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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!

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!

Employability: Listening to QUT Alumni, Student and Graduate Recruiter

At the end of August, I was invited to talk about QUT Careers and Employment services from a student’s perspective in front of QUT international partners. Who have also been invited were a QUT recent alumni, a graduate recruitment officer from Suncorp as well as another current QUT student.

The showcase started with a 3 – 5 minute self-introduction from student representatives and the recent alumni. Each of us talked about what we had been involved with during our time at QUT and what Careers and Employment services we had used.

By listening to others’ talk, I found that it is enormously helpful for international students to take good use of QUT Career services.

Click here to access the international student panel talking about QUT Career resources.

After that, Kelly Pfeffer, graduate talent lead from Suncorp talked about her attitude towards international students from a recruiter’s perspective. I found her talk both useful and insightful for both international students at QUT and prospective students considering coming to Australia for further study.

Major takeaways from her talk are:

  • Nowadays some banks hire more IT students than business students for developing and innovation purposes
  • More sponsorship places are available to IT students compared with business students
  • Personality test result is a major factor in shortlisting candidates
  • International students stay in the company longer than their Australian peers (maybe due to sponsorship obligation)
  • A company sees the investment pays back if a graduate stays with them for at least 3 years

 

What actually surprised me or provoked my thought was to hear from a recruiter that “personality test matters” in the recruiting process. Sometimes the reason why you got rejection from a company is not because you are not successful enough, but because your personality doesn’t suit the culture of the company.
In conclusion, being proactive is a good start to get a job. In addition to that, companies are not only looking for a proactive employee; a good personality match is also relatively important.

Copenhagen and Aarhus – My Summer University Experience

In my previous blog, I talked about studying in Aarhus University and some of the difference I observed between Australian students and Danish students. Today, I’m going to show you a bit around Copenhagen and Aarhus through my eyes.

Before heading to the second largest city Aarhus for my summer course, I landed in Copenhagen and spent a day just wondering around.

The King’s Garden

As you may know, Denmark as a country is really small, let alone Copenhagen. Therefore, I didn’t actually do much research on places to visit before I landed. In spite of that, I managed to check out quite a few tourist destinations just by walking around with my phone.

Christiansborg Palace

After a relaxing stroll in the city, I walked to Little Mermaid to have a look of this famous piece of statue. 

As expected, there were lots of tourists taking pictures in front of Little Mermaid. So it’s very hard to get a close shot of it considering the huge amount of people there.

Kastellet is right next to the Little Mermaid. It is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. You can not only see windmills, fountains, but also well-preserved church and powerhouse.

Colourful Nyhavn

The next day, I took a bus to Aarhus which was roughly a 3-hour drive. The first impression I had of Aarhus was a bit plain compared with the historical and colourful Copenhagen.

Comparatively speaking, Aarhus is less historical but more modern. Still, you can see quite a few well-preserved traditional buildings. The thing that made me love the most is the little alleyways with typical Danish houses surrounded by plants and flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got the chance to visit the famous rainbow panorama. It’s a circular walkway in all colours of the spectrum. Seeing the whole city through different colour was such an amazing experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, although there aren’t many varieties of food in Denmark compared with in Australia, their national dish Open Sandwich (Smørrebrød) is a must-try!

I hope you enjoyed this short photo diary! If you get the chance to study one unit overseas, definitely grab it and have fun.

 

Seeking Employment on Campus?

When I talk to my friends that I’m writing blogs as an international student for QUT and share with them my very own life in Brisbane, they always ask me: How did you become a blogger and can I become one as well?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know some of you, my readers, must be wondering as well and might want to be a future student blogger for QUT. Therefore today I want to share with you how I became a student blogger and some potential ways of finding employment on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About one year ago, I received an email with a recruitment advertisement in it calling for international students being bloggers talking about their life in Brisbane. It is a paid casual job and all you need to do for application is to upload your video/photos. Then I thought why not apply? So I applied and luckily got an interview opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogging life all started from taking the initiative and applying for it! So if you come across some opportunities like this, don’t hesitate and apply!

Other tips I can give you about seeking on-campus jobs are:

It’s the first place QUT put down their recruitment ads if they are hiring students. QUT Business School recruits student learning advisers there. QUT admission also recruits student officers there.

When applying for jobs that needs more experience, check out the official QUT website.

  • Start from volunteering

If you don’t have any working experience, it might be a good idea to start from volunteering and build up your skills. Some volunteering opportunity on campus will lead to paid jobs!

