A secret seaside paradise

Hi, I’m Max, a Diploma in Health Science student at QUT International College.

I’d like to introduce you to my favourite place where I go to relax and release stress. Gold Coast can be hard to go without a car, so I have found another close seaside town to enjoy, Redcliffe.

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Becoming a barista during my winter vacation

I have become a coffee-lover during my stay in Australia. In this winter holiday, I decided to become a more ” professional”  coffee fan so I signed up for a barista training course.

If you would like to ask me, what is my experience of learning about coffee in Australia? Well, I will not talk about how awesome is the Lattee art I have learned, instead of that, I
will definitely say I have experienced all the steps for making a cup of coffee and I feel that I have experienced the culture of coffee from a fresh new perspective.

It is common for us to see the barista making coffee for us every day. I also believe that we all have a certain coffee shop that we go for a coffee frequently and the staff there can remember our preferences for our coffee, for example, skim milk instead of full-cream milk, extra-shot or decaf. In my opinion, every cup of coffee they make is different.

Here is my two-day experience at my coffee art school.

During my first day, I learned about the recipes for a variety of coffee that customers order the most frequently.

This coffee includes Espresso, Long Black, Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato, Flat White, Mocca and hot chocolate

I then got familiar with them by making eight of them in one round and practiced making them in a different order for a few more times.

 

The next step I learned was to make frothy milk. Thickness is the most important thing when it comes to the quality of the frothy milk. I will tell you a little bit about this and you can learn the rest during your own training.

The typical frothy milk is 1cm thick and is used for making Latte. The one for Cappuccino is a bit thicker and it is 1.5 cm and for Flag White has the least amount of frothy milk of 0.5cm in thickness.I could not even remember how much milk I have used and how many cups I had washed before I could make a beautiful frothy milk in different thickness successfully.

 

 

 

 

My second day was all about Latte art and it is also the most challenging part of this course. I have learned three different shapes to put on top of a cup of coffee, namely, heart, Rosita, and swan. They are the basics of Latte art and you can learn how to do more complicated shapes afterward. As a beginner, I am pretty happy for myself to master these three at this stage.

 

I enjoyed my days of learning to make coffee because I do believe that coffee is just like a lifestyle here in Australia, isn’t it?  Imagine the picture of yourself making a cup of warm and tasty coffee in winter. Can you still resist your passion for becoming a barista yourself this winter holiday?

A reflection of my past 8 months at QUTIC

Hi there! Vincent here, I am from Indonesia and I’m currently studying Diploma of Engineering in QUTIC (QUT International College). Today I am going to talk about what I’ve experienced at QUTIC for the last 8 months.

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Short trip to Perth

Perth is the capital of Western Australia, situated where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. I went to Perth for a short trip to explore a bit around the city region and nearby suburbs. The flight from Brisbane to Perth took me around 5.5 hours and another interesting fact is  that Brisbane is 2 hours ahead of Perth even though both cities are in the same country.

From my impression, Perth has a similar urban design as Brisbane so it gave me a familiar feeling. I feel Perth is more spacious compared to Brisbane as I had to walk quite to get from one place to the other.

Photo: Elizabeth Quay at Perth.

Kings Park is a big park located at the western edge of Perth CBD. The park is renowned for its spectacular views due to its prime location on Mt Eliza overlooking Perth City and the Swan River.

Photo: One part of the Perth CBD landscape from Kings Park.

Photo: The view from Kings Park.

Photo: A good spot at Kings Park to enjoy the breeze with an excellent view.

Photo: Beautiful view from Kings Park with lovely weather.

Photo: One of the parts of Kings Park.

There are quite a few historic buildings turned into shopping areas in Perth CBD, so people can do their shopping under the historic ambience.

Photo: One of the shopping areas at Perth CBD.

Fremantle is the place that I would strongly recommend you to pay a visit whilst visiting Perth. I really enjoyed spending my afternoon there and I believe you would love the ambience too! Fremantle is part of the Perth metropolitan area and it is a port city.

