Girl friends trip at Melbourne Part 2

Exploring the city of Melbourne  is one of the main things to include in your Victoria travel itinerary. You should also plan some time to see the wonderful nature and scenery of the beautiful state Victoria.

Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives which spans 243km along the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. There is a diverse array of things to do and see all across the region for examples the famous 12 Apostles, surfing and mountain biking expeditions, get up close to native wildlife and many more. The best and most fun is to rent a car and go for a roadtrip with your close friends. Otherwise, you can easily book a trip to Victoria through any travel agency.

Photo: The start of Great Ocean Road.

Photo: Somewhere along Great Ocean Road while we took a break from the long journey of car ride.

Photo: The view of famous 12 Apostles in a cloudy day.

Phillip Island is one of most popular attractions in Australia. You will be amazed by seeing the little small penguins returning to shore at sunset after a day’s fishing.

Photo: Saw a kangaroo in the bushes during the bus ride to Philip Island.

Before heading to Philip Island, we went to The Nobbies to walk along the coast and spent some time at the lookout enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

Photo: The boardwalks at The Nobbies.

Puffing Billy is Australia’s premier preserved steam railway. The journey onboard Puffing Billy takes you through the magnificient Dandenong ranges which is located only one hour east of Melbourne. I like the experience while on the ride of Puffing Billy so I would recommend a trip here.

Photo: Puffing Billy. You can still hang your feet out of the train.

Domaine Chandon is a winery located around 100 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD. There are a wide range of other wineries with beautiful surroundings in this area. You should try some of the lovely wines!

Photo: Domaine Chandon.

Photo: The beautiful backdrop that you can have there to take the photo.

Photo: We were lucky to see the double rainbows before leaving the winery.

Cape Schankck Lighthouse is the second coastal lighthouse built in Victoria. It is located at Mornington which is 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne.

Photo: Cape Schankck Lighthouse.

Brighton Beach is the iconic beach which is well known for its colourful bath houses. Brighton Beach is located close to the CBD and easily accessible by a 30min train ride.

Photo: Brighton beach with the colourful bath houses.

Melbourne is definitely a beautiful place to travel around with friends. Start to plan your trip and explore during your semester break! 🙂

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!

Girl friends trip at Melbourne Part 1

I have visited Melbourne twice with girlfriends. The first trip to Melbourne was a placement trip which lasted for nearly a month and the second trip was about a week. Melbourne is a beautiful and interesting place and I have lots of fun and good memories spending time  here with my girlfriends.

If you are looking to travelling to Melbourne from Brisbane, the flight takes around 2.5 hours. I will share with you guys what we did in the Melbourne CBD in this post.

Melbourne has a beautiful city landscape. Wandering around the beautiful botanic gardens is a good idea for a  relaxing afternoon. The tallest tower that you can see in the centre of the photo is Eureka Tower. You can buy tickets to go up to the skydeck, if you like to get the best view of Melbourne, the view up there is amazing.

Photo: Melbourne city landscape.

Shrine of Remembrance was built as a memorial to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I and is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. It is free for admission and the view from there is pretty good.

Photo: Shrine of Remembrance.

Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building is a World Heritage Site-listed building. It is a beautiful building both in and outside. We spent some enjoyable time to chill at the botanic gardens outside of the building. Melbourne Museum is just located a short walking distance from there.

Photo: Melbourne Royal Exhibition Building.

Cook’s Cottage is a historic landmark of Melbourne which is situated in the beautiful heritage-listed Fitzroy Gardens. Visiting Cook’s Cottage is like a fascinating step back in time. You need to buy tickets to visit and there is students concession price available.

Photo: Cook’s Cottage.

Napoleon is an exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria. The gallery hosts a wide variety of exhibition and it is free for entry.

Photo: Napoleon.

Photo: The entrance of Napoleon.

Flinders Street Railway Station is the landmark of Melbourne. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. This is the popular place to take beautiful tourist shots.

Photo: Flinders Street Railway Station.

Federation Square is a mixed-use development in the inner city of Melbourne. I would recommend to spend some time at the concourse outside of Federation Square to enjoy the city vibe. Don’t miss the chance to take a ride of the free city tram to see the city.

Photo: Federation Square and free city tram.

Photo: The map of Melbourne’s Free Tram Zone.

St Paul’s Cathedral is a historic building with intricate architecture. It is free entrance for public.

Photo: The exterior of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo: The interior of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Photo: There are many other magnificient churches along the streets of Melbourne. How good will the view up there at hot balloon be. Hopefully I can visit Melbourne again to experience the hot balloon ride.

State Library of Victoria is a Melbourne landmark and cultural icon. Personally I think it is a very beautiful building and it provides a conducive learning environment as well. I would love to spend some time to study here.

Photo: State Library of Victoria.

Chinatown Melbourne is the longest continuous China settlement in the western world. It has many good restaurants hidden inside the alleys.

Photo: Chinatown Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market is a major landmark of Melbourne. It is the largest open air market in southern hemisphere.

Photo: Queen Victoria Market.

Photo: My favourite churros cart at Queen Victoria Market.

I guess Melbourne is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to do café hopping. I had lots of fun exploring the cafes, being a great coffee lover.

Photo: Café in Melbourne CBD.

Photo: My favourite croissants place in Melbourne: Lune Croissanterie.

Degraves Street is a short and narrow laneway at Melbourne CBD. Spend your time to explore the good restaurants, patisserie and hipster shops here.

