Exchange student interview: Veronica Lim

Image: QUT exchange student, Veronica Lim

1) What university are you studying at?

  • National Taiwan Normal University

2) Where are you from?

  • Malaysia

3) How long was your exchange at QUT?

  • A semester

4) What course were you studying at QUT?

  • Education related courses, such as early childhood literacies, classroom management, inclusive education and interpersonal skills

5) What do you learn from the exchange experience at QUT?

  • I learn how to seek help from the course’s tutor and learning independently from online resources from the lessons I took. Well and lots of interacting skills from meeting different people from different country

Image: Veronica and her friends at QUT.

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

  • The main difference is the learning atmosphere, it’s much more flexible and student-based at QUT whereas in Taiwan, lessons are always full-packed and teacher-oriented

7) Any tips for the prospective exchange students?

  • Accept the cultural shock, and enjoy the excitement of trying new stuff

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.

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

QUT scholarship launches students on path to success

For twins Sandeepa and Sachin Fernando and Senuri Sarathchandra QUT’s Science and Engineering (SEF) International Merit Scholarship has been life-changing.

The International Merit Scholarship is offered to high achieving students and covers up to 25% of tuition fees.

Sandeepa Fernando said the International Merit Scholarship was a huge boost to his studies.

“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 said.

Sachin Fernando said the scholarship has also given him freedom to enjoy opportunities outside the classroom.

“The scholarship has allowed me to also engage in extra-curricular activities in university in addition to my course. This allows me to develop extra skills outside of my degree, strengthening my employment prospects upon graduation” Sachin said.

Students with a QUT International Merit Scholarship may be able to apply for our Merit Plus Scholarship as well, offering an additional 25% tuition fee.

To apply for this competitive scholarship, students must be a Sri Lankan citizen, have been offered the International Merit Scholarship for a Bachelor program with the Science and Engineering Faculty, and have a minimum of 3 A grades if you completed GCE ‘A’ Levels.

Senuri Sarathchandra is currently in her first year of QUT’s Bachelor of Engineering and said the scholarship has opened up new doors with industry that would otherwise be difficult for an international student.

“The scholarship has allowed me to participate in QUT’s College of Excellence, where I am networking with industry partners and receiving career advice,” Senuri said.

Senuri said it wasn’t hard to choose QUT to undertake her undergraduate studies.

“I went through the courses and majors and the options to study at QUT were great! The Bachelor of Engineering is a very practical course. You are not pressured to choose your major in the first year of the Bachelor degree, instead you have the option to try out the different engineering majors and see what works best for you,” Senuri said.

QUT’s supportive student environment was also a key factor for Senuri when deciding where to study, and she’s not alone. According to the 2016 International Student Barometer Queensland, 89% of our international students are satisfied with their experience at QUT.

Senuri is also involved in QUT’s Leadership, Development and Innovation Program – a comprehensive leadership and development program to support students in areas such as personal development, emotional intelligence, and cross-cultural communication.

The experience of studying in Brisbane will be something these students will never forget.

“I chose to study in Australia because it’s a gateway to a lot of opportunities. It’s close to Sri Lanka and there are a lot of international experiences available here. Brisbane is a multicultural city filled with people from all over the world and that truly makes it an international experience. It is definitely a wonderful city for one’s higher education, QUT has really exceeded my expectations already,” Sandeepa said.

“QUT is a great university, as an international student I feel there is a supportive environment for international students and many services available to successfully integrate into the University and Australian society,” Sachin said.

For more information:

https://www.qut.edu.au/international

https://www.qut.edu.au/study/fees-and-scholarships/scholarships-and-prizes/international-merit-scholarship

Attending International Student Career Panel

QUT Careers and Employment has many resources available to help students seek employment. Recently, I attended an International Student Panel on our experience with QUT Careers and Employment. We shared our journey at QUT and talked about highly recommended services every student should know about. Now I’m going to recommend three services that you can’t miss to help you get employment in Australia.

It is a workshop specifically tailored to international students where the facilitators run you through resume and cover letter writing, and interview skills.

If you are an accounting, nursing or justice student, this is a special program for you to gain some internship experience. QUT Career staff will send you job opportunities available once you join this program and also help you prepare for your interviews. Keep in mind that these opportunities are only available to QUT students studying a certain major, so don’t miss out!

Ready to take your career journey to a next level? Joining QUT Career Mentor Scheme is a good way to meet people from the industry and gain some tips first hand. You will be matched with a professional from your desired industry and learn from them what it is really like to work in that industry.

The following are two videos explaining in more detail on what services are offered to international students:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJSar2xLWYY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imx6UCn9y48

All the best to your job-seeking and good luck!

International student interview: Riley Jia Xin Lim

Image: QUT international student, Riley Jia Xin Lim. Image taken at Southbank, Brisbane.

Where are you from?

  • Malaysia

How long have you been in Brisbane?

  • Since June 2015

What course are you studying?

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Film, Television and New Media Production

How do you find being a part of QUT?

  • It’s great to be immersed in the multicultural atmosphere in QUT and also Brisbane which offers a lot of opportunities for international students to experience different cultural events organised by different clubs around the campus.

What do you like to do during your leisure time?

  • Watching movies, TV series and gaming.

What is your favorite quote?

  • You never try, you never know.

International student interview: Jodie Chu

Image: QUT International student, Jodie Chu. Taken at Japan during the short term mobility program by QUT Global.

Where are you from?

  • Hong Kong

How long have you been in Brisbane?

  • It has been 1.5 years.

What course are you studying?

  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics

How do you find being a part of QUT?

  • As an international student at QUT, I have a lot of opportunities to engage in the real world environment and Australian community. Besides, I got the multi-cultural experiences from real world placement program, QUT global exchange program and East West activities. On top of that, I find the course I am doing now is good and it is more practical than the other universities as well. I am happy to have the opportunities to practice my cooking skills and doing experiment every week.

What do you like to do during your leisure time?

  • Travelling and reading

What is your favorite quote?

  • Be perseverant.

What is HiQ?

Recently there has been a big change in the library especially in Gardens Point campus. There are more computers and studying places on the third floor and when you walk into the library, you will see some students wearing orange shirt with an IPAD trying to help answer students’ queries.

It wasn’t until the beginning of May that HiQ was officially announced to QUT students. From my understanding, HiQ is an offline and online services place offered to students and it combines the functionality of student centre, IT help services and library services.

 

 

More digital screens were introduced to encourage student interaction.

 

 

 

 

 

A more centralised place also saves students time to go back and forth from different services places.

 

 

 

I do have thoughts about this new service delivery mode. The following are some pros and cons I could think of:

Pros:

  • Combing all services at one place will be more efficient and time-saving for students
  • Better facilities, sofas and chairs
  • Students helping students

Cons:

  • Students don’t have a waiting area when waiting for their queries to be answered
  • Students need to be put into a queue by staff member even if it is only a small question

I’m always glad to see changes happen at QUT. Time will let us know how HiQ is going to be in the future. But I’m sure it will be helping students as always!

QUT Dance Showcase

I came across QUT Dance Facebook page last time and knowing that they were recruiting volunteer photographer for their upcoming showcase. I registered to volunteer as the photographer and would like to share my volunteering experience with you guys.

I went for their rehearsal and one of the showcases to take the photos.

The following photos are some of the performances during the day.

At the end of the showcase, the performers danced together and thanks the audiences for their coming.

I enjoyed watching the showcase while taking the photos. If you are interested in watching the showcase, simply like their pages to get updated. Or you can also join the society if you would like to be one of the performers! Besides, there are some free dance classes for students who are keen in learning dancing to join throughout the semester as well.