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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!

Getting fit on a budget at QUT

Working out is a great way to release stress and help you maintain a good body shape and health. Besides the low-cost exercise like running and jogging, there are many options you can choose from to stay fit with a low cost at uni.

  • Join a sports club

In QUT, there are lots of social sports clubs you can choose from. It is a great way to keep fit while meeting new friends. If you just want to de-stress and not work out too much, QUT MY(Meditation and Yoga) Club might be a good option.

I joined QUT MY Time this semester and went for the yoga workshop 2 times a week. I can say it helps a lot when it comes to finding inner peace and be less stressed. The membership fee for one year is only 10 dollar. What a bargain!

 

 

 

 

🙂 🙂

  • Use the swimming pool on campus

It was only until this semester that I started using the swimming pool in QUT Health Stream at Gardens Point campus. This is an olympic standard pool.

The cost for one entrance ranges from $5 to $8 dollar depending on how many passes you buy as a bundle. Besides that, they also run adult swimming classes on weekend which is very helpful especially for me as I can’t swim very well and in Australia pretty everyone can swim.

Picture from Healthstream Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Join the free Medibank Feel Good Program

Starting from March, Medibank Feel Good Program started and it will last for ten weeks. They have a range of free workshops ranging from zumba to ballet fit. You don’t need to prepare anything for the workshop, just simply show up and you will also get free yoghurt at the end.

It is only 15 minutes by walk from QUT to get to the venue of the workshop which is located in Southbank.

 

Let’s get fit together in the new semester!

Cooking is Fun!

It has been one year and seven months since I came to Australia. I still remember when I first came here, I found the living expense was very expensive. So I almost cooked every meal for myself even though it didn’t taste that good.

Gradually, I got busier and busier with university and managed to find a job to support myself. As a result, I got lazy with cooking because:

  1. Prepare food took a lot of time.
  2. Even though I spent time on cooking, it didn’t necessarily taste good.

So after about 2 months, I kind of gave up cooking and bought meal outside most of the time. However recently, I started cooking and gradually had an interest in baking.

I guess it is due to the fact that I was inspired by a friend who loves cooking and always say to me: Food is life, good for soul! I lived with her for a month when I came back from my exchange and didn’t have a place to live. She cooked different meal everyday and they all tasted extremely good. Watching her cooking made me feel that cooking itself is fun and it doesn’t take that long to prepare for a delicious meal.

Spent 15 dollar making 4 portions of pasta.

That day I missed the pork meat bun so much that I tried to make it myself

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After moving out, I started subscribing different Youtube channels on cooking and try to cook food according to it. So far I tried to cook traditional Sichuan style boiling fish, banana bread, pizza, pasta and sponge cake. Not only did I save money from cooking, I also felt a sense of accomplishment!

Lemon sponge cake

Home-made pizza

Banana bread!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cooking is life, good for soul!

Check it out – QUT Art Museum

Is there a place on campus where you always pass by but never stop to take a look?

For me, yes! There are two places on QUT Gardens Point campus: QUT Art Museum and Old Government House.

This week when I was on my way to the library, I saw several very eye-catching posters about glass architecture outside the art museum. As someone very interested in innovation and design, I finally walked in and took a look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art Museum is not very big and there are two main exhibition rooms on both left and right side. The design on shown that day is all about glass architecture. Some of them have actually been produced and sold in Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every two to three months, there will be different exhibitions. So if you are an art person or simply just want to explore more about the Gardens Point campus, QUT Art Museum is definitely a place worth visiting!

Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival in Brisbane

The Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival is organised by a non-for-profit organisation aiming at promoting Chinese films and boosting cultural exchange. It is held annually in major Australian cities during the Chinese Spring Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year in Brisbane, Australian Chinese Youth Association hosted this event and there were 6 films open to public in Griffith Film School. I was very excited to hear about this event and went to see the movies 2 days in a row.

 

 

 

 

 

One the first day of the film festival, The Song of Cotton team came to meet and greet the audience. Before the screening of the movie, the director also held a workshop on film-making for all the film lovers.

The films showed during the festival covered a range of genres and explores different social problems. The Song of Cottons talks about the ageing of Mr. Sheng, the story between him and his young nanny. The Summer Is Gone shows the audience the struggle a family faced when China ended its state-owned company period and lots of companies became private owned and stable jobs no longer existed.