Photo: Degraves Street.

There are still so many other places which I missed whilst exploring Melbourne CBD. Melbourne’s weather could be fluctuating even within a day, so do check the weather report before you head out to explore this wonderful city.

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!

Road trip to Toowoomba

Toowoomba is a city located in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland. It takes around two hours to drive from Brisbane CBD. A friend of mine and I planned a road trip to Toowoomba for the Carnival of Flowers which occurs in September every year. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is an award winning event about spectacular gardens, live music and local food & wine etc. It’s an event loved by locals and visitors travel from all over the country to take part.

The first place we went to was Queens Park which had many beautiful flowers.

After watching all the colourful flowers, we went to Picnic Point to have our lunch. Picnic Point is and excellent lunch spot with a wonderful view of Table Top Mountain.

Photo: Tabletop Mountain.

After finishing our picnic, we went to the Japanese Gardens to see more flowers.

After relaxing at the Japanese Gardens, we went to a mountain in Highfields, which is around twenty minutes drive from Toowoomba. We didn’t know a lot about the place before going there and there were no clear signs telling you which trail to follow, so we didn’t explore too much. However, we got to see a wild kangaroo jumping in the bushes.

Toowoomba is a great destination for a road trip. Nonetheless, I would suggest you going on a day with good weather as it could get very hot and cold.

 

 

Byron Bay Getaway

Byron Bay is a coastal town in New South Wales. It is a popular holidays destination for beaches, surfing and scuba diving. It takes around two hours to go there by car from Brisbane CBD. It is a perfect destination for a day trip when you want a getaway from heaps of assignments.

We departed from Brisbane CBD at 8.30AM and arrived at Cape Byron Light House at around 10.30AM. Other than seeing the breathtaking view from the viewing platform near the light house, you can also do some light hiking there.

Photo: From the car park to Cape Byron Light House.

Photo: Beautiful view along the hiking trail.

Photo: On the way to another viewing platform.

Besides going to the well-known Cape Byron Light House, Byron Bay is also the place famous for skydiving. I gave myself a birthday challenge last year which was to fly in the sky.

Photo: The helicopter brought us high up to the sky before jumping off.

Photo: Extremely nervous and frigtening while waiting for your turn to jump off.

Photo: The breathtaking view of Byron Bay while I was flying in the sky.

Photo: I was lucky enough to see the small rainbow circle.

Photo: Feed the eyes with the magnificient view while we were hanging in the sky.

Photo: When we were about to touch down.

Can’t believe that I did it still! If I never challenge myself to do skydiving, I will never get to enjoy the breathtaking view up there. It’s the same in our daily lives: If you don’t challenge yourself, you will never realise what you can become. Become a better you from stepping out of your comfort zone.

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!

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.

Wandering around QUT Precincts

If you have some free time to just hang out at QUT Gardens Point, QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House are the places that you should visit!

QUT Precincts is Australia’s leading university cultural precinct and home to world-class venues. It consists of QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery, Old Government House and The Cube which located at Gardens Point campus. Another one is QUT Creative Industries Precinct located at Kelvin Grove campus.

I have shared some photos of The Cube and QUT Creative Industries Precinct at the blogposts of QUT Gardens Point campus and QUT Kelvin Grove campus separately before.

Today I would like to share some photos that I took while I visited QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House.

Photo: The entrance of QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibitions at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibition at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: The exterior of Old Government House.

Photo: The interior of Old Government House.

Photo: The panorama of Brisbane at 1872 exhibited at Old Government House.

Photo: The exhibition at Old Government House.

Photo: One of the corner at William Robinson Gallery.

There are all free so you can always visit if you have some time at Gardens Point campus.

Placement at the outback

QUT is an university for real world. I can’t agree more.

I was lucky enough to get selected for the placement at Ngaanyatjarra Lands which is located at the outback of central Perth. This was the coolest placement experience I have so far.

The Ngaanyatjarra lands includes twelve aboriginal communities. Eleven of them have a health clinic built in the communities. The placement was a vision screening trip to the Ngaanyatjarra lands. The vision screening team of the trip consisted of an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, two optometry students, one nurse and one registrar. For your information, vision screening is an efficient and cost-effective method to identify the visual impairment or eye conditions that possibly complicate with the vision loss, therefore a timely referral can be made to the appropriate eye care professional for further examination and management.

All the communities scatter around the Ngaanyatjarra lands. Due to the remote location, we have to take the jet charter to access to those communities. We departed from Fremantle at Perth early in the morning to kick start the five days vision screening trip.

Image: The interior of our jet charter. It was a pretty comfortable ride.

Image: We were above the clouds when the sun was rising. The sky was coloured with pink and light blue.

Image: My course mate and I were offered to be the co-pilot. It was such a cool experience for us!

Image: The photo of I and the jet charter.

Image: The vision screening team.

Image: The photo of the friendly pilot and us.

We have screened around 180 people during the five days vision screening trip and dispensed numerous sunglasses. QUT provides this rare opportunity for the students to experience whatever that may happen in our future career.

Other than doing placements locally, students are also allowed to seek the placement opportunities worldwide. I went back to my home country for the summer holidays and finished part of the placements at one of the eye centres in my country in the meanwhile. The placements enable me to expose myself to the eye care system in both countries. It also prep myself with the these experiences before I kick start my career once I graduate.