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.

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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!

Winter Exchange in Japan

Last year, I was very lucky to get the chance to travel and study in Japan. It has always been my dream to come to Japan since high school as I watched a lot of Japanese TV shows and wanted to experience the Japanese culture by myself. Now after almost one month of stay in Japan, I can say my Japanese improved a lot and I learnt more Japanese culture.

I came to Japan early before the start the program and went to Kyushu area for travelling. Even in winter, the mountains in Kyushu was so pretty. I still remember how nice the people I met there were. When I was trying to go to the mountain in Kirishima and was told there was no bus access, a taxi driver offered to drive me and my friend there. Not only did he charge us a little, he showed us multiple hidden spots on the mountain and tried to explain the history behind it.

As my cultural class in Amagasaki was about to start, I said goodbye to my boyfriend who was travelling with me and went to Amagasaki one day prior to the start day of the program.

This winter program consists of Japanese language study, school visits and home stay experience. I want to share with you my experience from each parts and what I learnt out of them.

Students From Brisbane and Fiji

Namba, Osaka – one of the most crowded shopping center in Japan

Japanese Language study

We are very lucky to have Fujiwara Sensei as our Japanese language teacher who is humorous and knowledgeable. Her style of teaching is very interactive and encouraging. In each of the class, we spent almost fifty percent of the time in speaking. As a result, at the end of the first week, we already known how to greet and order food in Japanese. Although the program has already ended now, I will continue learning Japanese. I hope next time when I come back to Japan, I will be able to communicate better with my Japanese friends.

Attending local students’ English class

School visits

This is another part of the program which I enjoyed a lot. We went to visited Amagasaki Junior High School for their English Festival. I was so touched by how much effort and time the students put in this festival. Both year 7 and year 8 students played skit, while year 9 students shared with us their experience in New Zealand as all of them just came back from a study trip there.

One thing I noticed from this English festival is that unlike individualism, Japanese education focuses a lot on teamwork and respect. There might be twenty students in one group and only ten characters available in a certain skit, but everyone gets the chance to go on stage and perform because one role can be played by three or four students.

Another unforgettable school visit happened in Ojiro Junior High School where we ate lunch with the students and had classes together with them. Unlike Amagasaki, Ojiro is a very small town located in the mountain with less population and colder weather.

We, as exchange students from overseas, got the chance to participate in their English and music class. The English teacher in the school told us that a lot of students there don’t have many opportunities to speak English, so they really appreciate our visiting. When the class started, each of us did a short presentation in front of the class introducing our own countries. All the students seem to be interested and took down some notes.

In the music class, the students performed a local song to us and we danced and sang What Makes You Beautiful together. It was such a wonderful time to bond together with nice music.

Visiting Amagasaki Junior High School and attending their English Festival

Home Stay in Ojiro

My first impression of Ojiro is the beautifulness and peace of this little town. I still remembered some of my friends from Australia and Fiji were so amazed by the snow on the top of the mountain because it was the first time for them to see snow.

When we arrived at the Ojiro, our host family have already been in the city hall waiting for us. All of us felt a bit nervous to be honest as most of us haven’t been living with others before. At the same time, we also wanted to know where are we going to live and know our host family better.

My host mom came to the first meeting that day as my host dad was at work. She made me completely feel at home and prepared everything for me. When host dad came home, we had a really long discussion about Japanese culture, Chinese culture and Australian culture. Both of them were really humble and asked me lots of questions. Thanks to the similarity in Kanji and Chinese character, when we didn’t understand each other by verbal communication, handwriting came into use.

At the end of the homestay, it was so hard to say goodbye to all the nice people that I have met in Ojiro. I will always remember how pretty the mountains there are, how nice the locals are and how much fun I had there!

Snow in the mountain in Ojiro

 

Homemade meal by my host mum

One month of stay in Japan is definitely an eye-opening experience for me and I really find going overseas can open your horizon a lot. So my dear reader, if you come across such kind of opportunities in the future, make sure to grab it and make the most out of it!

 

Who is a Deans’ Scholar? How do you become one?

At QUT, Deans’ Scholars is a program that you can get into with outstanding academic achievements and consistent engagement with the university community.

To be considered for entry into this program you must be a first-year student, studying a degree that comes under the Science and Engineering faculty, and be holding one of the following scholarships already:

You must also have a GPA of 6.0 or higher in your first semester, be a member of the College of Excellence and have completed at least 2 LDI units (one core workshop and one non-core workshop). If you meet the above requirements, you will be invited to apply for the program and you will be selected on a competitive entry basis.

To maintain your membership in the program, you will have to continue to have a GPA of 6.0 or highers each semester and be actively involved in the university community.

If you are considering applying to the Deans’ Scholar program, you do need to build a good relationship with at least one of your lecturers or tutors, as you will need a letter of recommendation from one academic staff to complete your application.

There are some advantages to being a Deans Scholar: You get exclusive networking opportunities with university students and staff and industry employers. You have the added benefit of meeting like-minded peers, and you maybe assigned a mentor – a senior Deans’ Scholar from the same degree and major or with similar interests to you.

