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

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.

My volunteering experience with RSPCA

I attended QUT Skilled Volunteering Expo and signed up for a few organizations that I am interested in. After signing up, I received the emails when they need volunteers for the events.

I had a lot of free time after finishing the final exams so I registered my name to volunteer as the photographer for Santa Paws Christmas market by RSPCA QLD.

The RSPCA is an independent, non-government community-based charity providing animal care and protection services. The RSPCA’s mission is to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. If you would like to know more about RSPCA, here is the link for you: https://www.rspca.org.au/

Basically you can find all types of things related to pets in the RSPCA superstore.

If you want to have a pet and believe that you will be able to take good care of them, adoption is a pretty good idea.

There are seven reasons why you should choose adoption. So think about adoption!

Some fun facts about the dogs’ age when comparing to human years.

The following photos are the cute dogs in the RSPCA adoption centre at that time.

Other than dogs, there are also cats in the RSPCA adoption centre.

People can have their pet’s photo taken with the one and only RSPCA’s Santa Paws on that day and also do some Christmas shopping for their pets.

The dogs were clad in with the Christmas accessories by their owners and waiting for the photos to be taken.

This little cutie pie wore the fancy clothes. How adorable is it!

The following photos are some other cute dogs I met during the event.

This little one was sniffing my camera haha!

Happy dog and the happy owner.

Two cutie pies.

Not only the pets, kids also have a lot of fun during the day.

The team is there to help you if you need any.

My volunteering experience with RSPCA was great. If you have time and feel like doing something meaningful, think about volunteering.

Sidebar: I met with other RSPCA volunteers during my morning run along Brisbane River at South Bank. The volunteers were strolling with the dogs for adoption in RSPCA.

Everyone is welcome to get close with the dogs and have fun with them if you are keen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ISAQ Welcoming Party

ISAQ (Indonesian Student Association of QUT) is an association for Indonesian students who study at QUT. ISAQ is also open to all other QUT students who have interests with Indonesia. This association holds events regularly.

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QUT Airport Reception

Did you know if you are a new international student at QUT you can use QUT Airport Reception service for free? It is one of many services that International Student Services (ISS) provides to international students at QUT. In this post I am going to share my experience of using QUT Airport Reception when I arrived in Brisbane for the first time.

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Orientation Lunch

Monday, 20 February 2017 marked the commencement of O-Week at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for academic calendar 2017. There was a lot of interesting events during the O-Week. One of the interesting events that caught my eyes was the $2 lunches. It was simply because you cannot get $2 worth of lunches anywhere near QUT. Because of that, this event was included in my must-attend events during the O-Week and in which I always had my lunch during the O-Week (of course because of the price). Read more

Getting yourself organized at uni

I somehow miraculously managed to pull through my entire first year by solely keeping events of the day and week in my head, and setting the occasional reminder or alarm.

Now that I’ve started my second year, it would be joking if I told you I could survive using the same tactic.

Enter the ultimate tool *drumroll*: Google Calendar. Seriously, this is a gem of an app. Don’t wait until your second year to use this – star using it as early as you can to get yourself organised smoothly.

Basically, Google Calendars is a daily/weekly/monthly planner. All you need is a google account and a smartphone. You can set up events and reminders for your entire year as you please. Seeing it on an interactive interface will easily let you know when you’re free and will prevent you from being double-booked.

The best part is you can export your class timetable to Google Calendars, and BAM! You have your whole day on your phone, literally. It will show you your class name, time and location from the information on your QUT virtual Calendar. How awesome is that?!

You can export your class schedule as an iCal file and import it online (on a laptop or desktop, not a mobile phone) and then you’re all set to go. It will alert you on your mobile app before you’re due at an event.

You can think of it as a central scheduler for your day – your work shifts, meetings, classes and other commitments all in one spot that you can see on the go. You can set up customised alerts to remind you of your events.

This is handy tip which I would have benefitted from knowing sooner. So there you go!

My trip to Gold Coast

After a year of hearing about the infamous Gold Coast and its beaches and absolutely dying to go there, I finally made it!

What nobody told me about Gold Coast was that, in fact, it is not one long stretch of … a coast. TheGC has many beaches and you have to choose which beach you want to visit. So yeah… there’s a little fun fact for you – that Gold Coast is not in fact one long beach.

By far, the most famous of GC’s beaches would be Surfer’s Paradise. So I went there first.

Undoubtedly, it was rather crowded on a Sunday. So I hopped on the G Link tram service and moved South to Broadbeach. It was only slightly less crowded than Surfer’s paradise but there was more shade to camp under, so I decided to stay there.

Broadbeach is lined with a market on Sunday afternoon so you easily get cheap food, fresh juice and little trinkets there.

Getting to GC via train and bus took me a total of just over $10 only for a round trip, which is really cheap. Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable going there via public transport yet, there are guided tours hosted by QUT ISS (International Student Services) for around $50 for a round trip. It’s a really good place to start looking if you want to start seeing more of Queensland’s beaches and wildlife spots. ISS will give you a detailed itinerary of your trip so you’ll be able to judge if the price you pay is worth it. A definite plus side is you won’t have to go alone as it will be a big group.

My advice is you pack and bring your own food and drinks if you’re short on money, rather than rely on the shops around the beach and they can get quite pricey.

Don’t forget to take a towel, sunglasses, your bathing suit, a large beach mat or blanket to spread and sit on, and HEAPS OF SUNSCREEN. I applied sunscreen religiously and yet suffered from a vicious sunburn. Use SPF 50+ always and stay hydrated. If your phone drains battery make sure you bring along a portable charger. Bring a nice book to read on the beach as you chill with your coke and chips.