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.

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.

 

 

 

Copenhagen and Aarhus – My Summer University Experience

In my previous blog, I talked about studying in Aarhus University and some of the difference I observed between Australian students and Danish students. Today, I’m going to show you a bit around Copenhagen and Aarhus through my eyes.

Before heading to the second largest city Aarhus for my summer course, I landed in Copenhagen and spent a day just wondering around.

The King’s Garden

As you may know, Denmark as a country is really small, let alone Copenhagen. Therefore, I didn’t actually do much research on places to visit before I landed. In spite of that, I managed to check out quite a few tourist destinations just by walking around with my phone.

Christiansborg Palace

After a relaxing stroll in the city, I walked to Little Mermaid to have a look of this famous piece of statue. 

As expected, there were lots of tourists taking pictures in front of Little Mermaid. So it’s very hard to get a close shot of it considering the huge amount of people there.

Kastellet is right next to the Little Mermaid. It is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. You can not only see windmills, fountains, but also well-preserved church and powerhouse.

Colourful Nyhavn

The next day, I took a bus to Aarhus which was roughly a 3-hour drive. The first impression I had of Aarhus was a bit plain compared with the historical and colourful Copenhagen.

Comparatively speaking, Aarhus is less historical but more modern. Still, you can see quite a few well-preserved traditional buildings. The thing that made me love the most is the little alleyways with typical Danish houses surrounded by plants and flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also got the chance to visit the famous rainbow panorama. It’s a circular walkway in all colours of the spectrum. Seeing the whole city through different colour was such an amazing experience.

 

 

 

 

 

Last but not least, although there aren’t many varieties of food in Denmark compared with in Australia, their national dish Open Sandwich (Smørrebrød) is a must-try!

I hope you enjoyed this short photo diary! If you get the chance to study one unit overseas, definitely grab it and have fun.

 

Seeking Employment on Campus?

When I talk to my friends that I’m writing blogs as an international student for QUT and share with them my very own life in Brisbane, they always ask me: How did you become a blogger and can I become one as well?

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know some of you, my readers, must be wondering as well and might want to be a future student blogger for QUT. Therefore today I want to share with you how I became a student blogger and some potential ways of finding employment on campus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About one year ago, I received an email with a recruitment advertisement in it calling for international students being bloggers talking about their life in Brisbane. It is a paid casual job and all you need to do for application is to upload your video/photos. Then I thought why not apply? So I applied and luckily got an interview opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My blogging life all started from taking the initiative and applying for it! So if you come across some opportunities like this, don’t hesitate and apply!

Other tips I can give you about seeking on-campus jobs are:

It’s the first place QUT put down their recruitment ads if they are hiring students. QUT Business School recruits student learning advisers there. QUT admission also recruits student officers there.

When applying for jobs that needs more experience, check out the official QUT website.

  • Start from volunteering

If you don’t have any working experience, it might be a good idea to start from volunteering and build up your skills. Some volunteering opportunity on campus will lead to paid jobs!

 

Attending International Student Career Panel

QUT Careers and Employment has many resources available to help students seek employment. Recently, I attended an International Student Panel on our experience with QUT Careers and Employment. We shared our journey at QUT and talked about highly recommended services every student should know about. Now I’m going to recommend three services that you can’t miss to help you get employment in Australia.

It is a workshop specifically tailored to international students where the facilitators run you through resume and cover letter writing, and interview skills.

If you are an accounting, nursing or justice student, this is a special program for you to gain some internship experience. QUT Career staff will send you job opportunities available once you join this program and also help you prepare for your interviews. Keep in mind that these opportunities are only available to QUT students studying a certain major, so don’t miss out!

Ready to take your career journey to a next level? Joining QUT Career Mentor Scheme is a good way to meet people from the industry and gain some tips first hand. You will be matched with a professional from your desired industry and learn from them what it is really like to work in that industry.

The following are two videos explaining in more detail on what services are offered to international students:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJSar2xLWYY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imx6UCn9y48

All the best to your job-seeking and good luck!

Volunteering for 2017 QUT Exchange Fair

Are you thinking about going for an exchange? If one-semester is too long or too expensive for you, maybe you can join a short-term exchange program for 2-4 weeks.

At the end of last year, I completed a short term exchange program in Japan for three weeks. It was an unforgettable experience for me where I met lots of friends and sharpened my Japanese language skills. As this program is so good and I hope more students can know about it, today I volunteered for 2017 QUT Exchange Fair.

