exhibition, the room has already transformed from the minimalist style into an explosion of color, with thousands of stickers over pretty much every available surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process is fun for me as a participant who has little art background. But now looking back, I can related to what Yayoi said:”I’m just another dot”. The stickers that I put on might eventually be covered by others. I’m colorful yet so small in this big world.

 

Even though I’m not a huge art fan, learning Yayoi’s story of how her conquered mental illness, made a mark in a foreign country by hard work and stayed creative at an old age made me feel really touched.

Not only did I see a sense of struggle, explosion and perseverance, I also admire Yayoi as a person who never give up and is brave enough to pursue her own dreams in spite of all the  hardship!

Attending the International Student Farewell Party With Friends

It is getting closer and closer to the graduation. Last Friday, QUT International Student Services organised a farewell party for graduating international students with performance, games and food.

 

 

 

 

 

It was hosted in the newly renovated OJ Wordsworth room which is located on the top of S block with a stunning view over the Brisbane river.

The turnout was really good. Nearly 70 students showed up and everybody seemed to enjoy the entertainment and food.

 

 

 

QUT Dance Society brought us a live dance show.

 

 

 

 

 

 

QUT Aca-demics  showed us how beautiful pure vocal could be!

 

I met a lot of familiar faces there including classmates and friends to ISS staffs whom I worked with previously. We talked a lot about our plans after graduation. Some of my friends already have a job lined up after graduation while others are still looking.

In the past two years, not only did I learn from class, I also learnt a lot from my friends who showed me what perseverance, hardworking and never giving up means. One of my friends worked in Shanghai for almost seven years before coming here for further study to get a career change. In China, there are not a lot of mature age students because the society pressure you a lot to make a complete new start especially after turning 30.  During her days in Brisbane, she joined a lot of activities on campus, volunteered and maintained a good GPA. She really inspired me.

Another friend of mine was actively seeking for jobs for almost one year with no success, but he was determined to not give up. At the end of the this semester, a small accounting firmed asked accounting students from QUT to send them video resumes. My friend took this opportunity and sent a a great video which stood out from all the applications. He got the job eventually which is well-deserved!

Me with my friends who are in the same course with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another group photos with old and new friends. We all studied accounting and are graduating this semester!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting the mentor awards was actually a surprise for me. I still remembered that in the first year I volunteered for International Student Services during the orientation and met so many like-minded people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now looking back, I actually did a lot while at QUT besides studying. I’m also pretty sure that some of my friends will turn out to be very successful because they demonstrated  really good traits whilst studying. My friends, thank you so much for teaching me through your own examples and I will work hard just like you guys do!

Plan after Graduation: Return Home Country or Stay in Australia?

Today I handed in my last assignment which gave me a bittersweet feeling — only one exam left until I graduate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the graduation season is approaching, I got asked quite a few times from family and friends what my plan is after finishing study. To be honest, I’m still not too sure.

I remember before I left China, I was super excited and decided that I would stay in Australia and find a job there because of the good weather, great beaches and higher paying jobs than my home country. Now two years have passed and I start feeling unsure what I’m going to do or where I’m going to go.

I haven’t worked in China, but got told how fast it is developing and how many opportunities there are. I remember last time when I was doing training for the dragon boat race, a friend of mine who just went on a business trip to Shanghai said: “OMG, so many big deals are happening right now in China!”. It made me really tempted to go back and be part of this rapid change. The thought of joining the booming market made me feel excited.

However, I also have concerns about going back. First of all, there are so many Chinese students returning home every year. Some of them graduated from top universities from all over the world. Therefore, if I go back, I have to compete with all those top talents to get a good job which make me feel very pressured. Secondly, regardless of the chance of getting a good job, I’m not too sure whether I will like the fast pace and busy lifestyle in the finance industry back home.

On the other hand, working in Australia sounds both exciting and full of uncertainty. Will Iget a job? What I should do? Will I stay here forever? I heard from my friends who have already graduate that getting a job, a good one, here in Australia is very hard. As an international student, you sometimes might feel left out among your colleagues because of different lifestyle and communication barriers. However, the work life balance is definitely better compared with China.

Even though I had two years to think about my future plan and career path while studying overseas, I’m still not too sure where I should go. I think time will tell what choice I should make, but for now, I will follow my heart!

Working Overseas ?

When you think about working overseas, does the idea excite you or terrify you? 

For me, working overseas has always been on my to-do list since I finished high school. Growing up in a small town in rural Shanghai, I wanted to go outside my hometown and see what opportunities are out there. When I was 19, I went abroad for the first time to the United States where I got the chance to see another side of the world. This really intrigued me to think: what do people do in another country and how culture can shape the personality of a person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure most of you really want to step out of your comfort zone and experience something different from your current environment. But some of you might think: “Oh I don’t have the money to go overseas.””I really want to go but no one is going with me.” or “How can I work overseas while I can’t get a working visa?”.