Photo: Fremantle.

Photo: There are some entertainment facilities provided at Fremantle.

Photo: Seaview at Fremantle.

Photo: There are some street performance at the outside of Fremantle markets.

Photo: Chill away our afternoon with hot tea at Fremantle markets.

Photo: Delicious food from Fremantle markets.

Western Australia is well known for its beautiful beaches so I didn’t want to miss the chance to have a coastal walk!

I enjoyed exploring Perth. I believe you will enjoy exploring the beautiful city too! 🙂

 

Till next time.

Now it’s finally time for my master graduation ceremony. Can’t believe time goes so quickly, my study journey in Brisbane has almost come to an end.

Coming to Australia to study was a big decision. After planning my study journey for a long period of time, taking all the factors into consideration e.g. tuition fee, living expenses, independent life etc into account, I eliminated the hurdles and eventually boarded the flight to Brisbane three years ago. I was working for a while before going abroad to save up some money for my education and also to gain some life experience.

Photo: Brisbane City Hall at Brisbane City. Keen to know more about the city that I was going to stay for the next three years when I first came.

Initially I thought I am pretty brave to leave home and go overseas alone, but there are actually many people that are doing the same travelling from all over the world. Attending the QUT orientation program  is definitely a good way to get to know people from all around the world who will be studying at QUT. I got to know friends from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and many other countries. I met up with my Japanese friends in Tokyo when I went for a graduation trip to Japan recently. I feel happy that the friendship we developed QUT could continued even though we don’t see each other regularly. Don’t miss the opportunity to make friends with the locals, they are all nice and friendly!

The adaptation period could be the hard time to go through. Most of the shops close at 5pm and the streets become quiet. No mummy’s dinner is ready for me while I go back home from university. Dining out could be a burden in living expenses, so I still have to prepare my own lunch for university to save money. I didn’t know cooking at all previously but now I think I would be able to cook a few dishes for the families.

Photo: My housemates and I prepared gathering lunch together.

Studying in an all English environment has been a challenge for me. My native language is Mandarin and I grew up in a mixed language living environment. At the beginning, most of the time I felt lost during the lectures, discussion and conversation with course mates. As the time progressed, I think I was getting better in communicating in English even though there is still room for improvement. Living in an Australia is definitely a good way to improve your English skills.

All the written exams, assignments, practical tests and oral tests have never been easy to pass through. You really have to study hard to pass the different tests. I am glad that it’s  over now!

I’m so lucky to have got a job offer before graduation. I’m  going to leave Brisbane soon after my graduation ceremony and heading to Perth to work as an optometrist. Thanks to the support of my family that helped make my dreams come true. Not sure how the future is going to be but I believe ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’. Lastly, I wish all the graduating students all the best with your future endeavors.

Photo: Myself with the view of Perth CBD at King’s Park. Perth, looking forward to meeting you again soon!

Bye Brisbane! Till next time 🙂

p.s: Hopefully my sixty posts make you understand more about the international students’ life at QUT. I wish you enjoy your QUT life to the fullest!

 

My saving tips for the daily life of an international student

I think money issue is one of the main worries for most of the international students in Australia. Being an international student in Brisbane, I have to keep a close eye at the digits of my bank account to make sure that I have enough money for my rent, food, transport, social activities, travelling and last but not least, the tuition fee.

1) Groceries

There are many options to do your groceries in Brisbane for examples Aldi, Woolworths, Coles, IGA, K mart, Big W, Costco, Asian Groceries Stores etc. Normally the large grocery stores may carry most of the stuff you need but different brands. Compare the prices between the grocery stores and the different brands they carry (grocery home brands are often cheaper)  if you want to save some money! Furthermore, the big grocery stores may have discount for different types of products every week, so join their mailing list and keep an eye on their specials.

Other than the regular promotion, some products which are approaching expiry date will have a further price reduction. I always buy discounted ice coffee which makes my day haha!