This event was held in Kelvin Grove campus because the Young University Summit was happening in Gardens Point campus at the same time. The stalls were arranged according to different countries. There were more than 20 stalls at the event with exchange student representatives at each stall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was volunteering for the short-term exchange program stall. A lot of students showed up to ask about what short-term exchanges are and how could they participate. I noticed that many students are interested in Japan and UK.

I came across my friend Jodie when volunteering who attended the exchange program in Sonoda Women’s College with me together last year and she offered to help out at the stall. Thanks, Jodie!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a good time sharing with students our experience in Japan and encouraged them to apply either for academic study or professional development purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in  going abroad to study for a short period, definitely go and check out this QUT website: https://qutvirtual2.qut.edu.au/ismms-core/outboundStp/listUpcoming

You can find the detailed information of each program, the application due date and program start date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good luck and have fun!

College of Excellence Networking Dinner

The College of Excellence hosts an annual networking dinner for its members, where CoE members from all years at uni come together for a formal, sit-down dinner.

This year, the dinner was hosted at 66 on Ernest, with a price tag of $25 per head. However, the CoE launched a “Buddy System” this year (where a senior is matched up with a Junior, in an informal mentoring relationship), so if you could come to the dinner with your buddy, the price would be halved for both of you so you could receive tickets at the price of two-for-one.

The 3-course meal that was served was definitely worth the money we paid, and the dinner was a great way to reconnect with some of my friends amidst my busy semester schedule. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take pics of my beautifully plated food, but rest assured it was pretty good on the taste buds and aesthetically pleasing to look at (clearly, because I was so excited to eat it, that I didn’t stop to take pics).

Before the dinner, members are asked to attend a Networking and Etiquette workshop from CoE, where we are taught about dinner table etiquette and the art of networking. We are encouraged to practise our networking skills at the dinner and meet new people.

We were given a little checklist to ensure we met people from different faculties, from different year levels and with different paths into the College.

All in all, I would definitely go to the dinner next year as well. See you there!

Research Internships for Science Undergraduates

It’s almost a rite of passage for the current day for undergraduate students to do a summer internship for at least their last two years of study.

As international students we may have the slight disadvantage of not having any connections in the industry for us to land an internship – we often require more effort and time compared to that required by a domestic student.

However, QUT has in place a Vacation Research Scheme (VRES) for which all QUT students can apply! You will usually get an email in your second semester giving you more details about the VRES projects available and the supervisors in charge of each project.

The projects are categorised by school so it is easier to find a project that suits your interests and academic field. I come under the School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, so I skipped over all the other projects to look at the projects listed under this school because they would be more relevant to me.

You are required to choose and nominate three projects that interest you, in order of preference. You must email the supervisors of each of the three projects and meet up with them beforehand. This allows you to show interest in the respective project and to also get to know about the nitty-gritty of the projects. After your chats with them, your order of preference may change. So this needs to be done before you submit the application.

As per usual you need to state why you want to take part in VRES. As places are limited, the entry to this is very competitive. The supervisors have high expectations of the students who do get into VRES, and you get paid for each week of research you do.

In general, it is rather uncommon for a first year to get in, although you’re more than welcome to apply. Most supervisors prefer students from the second year and upwards due to the simple fact that by the end of the second year, you would have more knowledge and experience in the field, so the project would be more beneficial to you. However, a few first year students do get into VRES each year, so don’t let that discourage you from applying.

Read the details early on so that you can organise a time to meet up with the supervisor easily, because they tend to be very busy and often don’t have time to see you on short notice.

Keep in mind, this is just one of many opportunities that will come your way. Check in other places such as Engineers without Borders and CSIRO for other internships that maybe available to you. VRES is really good place to start looking, because it is from QUT itself.

New Year in Singapore

The famous Merlion

 

Guess where I am?

Can you recognise this Merlion?

Yes I came to Singapore. Merlion is the icon of Singapore.The fish body represents Singapore’s origin as a fishing town.

 

 

 

After my exchange in Japan and prior to my departure to Germany, I came to visit my friend Ada who’s doing an internship in Singapore at the moment and managed to catch up with two friends I met in QUT, one of them being my fellow international student blogger – Linette.

I have long been wanting to visit Singapore, a place people call Garden City and head of Asia’s financial hub.

As my friend was working most of the time, I visited a lot of places by myself. This was technically the first time that I travelled by myself. To be honest, I enjoyed it a lot. You can control your own pace and stop at places however long you want.