Well, I’ve seen many people overcame all the obstacles and supported themselves financially while working overseas. How? I’ll share with you some of the ways I tried or am planning to try out in order to work in another country.

As an organisation dedicated to provide students with internship and volunteering opportunities with overseas partners, AIESEC helps students seek overseas employment. While some of the jobs are volunteering based, there are paid roles as well. Most universities in Australia have an AIESEC branch or student club on campus, make sure to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Teach English

If you speak English as your mother tongue or are confident about your English skills, there are whole tons of opportunities to go overseas and teach English, whether be in China, Thailand or Spain.

At first I had this impression that you have to speak English as your first language to be eligible to apply. However, I later found out that this is not necessary. Some of the organisations are open to candidates who don’t speak English as their native language. In addition, there are pros if English is not your first language because you went through the process of learning English and know well what teaching approach is more effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just did a key word search on QUT Career Hub and a lot of teaching positions pop up!

  • Working Holiday

This is probably one of the most common ways people choose to work overseas. While studying and travelling in Australia, I met so many people coming to Australia to work as well as having a holiday. The only downside about this that I can think of is that most jobs offered to working holiday visa holders are in the field of hospitality. If you are looking for professional jobs, it might be hard to get one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply for an internship

For some multinational companies that have offices across the world, they are more open to candidates from overseas. In the area of accounting which is my major, some of the accounting firms like Ernest & Young welcome interns from overseas universities and give support in obtaining a working visa. So it is worth doing some research and just apply!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a passion to work overseas and experience something different in this ever-changing global world, just do it! Many people have done it! I’m sure we can do it too!

Celebrating Chinese Culture – Mid Autumn Festival

Mid-autumn Festival is widely celebrated in many Asian counties to celebrate the season of harvest. In China, this festival is a time where families get together to enjoy the beautiful moon and eat sweet mooncakes.

This year, Mid-autumn Festival happens to be during the Chinese National Day period so that Chinese people get a long holiday of 8 days. Most of my friends back in China choose to go overseas for holiday or return to their home town to spend time with their family.

On the other side of the world, myself as an international student in Australia decided to celebrate this festival with the QUT community. I’m so glad that Mid-autumn Festival is one of the flagship events at QUT where students can come to enjoy the cultural performance as well as taste free mooncakes.

 

 

 

 

 

The celebration event included Chinese Tai Chi, traditional Chinese musical instrument performance, lantern-making, calligraphy workshop as well as lion dance. As the venue was located near the Goodwill Bridge, a lot of passengers passing by was attracted by the music and came to join the festival together with students.

 

 

 

 

 

Even though I cannot be at home to celebrate this festival together with family, I don’t feel lonely because Brisbane is so multicultural. I felt a sense of community seeing so many people coming together to attend this event, whether international students or domestic students.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mid-autumn Festival marks the end of autumn and the celebration of harvest. This period at university is also almost the end of the semester. Dear friends, let’s study hard, get through this busy period and celebrate the harvest of our effort soon!

Experience QUT Day

Experience QUT Day is an event organised for international Year 11 and 12 students studying  in Australia. Students can get an insight of what it is like to study at QUT and also network with other high school students.

Even though it was raining, about 70 students showed up to the event, some coming all the way from Gold Coast and Cairns.

I was helping with registration and was happy to see so many young faces looking forward to university life.

The event started with a presentation by Jimi Bursaw from Leadership, Development and Innovation Program on “Future of Uni, Work and You”.

Most of the students were very engaged with the presentation and which made students think about why university is important to them.

The most exciting part of the event was the Experience QUT Team Challenge. Students formed teams and then went to different stations hosted by faculties as part of the challenge. Each faculty representative was responsible for designing challenges and gave teams feedback on their performance. It was simply amazing to see students from different high schools form into groups and develop friendship.

This team challenge was hosted by QUT Science and Engineering faculty. Students learnt about simple programming and how to control a robot to take a certain route in order to finish the game.To be honest, it was not a simple task . Students needed to learn the basic programming quickly in order to finish the task. Team work  and being efficient was really important.

After almost 2-hour of the team challenge, winners and runner-ups were announced with different prizes. Students were also given the time to talk to student ambassadors about the courses and their study experience at QUT.

It made me think of myself in high school, although I wasn’t as active in seeking tips for starting uni as those young and passionate high school students. I did hope to have a chance to talk to seniors about their experience at QUT, so that I could know better what to expect. Experience QUT Day was indeed a golden chance for high school students to find out more about uni life. Good on you for attending!