Film The Summer Is Gone

Black and White Film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those Chinese Film fans, don’t miss out this event next year!

New Year in Singapore

The famous Merlion

 

Guess where I am?

Can you recognise this Merlion?

Yes I came to Singapore. Merlion is the icon of Singapore.The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing town.

 

 

 

After my exchange in Japan and prior to my departure to Germany, I came to visit my friend Ada who’s doing an internship in Singapore at the moment and managed to catch up with two friends I met in QUT, one of them being my fellow international student blogger – Linette.

I have long been wanting to visit Singapore, a place people call Garden City and head of Asia’s financial hub.

As my friend was working most of the time, I visited a lot of places by myself. This was technically the first time that I travelled by myself. To be honest, I enjoyed it a lot. You can control your own pace and stop at places however long you want.

I spend my first day at Gardens by the Bay.

Sky trees in a rainy day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When getting out of the MRT(Singapore’s railway) station, I didn’t see Gardens by the Bay straight away. The reason I thought is that I got off one stop ahead of the stop where I was supposed to get off. So I took a stroll along the riverside and saw another Merlion and the Durian Museum.

Durian Museum

Another Merlion near Raffles Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I kept walking, I happened to see Marina Bay Sands where the famous infinity pool was located. This is the world’s largest rooftop pool. Imagining I have a hotel room there one day, I giggled and said to myself: You need to work harder and take a photo there one day.

Marina bay Sands. Does it look like a ship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I understand why people call Singapore garden city. It is a very very small country but is also the financial centre of south east Asia. Even in the city area where there are lots of skyscrapers, plants, trees and flowers fit really well with the high buildings.

City centre where plants co-exist with high buildings.

Night view of the sky trees

Back to the MRT station from Gardens by the Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Chinese Food Hawker Stall

China Town in Singapore

Indian Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lunch catching up with friends on the second day, I went to China Town and Little India to see the culture and shops. There is a very unique Indian Temple in Little India and the food was so authentic and cheap.

The third day was well spent in Singapore Zoo. It is literally the most amazing zoo that I have ever went. Not only did they have a wide range of animals, you get the chance to see them in an open environment. That is to say, sometimes monkeys walk pass on the trees beside you and there was no fence to separate you from the animals. I also saw Orangutan first time in my life. I guess you can only see them in Singapore or Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orang-utan eating food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last day in Singapore was well spent in Sentosa Island, the southern most point in southeast Asia and at friend’s place eating traditional Chinese Sichuan style hotpot. That day was the last day of 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentosa Island is actually a famous tourist resort where you can spend the whole week and not feel bored. They have a range of amusement facilities which include casino, cultural cuisine, 3D museums, universal studio, beaches, high-end hotels and many many more.

Due to the short time-frame, I only went to one beach that day. Luckily I went there early enough because it started raining soon after 2 pm in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

It started raining and a lot of people left the beach. That’s why there was nobody on the suspension bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask me what I miss the most from Singapore, my honest answer is food! The exchange rate of Singaporean dollar versus Australian dollar is almost 1:1. But the food there usually only costs 3-6 dollar from food court (also known as hawker centre).

 

 

 

 

 

There are quite a few exchange programs running between QUT and universities in Singapore. If some of the opportunities come up, please make sure to grab it because Singapore is truly a city worth exploring and a place you will fall in love.

 

Winter Exchange in Germany

Last semester, I applied for several short term exchange programs overseas. It turns out that going abroad is less difficult than I thought because a lot of the programs are easy to get into and QUT provides great support along the way.

I applied for 5 programs last year and was admitted to 3 of them. Due to the timeframe of the programs, I picked two of them to attend this winter. After exchanging in Japan, I was off to Germany for another three weeks. I can say it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my university life.

To me, Europe is a completely unfamiliar continent and German is another completely different and hard language. But I’m glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and spent 3 weeks learning German language.

This winter program consists of four parts: German language class, business seminar (you can choose between business seminar and culture seminar), photography workshop ( other workshops on offer are cooking and dancing) and excursions.

A snapshot of International Winter University in Fulda, Germany (first week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the program is really hectic and we have things to do almost everyday.