 

Hiking at Mount Tibrogargan

Picture from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Tibrogargan is one of the many mountains in the Glass House Mountains National Park. It is famous not only due to its steep cliffs, but also the resemblance to a gorilla. That’s also the reason why some people call it Mount Gorilla.

I went there with friends on a weekend by car. It’s about one hour drive from Brisbane city area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got off at the car park and took the summit trail. One lesson we learnt from that day is: don’t bring too much things with you while you hike. Before we head off, we went to the supermarket to buy some food and carried the woolies bag all the way to the mountain top. It turned out to be very inconvenient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a 30-minute hike, we arrived the cliff. It was actually recommended for experienced climbers only due to the steepness. You can see from the picture that the way to the top of the mountain is almost vertical to the horizon.

I was a bit terrified at the beginning because I haven’t done any proper training before. But my friends helped  me and I managed to climb up successfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t have any rock climbing experience and none of your friends do either, It is not recommended for you to climb up because it can be quite challenging and difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After climbing up the cliff, there is actually still a long way to go. But I didn’t continue because I’m a little terrified and didn’t have confidence that I would climb up safely. I thought it would be safer to stay at where I am and enjoy the current view.

When I get more experienced, I will try the track to the mountain top one day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed this all-green view and will sure come back to conquer more mountains in the Glass House Mountains area.

2017 Dragon Boat Regatta

Several weeks ago, I received an email sent out by QUT Business Faculty where they are looking for paddlers to join 2017 Dragon Boat Regatta representing the Business school. I always wanted to do some kayaking or canoeing on Brisbane River, therefore I joined straight away.

Photo from Yousef F. Kurashi Art & Photography

It turns out to be one of the most exciting events that I have ever participated since the beginning of my university life.

Dragon Boat Regatta actually has its roots in ancient China. Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet known for his patriotism and contributions to classical poetry committed suicide due to extreme despair to the situation of politics back then. In order to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body, villagers beat drums and splashed water with their paddles on dragon boat.

Photo from Yousef F. Kurashi Art & Photography

After three training sessions with Te Waka Dragons, the big day finally came. The final race was hosted on Brisbane River in South Bank.

On the day, there are more than 15 teams. The race was very competitive as all of the team devoted 100% to the race. For us, although we did not get to the finals, we can say at least we tried and had the best fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are thinking about joining a QUT Flagship event and meet new people while getting more fit, definitely join next year’s Dragon Boat Regatta!

What I Wish To Know In My First Year At Uni

I know a lot of you just started university or are thinking about studying overseas. How exciting it is to study in another country! For me, before leaving China, I checked so many website or online BBS to see what other people’s advice is to enjoy university life to the fullest.

Their advice indeed helped me transit to a foreign university. Now looking back, I don’t really have any regrets. In spite of that, there are still three things I wish I know in my first year of university.

Beautiful QUT campus after rain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.GPA is important 

I know some of you must heard your peers telling you that it is okay to have a low GPA. If you have lots of extra-curricular activities, then the employers won’t care about your GPA.

Well at first I believe that. However, from my own experience as an international student in Australia. I can say that for lots of big companies, they will require you to attach your academic transcript while applying for jobs and some will clearly state that a 5 out 7 GPA is required.

You are supposed to spend 12 hours on one unit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Have a healthy lifestyle

While living by yourself overseas, getting sick can be very daunting. You have to take care of yourself while maintaining heavy study load.

Therefore, prevent yourself from getting sick is very important. There are so many parks and running trails in Brisbane. You’ll both have fun and meet new friends when you start working out on your body.

For me, I didn’t do any sports in my first year. Therefore in my first year, I felt it is very easy to get tired or catch a cold. When I was feeling sick during Christmas time at the end of 2015, I told myself that I would start working out the next year and try to start a healthier lifestyle.

New year resolution is to have a healthier lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Stand up for your rights

There was a big news this year of staff at 7-11 being underpaid. This big violation of employment law didn’t came to the public’s attention until someone stepped out and told the law enforcement.

For me, I was also underpaid in my job when I first started working in hospitality in Australia. Many of my friends had that experience too. But none of us stepped up to talk to our boss. Neither did we stand up for ourself and take any legal actions.

This mindset of ‘nobody will care’ or ‘getting paid is better than have no job’ is not correct. It is not okay to be taken advantage of. So check out the fair work website if you decide to work while study.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope the above three tips can help you start your new life here in another country and happy studying!