I spend my first day at Gardens by the Bay.

Sky trees in a rainy day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When getting out of the MRT(Singapore’s railway) station, I didn’t see Gardens by the Bay straight away. The reason I thought is that I got off one stop ahead of the stop where I was supposed to get off. So I took a stroll along the riverside and saw another Merlion and the Durian Museum.

Durian Museum

Another Merlion near Raffles Place

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I kept walking, I happened to see Marina Bay Sands where the famous infinity pool was located. This is the world’s largest rooftop pool. Imagining I have a hotel room there one day, I giggled and said to myself: You need to work harder and take a photo there one day.

Marina bay Sands. Does it look like a ship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I understand why people call Singapore garden city. It is a very very small country but is also the financial centre of south east Asia. Even in the city area where there are lots of skyscrapers, plants, trees and flowers fit really well with the high buildings.

City centre where plants co-exist with high buildings.

Night view of the sky trees

Back to the MRT station from Gardens by the Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Chinese Food Hawker Stall

China Town in Singapore

Indian Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a lunch catching up with friends on the second day, I went to China Town and Little India to see the culture and shops. There is a very unique Indian Temple in Little India and the food was so authentic and cheap.

The third day was well spent in Singapore Zoo. It is literally the most amazing zoo that I have ever went. Not only did they have a wide range of animals, you get the chance to see them in an open environment. That is to say, sometimes monkeys walk pass on the trees beside you and there was no fence to separate you from the animals. I also saw Orangutan first time in my life. I guess you can only see them in Singapore or Malaysia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orang-utan eating food

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My last day in Singapore was well spent in Sentosa Island, the southern most point in southeast Asia and at friend’s place eating traditional Chinese Sichuan style hotpot. That day was the last day of 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sentosa Island is actually a famous tourist resort where you can spend the whole week and not feel bored. They have a range of amusement facilities which include casino, cultural cuisine, 3D museums, universal studio, beaches, high-end hotels and many many more.

Due to the short time-frame, I only went to one beach that day. Luckily I went there early enough because it started raining soon after 2 pm in the afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

It started raining and a lot of people left the beach. That’s why there was nobody on the suspension bridge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you ask me what I miss the most from Singapore, my honest answer is food! The exchange rate of Singaporean dollar versus Australian dollar is almost 1:1. But the food there usually only costs 3-6 dollar from food court (also known as hawker centre).

 

 

 

 

 

There are quite a few exchange programs running between QUT and universities in Singapore. If some of the opportunities come up, please make sure to grab it because Singapore is truly a city worth exploring and a place you will fall in love.

 

Winter Exchange in Germany

Last semester, I applied for several short term exchange programs overseas. It turns out that going abroad is less difficult than I thought because a lot of the programs are easy to get into and QUT provides great support along the way.

I applied for 5 programs last year and was admitted to 3 of them. Due to the timeframe of the programs, I picked two of them to attend this winter. After exchanging in Japan, I was off to Germany for another three weeks. I can say it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my university life.

To me, Europe is a completely unfamiliar continent and German is another completely different and hard language. But I’m glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and spent 3 weeks learning German language.

This winter program consists of four parts: German language class, business seminar (you can choose between business seminar and culture seminar), photography workshop ( other workshops on offer are cooking and dancing) and excursions.

A snapshot of International Winter University in Fulda, Germany (first week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the program is really hectic and we have things to do almost everyday.

My first impression of Germany is: it is so cold! I was very unprepared when I landed in Frankfurt and was shaking all the way to the hotel.

Eurotower

Point Alpha – It was so cold there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know what? The university education in Germany is for free. Besides, there are government food subsidy to students as well. So if you eat at school canteen, it usually only costs three or four Euro.

Food in canteen only costs 3 Euro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides studying, the highlight of this trip is of course different fieldtrips! We went to Berlin for the whole weekend, exploring the art and history of east and west German. Then we toured these two little towns called Nuremberg and Wurzberg with castles and ancient cathedrals. At our last day, we headed to a ski resort called Rhon for sliding.

Nuremberg adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlin loves you – near Topographie Des Terrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor’s House in Fulda where our university is located

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got so excited when slidingGoGoglo

Most of the program participants are from Australia and America. For some of them who are from Brisbane and California, they have never seen snow before. Thus sliding made them really really excited.

I want to say thank you to all the people I met in this journey who made it an amazing experience for all. I’m sure some of us will meet each other somewhere in the world sooner or later. Danke!