My first impression of Germany is: it is so cold! I was very unprepared when I landed in Frankfurt and was shaking all the way to the hotel.

Eurotower

Point Alpha – It was so cold there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know what? The university education in Germany is for free. Besides, there are government food subsidy to students as well. So if you eat at school canteen, it usually only costs three or four Euro.

Food in canteen only costs 3 Euro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides studying, the highlight of this trip is of course different fieldtrips! We went to Berlin for the whole weekend, exploring the art and history of east and west German. Then we toured these two little towns called Nuremberg and Wurzberg with castles and ancient cathedrals. At our last day, we headed to a ski resort called Rhon for sliding.

Nuremberg adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlin loves you – near Topographie Des Terrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor’s House in Fulda where our university is located

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got so excited when slidingGoGoglo

Most of the program participants are from Australia and America. For some of them who are from Brisbane and California, they have never seen snow before. Thus sliding made them really really excited.

I want to say thank you to all the people I met in this journey who made it an amazing experience for all. I’m sure some of us will meet each other somewhere in the world sooner or later. Danke!

Winter Exchange in Japan

Last year, I was very lucky to get the chance to travel and study in Japan. It has always been my dream to come to Japan since high school as I watched a lot of Japanese TV shows and wanted to experience the Japanese culture by myself. Now after almost one month of stay in Japan, I can say my Japanese improved a lot and I learnt more Japanese culture.

I came to Japan early before the start the program and went to Kyushu area for travelling. Even in winter, the mountains in Kyushu was so pretty. I still remember how nice the people I met there were. When I was trying to go to the mountain in Kirishima and was told there was no bus access, a taxi driver offered to drive me and my friend there. Not only did he charge us a little, he showed us multiple hidden spots on the mountain and tried to explain the history behind it.

As my cultural class in Amagasaki was about to start, I said goodbye to my boyfriend who was travelling with me and went to Amagasaki one day prior to the start day of the program.

This winter program consists of Japanese language study, school visits and home stay experience. I want to share with you my experience from each parts and what I learnt out of them.

Students From Brisbane and Fiji

Namba, Osaka – one of the most crowded shopping center in Japan

Japanese Language study

We are very lucky to have Fujiwara Sensei as our Japanese language teacher who is humorous and knowledgeable. Her style of teaching is very interactive and encouraging. In each of the class, we spent almost fifty percent of the time in speaking. As a result, at the end of the first week, we already known how to greet and order food in Japanese. Although the program has already ended now, I will continue learning Japanese. I hope next time when I come back to Japan, I will be able to communicate better with my Japanese friends.

Attending local students’ English class

School visits

This is another part of the program which I enjoyed a lot. We went to visited Amagasaki Junior High School for their English Festival. I was so touched by how much effort and time the students put in this festival. Both year 7 and year 8 students played skit, while year 9 students shared with us their experience in New Zealand as all of them just came back from a study trip there.

One thing I noticed from this English festival is that unlike individualism, Japanese education focuses a lot on teamwork and respect. There might be twenty students in one group and only ten characters available in a certain skit, but everyone gets the chance to go on stage and perform because one role can be played by three or four students.

Another unforgettable school visit happened in Ojiro Junior High School where we ate lunch with the students and had classes together with them. Unlike Amagasaki, Ojiro is a very small town located in the mountain with less population and colder weather.

We, as exchange students from overseas, got the chance to participate in their English and music class. The English teacher in the school told us that a lot of students there don’t have many opportunities to speak English, so they really appreciate our visiting. When the class started, each of us did a short presentation in front of the class introducing our own countries. All the students seem to be interested and took down some notes.

In the music class, the students performed a local song to us and we danced and sang What Makes You Beautiful together. It was such a wonderful time to bond together with nice music.

Visiting Amagasaki Junior High School and attending their English Festival

Home Stay in Ojiro

My first impression of Ojiro is the beautifulness and peace of this little town. I still remembered some of my friends from Australia and Fiji were so amazed by the snow on the top of the mountain because it was the first time for them to see snow.

When we arrived at the Ojiro, our host family have already been in the city hall waiting for us. All of us felt a bit nervous to be honest as most of us haven’t been living with others before. At the same time, we also wanted to know where are we going to live and know our host family better.