As a member of one of QUT’s student organisations you may have discounts for stores across Brisbane. For instance, QUT Malaysian Students Association provides special discounts for members who shops in one of the Asian grocery stores in the city.

I would suggest you buy fruits and vegetables from the markets, as it’s normally cheaper  than the grocery stores. You can find out more about Brisbane markets from my previous post: https://blogs.qut.edu.au/student-life-in-brisbane/2016/11/01/markets-culture-in-brisbane/

2) Transport

I have shared some saving tips in my previous blog post: Public transport in Brisbane.

3) Accommodation

There are many options for accommodation for examples homestay, students apartments, shared acommodation etc. The weekly rent could range from AUD $100+ to $300+. Personally I think shared accommodation is the cheaper option, however, it all depends on what your requirements are.

4) Travelling

Travelling could be very affordable if you plan well in advance. Brisbane has a great geographic location and is near most of Australia’s major travel destinations.  Join the airlines’ email list so you don’t miss the cheapest ticket. Instead of flying, you can choose to do a road trip to any of the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane. You can read my previous post regarding my visit to the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane.

If you plan to visit some tourist spots which require entrance tickets e.g. Lone Pine Sanctuary or all the theme parks on the Gold Coast, I would suggest you buy the ticket in advance. Check out some travel agencies in the city or suburbs as they would be able to sell you the tickets with a better price than the venue. You can read my blog post with some travelling tips about Gold Coast Theme Parks.

5) Social activities

I enjoy dining out with friends, however dining out in Brisbane could be  very expensive. Some restaurants serve very big portions, so it is a good idea to share with a friend if you have small appetite. The portion of food sold by food trucks is normally not that big. You could check out my previous blog to know more about the food trucks culture in Brisbane.

Hopefully these tips could save some money whilst studying as an international student in Brisbane!

Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at QUT

QUT Malaysian Students Association hosted Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at Kelvin Grove campus. The celebration was happening from 11AM to 3PM on August 31st. The activities included Henna (body painting with a dye prepared from a plant), calligraphy, games, multicultural singing and dance performances. There was also Malaysia local cuisines food stall and free Teh Tarik (a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants and outdoor stalls at Southeast Asia countries) distributing.

Photo: Eating Malaysia’s popular local cuisine, Char Kuey Teow in the campus.

Photo: Chinese traditional dance performance.

Photo: Dance performance by QUT Dance Society.

Photo: Indian dance performance.

Photo: Music performance with traditional Chinese instrument called ‘Er Hu’.

Photo: Games session, speaking Malay (the official language of Malaysia).

It was a great effort by QUT Malaysian Students Association to host this event in the campus for the celebration of Malaysia’s 60th National Day. Even though we are far away from home, we can still celebrate National’s Day even in the campus.

Girls trip at Sydney

Travelling with girl friends is like a venture into a wonderland. A girl friend and I decided to travel to Sydney together after we finished the exams.

Below are some places that we visited during our trip. Those places are recommended for you to visit there if you are planning your trip to Sydney.

  • State Library of NSW is the oldest library in Australia. It is a large reference and research library open to the public. From my perspective, the design of the state library of NSW is more vintage compared to the state library of QLD. However both libraries offer the very cosy and conducive environment to concentrate the study.

  • Art Gallery of New South Wales is one of the most beautiful art museums in the world. The Gallery presents fine international and Australian art. A definite place that shouldn’t be missed if you are arts lover. The general exhibition is free for entrance.

  • Sydney is a wonderful place to do café hopping. We went to Three Williams for brunch on a fine Sunday morning. The food was excellent and it made me drooling by just looking at the photo.

Photo: The delicate pastries from the other café.

  • Climbing up the bridge (walking up the staircase) may cost you penny. If you are budget traveller, the another good option is strolling along Sydney Harbour Bridge to enjoy the view of Sydney Opera House and also the hustle and bustle of the river with the ferries.

Photo: The breathtaking view from the sidewalks of Harbour Bridge.