So work hard in that first semester and try and get into the program. It’s definitely worth it, as it’s a smaller community of like-minded people within our big university and you get an opportunity to meet lots of new people.

Things I learnt from QUT Business Advantage

It has been a year and a half since I started at QUT. Though I heard about Business Advantage during the orientation in my very first day, I didn’t take part in it until my second semester. For those who haven’t heard about this program, Business Advantage is an extra-curricular program aiming to help business students develop comprehensive skills through interaction, group discussion, presentation and even debating.

Usually each workshop lasts for half a day or a whole day and is hosted in the first several weeks of the semester (it books out very fast!) by facilitators from the industry.

After attending four workshops (Public Speaking, Employment Preparation, Professional Facilitation and Business Design Thinking), I’d like to share with you what I learnt so far from this program.

  • We all like those who encourage others to talk

As each Business Advantage workshop involves group discussion, I’ve noticed there are always extroverted people mixed with introverted people in the group. On one hand, there are people who always keep talking and don’t give those more reserved ones the chance to talk. On the other hand, you’ll also quickly fell in love with those who lead the flow of the discussion and ask everyone ‘what do you think?’.

  • Make friends with people you meet in Business Advantage

In Business Advantage, unlike lectures where you don’t really have huge amounts of time to talk with other students, you get the chance to spend the whole day with students from the Business School. I made quite a few friends simply by asking them about their experience of this program and talking about our major during lunch break.

Trust me, you’ll definitely bump into those friends again on various occasions such as careers fair, networking events and club activities.Your confidence will build up when meeting friends in networking events because you know you’re not alone; you are with someone who shares the same goals like you!

  • Try to apply what you learnt in the workshop to real life

The Business Design Thinking workshop facilitated by Kevin Finn, Founder of TheSumof, was extremely useful and practical where I learnt how to use business canvas model to present business ideas. When this semester I saw a sponsorship opportunity to Hong Kong and mainland China where a business plan was part of the application, this business canvas model I learnt came into handy and helped me a lot in sorting my ideas out.

There are still quite a few workshops I want to attend next semester, I’m sure I’ll learn more and hope to see you there as well!

 

Dust – QUT Fashion Graduate Show

Last week I was very honoured to get invited to the QUT Fashion Graduate Show. This runway show was titled Dust and showcased the design from 19 QUT Fashion graduate students.

Before the offical start of the showcase, there was a half-hour networking session to meet the designers and talk to other audience members with a drink. I was very glad to meet another Creative Industry ambassador Ashley from U.S.A and talked to Ben Bawden who is the International and Development manager from QUT Creative Industries Faculty about the preparation of this show. It turned out quite a few agents from overseas happened to be at QUT that day and they were invited to this showcase as well.

The Graduate Show started at 8:00pm sharp. When I walked in the runway room, I could see everyone was really excited for the show.

 

The Runway

The Runway

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With the progression of the showcase, you can see the different style and theme brought forward by different designers. Each designer’s personal character was also combined into their masterpiece.

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You can see from the above two pictures that this designer combined her work with Hobbit elements and the models she used are not the traditionally super ‘slim and tall’ type. This ‘rebellious, comic and natural’ style makes me feel very refreshing and links closely to this year’s theme: DUST.

International and Development manager from QUT Creative Industries Faculty Ben Bawden also commented on this, saying “this fashion show embraces variety and you can see not all the models are slim.”

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Another collection that surprised me is the work piece by designer Ashley Donald. This collection is fully children’s ware focused on sustainability. The way those young models showing the clothing is also very heart-warming. When the first model came back to the backstage and the second model started walking, they greeted each other in the middle of the stage doing this circular motion together. To me, it looks like two friends having a little chat and complimenting each other purely by gestures.

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Man's ware

 

 

 

 

 

An hour went by very quick without evening noticing that the show was about to end. All the designers were invited on the stage and a large round of applause was given to them by all the audience for their hard work.

Another highlight to end this show was the award ceremony. As QUT has a very strong link with the industry, quite a few sponsors attended this showcase and brought to the students some awards. QUT Deputy Vice Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Suzi Derbyshire was also one of the sponsors and she thanked all the fashion graduates and supportive staff for their diligence in putting this amazing show together.

All the designers

All the designers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prof Suzi Derbyshire announcing her award

Professor Suzi Derbyshire announcing her award

Designers shouting out to supportive CI staffs

Designers shouting out to supportive CI staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Ashley said to me: “I feel like a judge in Project Runway” when watching this show. I agree to that. However, it will be very very hard to pick out the best because everyone put in so much effort to their design and everyone’s design is very unique with his or her own style.

As the only faculty that offers Fashion Design major in Queensland, I’m very proud of my university and I’m sure the showcase next year will be another blast!

 

Navigate – launch your global career

NAVIGATE is a free one-day conference that centres around global employability. It is hosted by QUT Student Support Services to help domestic and international students understand how they can build their career to compete on the international stage. It features an array of keynote speakers talking about their global experiences, a panel, breakout sessions and more!

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Every attendee received a file with the rundown inside, a name tag and notebook before the conference started.

