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!

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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