  • Queen Victoria Building is a historic shopping centre that is delicately designed. The place to visit if you want to have a shopping spree.

  • St Mary’s Cathedral is located in the centre of Sydney. It stands as a Christian statement of grace and beauty. It represents the spiritual origins of the Catholic Church in Australia. Furthermore, it is one of Sydney’s most treasured historic buildings and one of the finest examples of English-style gothic churches in the world.

Photo: The interior design of St Mary’s Cathedral.

  • Blue Mountains is a rugged region west of Sydney in New South Wales. It is famous for the beautiful scenery by encompassing steep cliffs, eucalyptus forests, waterfalls and villages dotted with guesthouses. Galleries and gardens. You can plan your day trip there by taking train. Otherwise, you can leave all the homework to the travel agency by purchasing the day trip from them.

 

  • The Grounds of Alexandria is nestled in a former industrial precinct from the 1920s. It is a landmark coffee roastery, café and sustainable garden known for its abundance of fresh produce and hands-on experiences. By holding the philosophy of creating experiences for communities through quality products, innovations and an ever-evolving vision, The Grounds has attracted a large volume of visitors to pay a visit there.

  • Sydney Fish Market is a large marketplace featuring shops for seafood, deli items, wine and baked goods and restaurants. This is definitely one of my top 5 places to go in Sydney. How enjoyable to savour the fresh seafood, sushi, wine etc with the beautiful harbour view! I couldn’t ask for more!

  • Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) is located on the edge of Sydney Harbour. MCA exhibits a wide range of collections. The general exhibition is free for entrance.

Photo: While we were exploring the gallery.

  • The Rocks is nestled on the edge of Sydney Harbour and framed by Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera house. It is an unrivalled blend of the old and new. Personally I really enjoy hanging around at The Rocks.

  • Darling Harbour is Sydney’s great celebration space. It is always busy no matter day and night.

Photo: The night sky of Darling Harbour was brightened up by the fireworks.

  • Watsons Bay is a harbourside which located at the eastern suburb of Sydney. A good place to go for a coastal walk and enjoy the comforting sea view. It takes less than an hour ferry ride from Sydney Harbour to get there.

Photo: Enjoying the breeze during the ferry ride.

  • Bondi beach is definitely one of the most popular beaches in Australia as its golden crescent and clear, turquoise waters never fail to impress. Even though you are not a beach person, you can still easily occupy your time as Bondi beach is packed with restaurants, bars, fashion boutiques, alfresco cafes etc.

  • Paddington Markets is a Saturday market at Sydney since 1973. If you are a fan of crafts, you absolutely shouldn’t miss visiting Paddington Markets as you have the opportunity to find some exclusive Australian designed and crafted products at there. Paddington Markets is easily accessible by the public transports.

We had so much fun while travelling around Sydney. Hope you have as much fun as we have while travelling with your friends at Sydney!

 

Photography outing at Teneriffe

I have a few course mates who are also interested in photography so sometimes we organise photography outing to take the photos of beautiful Brisbane.

Teneriffe is an inner suburb that located 2.5 kilometres north-east of Brisbane CBD. It is easily accessible by bus and ferry with the travelling time approximately 15 minutes from Brisbane CBD.

Image: You can have a stroll along the river before or after exploring Teneriffe.

Image: There are many beautiful architecture buildings surrounding Teneriffe.

Image: My friend found his best angle to capture the historic building.

Teneriffe is also a suburb hidden with cool cafés and restaurants.

Image: One of the cool cafes at Teneriffe.

Image: Coffee photography session.

Image: An entertaining guy in front of the food truck.

Image: Each of us had a glass of craft brewed ales at the brewing house.

Image: My favourite Gelato shop at Teneriffe.

Image: Recommended to give it a try if you are a fan of Gelato.

Teneriffe is a good place to chill if you want to have a respite from the assignments. I had so much fun exploring Teneriffe while doing my favourite photography. I believe you will have it too!