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Panel session of the day formed by Lindsey Sun (Managing Director at Meow Media), Mike Moen (Global Director of Enrolments for CRCC Asia) and Alex Snow (Project Manager at the Foundation for Young Australians).

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One of the breakout session: Building your social capital by Lisa Lee (Director – Mergers & Equisitions at EY)

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Food is catered for the attendees too! How good is it!

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QUT student, Bianca Banchetti (Creative Industries & Law Faculty) shared her global experience with the fellows.

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Insightful speech by one of the keynote speaker, Professor Suzi Derbyshire (QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching)).

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Refreshments were provided during networking session. You can also take photo at the photo stop with the props prepared by the team!

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I am glad that I attended QUT Global Employability Conference 2016 because I totally enjoyed myself during the day and received a lot of useful information from the conference. On top of that, I got my Linkedin profile photo taken by a professional photographer! I would definitely attend it again next year if there is a chance!

 

 

Brisbane, a safe place to be

As long as I have been studying in Brisbane (over 7 years), I have never ever felt threatened and most of my international acquaintances would agree.

While studying, I have been working in hospitality for multiple different reasons:

  • my first job experience, no specific qualification required at first
  • really flexible
  • depending on the workplace you can get really good tips, which is really good extra money.

There are always a position available somewhere.

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Source: Adeline Martin. Bartender at Mr & Ms G, River Side.

I have been making coffee really early in the morning forcing me to walk the streets at 5am; to making cocktails at night in some of the busiest nightclub areas in Brisbane, finishing work at 4am.

Locals would consider those times dangerous. And most of the time my international co-worker and I would explain to them what dangerous is.

Not once in all this time spent in Brisbane I had any issues: no stalker, no insult, some drunk people through the weekends but if you are careful and no provocation, I do not see a reason for bad things to happen.

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Source: Adeline Martin. Walking home from Fortutide Valley to the City and New Farm

And depending where you work and where you go, some of the night sites are just amazing!

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Source: Adeline Martin. Casino lights from South Bank.

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Source: Adeline Martin. Working in South Bank.

I lived everywhere in Brisbane, my favorite walk home is along riverside with really nice scenery! How could you miss that?!

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Source: Adeline Martin. River Side walk with the Story Bridge view.

Go global with QUT: Part A – Dragon 100 united in Hong Kong

How much do you know about the legends of Chinese dragons? Chinese-Dragon-Green-25-large

In Chinese culture, the interpretation of dragons can be very different from that of the western culture. Dragons have always been a symbol of power, strength and good luck in many asian cultures compared to the destructive nature and often villainized portrayal in European culture and southern American aztec culture. Today I will share a story about 100 proud powerful dragons with you.

At the beginning of this month, I was very honoured to attend the Dragon 100 Business Forum and Study Tour in both Hong Kong and mainland China on behalf of QUT. Dragon 100 is an annual conference hosted in Hong Kong. Attendees of this conference are students with Chinese ethnicity from all over the world. This year, students from over 15 countries gathered together in Hong Kong.

Students from over 15 countries gathered together and shared their business ideas

Students from over 15 countries gathered together and shared their business ideas

Although I’m originally from China, I have never been to Hong Kong. So I was very excited before departure. But at the same time, I also felt a bit anxious and nervous as this year, only three delegates were from Australia (Ada from University of Melbourne, Ivan from University of Sydney and me QUT girl ), being anxious about the unknown and questioning can I fit in the various cultural boiling pot?

The dragon committee in Hong Kong put us into different groups with a good mixture of different cultural backgrounds. In my group, we have people from Malaysia, Singapore, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Cambodia, UK and the United States. Besides the common fact that we all have Chinese ancestry, all of us can speak Mandarin, to a greater or lesser extent.

The group I'm in

The group I’m in

We spent three days in Hong Kong altogether. Each day went by so fast and everyone started to know each other better day by day. The highlight of these three days was the pitching of our business ideas. Each of the groups sent out two representatives to share their business ideas/established business with the rest of us. I was amazed by the story of one of my team members – Kim. She was the founder of Kimature– A natural beauty product company where she combines the ideas from local farmers and local beauty therapy techniques together to provide healthy and eco-friendly products to customers. Other ideas range from Buddhism hotel to uni mentoring community.

I found the conference part very interesting due to the fact that it was focused on local entrepreneurship. We also had a bit of fun exploring local markets. Since we had Hong Kong delegates and volunteers in our team, they took us to Mong Kok and tried lots of famous local delicacies.

Cute car in MongKok local market

Cute car in MongKok local market

Team Food Hunting @ MongKok night market

Team Food Hunting @ MongKok night market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the whole study tour, we always say to each other: If I want to visit another country in the future, I will have friends from every continents to visit. Dragon Foundation has alumni chapter all over the world and Chinese dragons are scattered all over the world. Besides the friendship I made, I also learnt more about Chinese history and different asian cultures which is a self-discovery process. It will always be a sweet memory in the bottom of my heart!

Stay tuned for some funny adventures in mainland China!

A session on career development

A session on career development