My host mom came to the first meeting that day as my host dad was at work. She made me completely feel at home and prepared everything for me. When host dad came home, we had a really long discussion about Japanese culture, Chinese culture and Australian culture. Both of them were really humble and asked me lots of questions. Thanks to the similarity in Kanji and Chinese character, when we didn’t understand each other by verbal communication, handwriting came into use.

At the end of the homestay, it was so hard to say goodbye to all the nice people that I have met in Ojiro. I will always remember how pretty the mountains there are, how nice the locals are and how much fun I had there!

Snow in the mountain in Ojiro

 

Homemade meal by my host mum

One month of stay in Japan is definitely an eye-opening experience for me and I really find going overseas can open your horizon a lot. So my dear reader, if you come across such kind of opportunities in the future, make sure to grab it and make the most out of it!

 

One Week Back to Home Town

It has been almost one year and six month since I came to Brisbane. My original plan was to come back to my home town after I graduate from QUT as my program lasts only for two years. My plan changed as I was offered a short term course in Japan to study Japanese language and culture. The flight time between Japan and Shanghai is only 2 hours, so I decided to visit my family when the program in Japan ended.

Here I am, lying on the couch at my cozy flat where I spent most of my teenager life and writing blogs.

I went to visit my grandparents and they made very delicious food for me. I also met my childhood friends and we watched a very artistic movie about Shanghai after our dinner.

My college friends

One the railway in Shanghai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming back home after such a long time away makes me feel both both excited and nostalgic.

I feel happy being able to meet my family friends, eat Shanghainese food and walk through the streets that I’m familiar with.

Chilling at home

Grandma’s cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, I miss how Aussie people interact with each other. China, as one of the Asian countries, has more conservative culture compared with Australia. Thus people rarely say Good Morning or smile to each other on the street.

Anyway, I feel very lucky to be able to go overseas and study in another country. I’m also very proud of my home town and cherish the place where I come from.

 

 

 

 

What’s Your QUT Story? #QUTLife

About this time last year, I saw a campaign somewhere on the QUT website calling for voluntary QUT digital leaders. The main job that QUT digital leaders need to do is to share their own QUT life with the wider QUT online community through a hashtag: #QUTLife.

As I like writing blogs and taking pictures, I submitted my application in the form of a video and was very lucky to be part of the 5 digital leaders. Each of us are from different faculties and we formed great friendship in the past one year.

We attended some QUT flagship events together such as QUT Business Ball, Mental Health Week, Global Cafe and so on. I was also pushed to communicate with more QUT students as this is part of my job to listen to their thinking and share their story as well as mine.

Attending global cafe

Attending workshop together

Attending business ball as digital leaders

Recruiting campaign for the new year

Now on retrospect, I can see my footprint in different corners of QUT and as the new year will begin soon, I’d like to encourage my fellow international students to apply to be one of the new QUT Digital Leaders (click for application). It will be a wonderful opportunity to let the QUT community hear what you think as an international student and share your story with others!

 

Behind QUT Navigate Conference

QUT Navigate Conference is a student-run conference focuses on global employability. I’m very lucky to be one of the student helpers for this conference. Today I’ll share with you what I learnt from this conference planning experience.

  • Teamwork makes things easier

The whole student team is consisted of 4 students studying different majors. One is good at budgeting while the other is good at designing. Also we have a student who has great relationship with industry due to her active involvement in student clubs. As a result of that, we were assigned to tasks that we are good at and started planning the conference with right away.

The whole conference planning team with our MC Marvin Fox

  • Realising my weakness and work on it

At the later stage of the conference preparation, I was asked to manage the volunteer team on the day of the conference. However, as I didn’t really have any people management experience before, I was quite anxious and didn’t perform a great job on the day. During the debriefing meeting afterwards, I realised that when assigning jobs to volunteers, I didn’t make sure that each volunteer has enough job to do. Thus on the day of the conference, some volunteers were not sure what their job is or had finished their tasks but not sure what to do next. I’ll try my best to work on my people management skills in the future as I know that’s what I need to improve.

Facilitator Lisa Lee

The conference turned out to be a success based on students’ feedback. This could not be achieved without the hard work of everyone behind the scene. I’m sure it will be even better next year!