Why I become a QUTIC mentor?

Signing up for a mentor recruitment program was the first step that led me to other interesting events during my studying period in QUTIC. A quick flashback to my O-week, I remember I was nervous and excited at the same time. Everything was unfamiliar to me, and it took me quite a long time adjusting to college. This is the reason I wanted to help other international students who might face similar challenges, and to enhance their acculturation process. Below is a quick snapshot of what we (mentors) went through.

How excited we were on the orientation day for TP3, 2017?

When I knew I was selected to be a part of the Mentor Group for TP3, 2017, I didn’t expect to gain anything from this program. However, the teachers and friends who I worked together with throughout the whole period have moved my heart.  Nonetheless, becoming a mentor is not the only way to make college more memorable, there are plenty of opportunities and activities that are run by QUTIC. I strongly encourage QUTIC students to become more actively involved in social activities because you will never know what you have missed out on until you try. Watch a sneak peek of my mentor training journey.

Mentors in the jungle – (at Binna Burra Lodge)

Before this training, all members from the crew were strangers to each others. There were no greetings or a hand-waving, although we sit next to each others in classes and I didn’t understand why. No one took the opportunity to change the awkward atmosphere in the rooms, outside the classes, in the hallway, and in the eating area, or maybe it was just only me who felt that way. QUTIC is not that big, so we can get to know everyone in the same course within 1-2 weeks, but most people kept to their own.

After my mentor training, my schedule got busy due to extra work from being a mentor, but this change was a good one. I cared more about friends around me, started more conversations with acquaintances, interacted more with teachers, and invited students to join QUTIC’s activities. Despite of tons of homework waiting for me at the end of the day, I became more confident and excited to get involved in class activities more often. Eventually, I took on more roles and participated in other events because I know no matter the results, I will always have my group to back me up.

We threw a surprised birthday parties for Tony after the training.

Tony and the Girls

Tony and the Boys.

I’m glad that I made it through the program with all the members taking part in this teaching period. Everyone has directly and indirectly taught me something. I would like to give a big shout-out to Mrs. Lauren Bulter and Mrs. Suzan Gredig for their hard work with the Mentor Program. Making friends is absolutely going to make your studying journey more exciting, and there is nothing to lose. Besides, it is all about experiences and memories, and every single member of this Mentor Group TP3, 2017 are part of making my studies at QUTIC more memorable.

My first trip with my QUTIC friends

For my first semester break in TP2, 2017 at QUTIC, my classmates and I went to Cleveland to do some sightseeing as our beloved teacher Mr. Tim recommended. Cleveland? Well the story began when Lynn and I were assigned to work together for a presentation as we had lots of consultation with Mr. Tim. Since we have no prior experience with Queensland’s train system, and Lynn had never traveled “very” far away from her place, Tim suggested that Cleveland was close for a day trip. I didn’t have any expectations but I’m glad that I had Lynn and Miranda as travel buddies.

Raby Bay

We arrived to Raby Bay quite early in morning. We wanted to walk to Old Cleveland Lighthouse since it looked quite close on the map but after 2 hours of walking in the sun we gave up.

Old Cleveland Lighthouse

We soon to get bored with Cleveland Point and decided to go somewhere nicer.

Stradbroke Ferries

We got a good price when buying a ticket to North Stradbroke Island using our QUT student ID card. ($14 for return)

Point Lookout at North Stradbroke Island

We had lunch at Point Lookout while enjoying this wonderful view.

It took quite a bit of time for us to find the way to the nearest beach.

Stairway to heaven

We nailed it!

Lynn – on the left

Before the trip, Lynn and I were not that close. We were actually tired of seeing each other in the group meetings. At first, we didn’t work well together because we had different ideas, our learning style wasn’t similar due to our previous educational background and living environment. However, we put up with each other, and received a high score for the presentation. This achievement would not have happened without great efforts from both of us and a positive attitude during presentation even though we felt quite uncomfortable.

Looking back, working with Lynn was a good experience. It makes me realise that studying at QUT International College is not the only way to learn about different perspectives from other cultures. It also requires you to think about your own values and other culture aspects. Meeting Lynn is my first new friendship in QUTIC.

Harold Walker Jetty at North Stradbroke Island

I never told Lynn how grateful I am to have her as my friend, but I am sure that we have mutual feelings. After all the up and down with Lynn, she is my study buddy because we are very familiar with each others’ style of learning.

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! 🙂

 

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!

3 best things I have gained at QUT

After having studied at QUT for two years, finally I will be graduating this month. This is the best moment, and to look back at my university life and sharing some experiences with  students.

I am going to describe three main positive acquisitions that I have gained during my studies, including time management skills, networking, professional and practical learning.

1. Time management skills

As an international student, there are so many things I have to do on my own and probably have never done before in my home country. For example, having a part-time job, studying, volunteering, doing an internship, attending workshops and events, doing housework and so on. The most important thing is to finish what you have to do first and then prioritise tasks as well as balance them with your limited time. This is a really useful skill that is also discussed in several workshops or orientation events. It’s not an easily seen skill, but I am sure this skill will significantly influence my future life. After these two years, I understand how and what I should do to multitask that will help improve my future job efficiency as well.

2. Social network

During these two years, I’ve met and made numerous friends from all around the world.  There are always some great people who I can learn from for example what they think and do, but also their friendship and support will be there for our future career.

3. Professional and practical learning

QUT is definitely a university for the real world. Although it also means the learning could be stressful for many students. I rhave learnt a lot in classes, assignments, and also working on practical projects for Australian companies. These experiences have given me the ability to deal with problems and finding the solutions.

To sum up, studying in Australia has been a great process for me to understand what my passion or interest exactly is and build enough confidence and learn relevant skills to achieve these goals. Luckily, I have already got a full time job offer before graduating and it is strongly related to my profession and interests. I really appreciate everything and everyone that I have met at QUT and in Australia.

If you are new to Australia, I can give you some advice even though I will graduate soon. You are welcome to contact me via my Instagram and Linkedin.

Finally, please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to enjoy your study and keep following this QUT blog!

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!

 

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!

Road Trip with friends

One of the greatest memories from my student life at QUT will definitely be the road trips I have done with my friends.

Me and my friends planned to go on a road trip to experience the beautiful countryside. My friends have driving licenses and cars so we just had to decide on the destination. However if you or your friends do not have a car, rental car services are very common in Australia. Pay attention to the driver requirements from rental car companies especially if you are holding a international driving licence. Do some research on the computer and you will find plenty of information.

IWe were a large group of people going on the road trip and even if it was a while ago, I still remember the beautiful day and all the laughters.

Our first stop was Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm which took us around 1.5 hours from Brisbane CBD.

Photo: Beautiful landscape at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.

Photo: Beautiful landscape at Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm.

Photo: You can enjoy a good meal from the chef at the restaurant there with such a great view.

Photo: We were lucky to see some lavender blossoms that day.

Photo: There are some nice souveniers available for visitors to purchase.

The next stop was Queen Mary Falls, which is located at the Main Range. The view was magnificient!

Photo: It looks spectacular while we were down under the falls.

Photo: My friends climbed up the rocks to take the photos with the beautiful falls and rainbow.

If you have an opportunity to go for a roadtrip with your friends whilst studying in Brisbane, definitely do it. It will be a wonderful memory of your uni life.

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!