I am Kasun Kalhara, studying Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at Queensland University of Technology, majoring in Aerospace Engineering. Since high school, I was interested in advocating peer students and support them.
It has been two weeks since I started my internship at EY Singapore. This was not an easy start because I arrived to a new country by myself and I didn’t really know what to expect. The feeling I got when I first arrived Singapore was somewhat similar compared to when I first landed in Australia.
The Confucius Institute is a non-for-profit organisation which aims to promote Chinese language and culture. QUT Confucius Institute was established in 2008, the first in Queensland. It has worked with both QUT and local schools to deliver educational workshops and Chinese language classes.
While studying in China, I had heard about the Confucius Institute program where you can go overseas to teach Chinese. I was very interested in this opportunity, however, you need a teaching degree to be able to apply, so I wasn’t eligible.
After studying in Australia, I realised QUT has a Confucius Institute and I emailed them to show my interest in volunteering because I’m still very keen to teach Chinese even though I’m studying business. ( If you are also interested in volunteering, you can just email email@example.com. )
One event that I participated in this year is Queensland Chinese Speech competition where both primary, middle and high school students from various parts of Queensland attended. They were grouped by age and background (being Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking). I was very surprised to see the big turnout of both students and parents.
While volunteering as a floater in the competition room, I also got the chance to sit and listen to students’ speech. Some students stumble, others very fluent. Regardless of it, I can see how much effort they put in learning another language and how much support the peers show to each other.
Recently, QUT Confucius Institute hosted a thank-you event to thank the efforts all the volunteers put in during this year. Some previous volunteers also showed up and they now teach Chinese in local schools. So if you are a teaching/education student and are interested in gaining some experience, start with being a volunteer at Confucius Institute because they have a lot of teaching opportunities and collaboration with Queensland schools.
P.S. If you are interested in learning Chinese, QUT Confucius Institute run basic Chinese classes every week. 🙂
After having studied at QUT for two years, finally I will be graduating this month. This is the best moment, and to look back at my university life and sharing some experiences with students.
I am going to describe three main positive acquisitions that I have gained during my studies, including time management skills, networking, professional and practical learning.
As an international student, there are so many things I have to do on my own and probably have never done before in my home country. For example, having a part-time job, studying, volunteering, doing an internship, attending workshops and events, doing housework and so on. The most important thing is to finish what you have to do first and then prioritise tasks as well as balance them with your limited time. This is a really useful skill that is also discussed in several workshops or orientation events. It’s not an easily seen skill, but I am sure this skill will significantly influence my future life. After these two years, I understand how and what I should do to multitask that will help improve my future job efficiency as well.
2. Social network
During these two years, I’ve met and made numerous friends from all around the world. There are always some great people who I can learn from for example what they think and do, but also their friendship and support will be there for our future career.
3. Professional and practical learning
QUT is definitely a university for the real world. Although it also means the learning could be stressful for many students. I rhave learnt a lot in classes, assignments, and also working on practical projects for Australian companies. These experiences have given me the ability to deal with problems and finding the solutions.
To sum up, studying in Australia has been a great process for me to understand what my passion or interest exactly is and build enough confidence and learn relevant skills to achieve these goals. Luckily, I have already got a full time job offer before graduating and it is strongly related to my profession and interests. I really appreciate everything and everyone that I have met at QUT and in Australia.
Finally, please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to enjoy your study and keep following this QUT blog!
When you think about working overseas, does the idea excite you or terrify you?
For me, working overseas has always been on my to-do list since I finished high school. Growing up in a small town in rural Shanghai, I wanted to go outside my hometown and see what opportunities are out there. When I was 19, I went abroad for the first time to the United States where I got the chance to see another side of the world. This really intrigued me to think: what do people do in another country and how culture can shape the personality of a person?
I’m sure most of you really want to step out of your comfort zone and experience something different from your current environment. But some of you might think: “Oh I don’t have the money to go overseas.””I really want to go but no one is going with me.” or “How can I work overseas while I can’t get a working visa?”.
Well, I’ve seen many people overcame all the obstacles and supported themselves financially while working overseas. How? I’ll share with you some of the ways I tried or am planning to try out in order to work in another country.
As an organisation dedicated to provide students with internship and volunteering opportunities with overseas partners, AIESEC helps students seek overseas employment. While some of the jobs are volunteering based, there are paid roles as well. Most universities in Australia have an AIESEC branch or student club on campus, make sure to check it out.
- Teach English
If you speak English as your mother tongue or are confident about your English skills, there are whole tons of opportunities to go overseas and teach English, whether be in China, Thailand or Spain.
At first I had this impression that you have to speak English as your first language to be eligible to apply. However, I later found out that this is not necessary. Some of the organisations are open to candidates who don’t speak English as their native language. In addition, there are pros if English is not your first language because you went through the process of learning English and know well what teaching approach is more effective.
I just did a key word search on QUT Career Hub and a lot of teaching positions pop up!
- Working Holiday
This is probably one of the most common ways people choose to work overseas. While studying and travelling in Australia, I met so many people coming to Australia to work as well as having a holiday. The only downside about this that I can think of is that most jobs offered to working holiday visa holders are in the field of hospitality. If you are looking for professional jobs, it might be hard to get one.
- Apply for an internship
For some multinational companies that have offices across the world, they are more open to candidates from overseas. In the area of accounting which is my major, some of the accounting firms like Ernest & Young welcome interns from overseas universities and give support in obtaining a working visa. So it is worth doing some research and just apply!
If you have a passion to work overseas and experience something different in this ever-changing global world, just do it! Many people have done it! I’m sure we can do it too!
Experience QUT Day is an event organised for international Year 11 and 12 students studying in Australia. Students can get an insight of what it is like to study at QUT and also network with other high school students.
Even though it was raining, about 70 students showed up to the event, some coming all the way from Gold Coast and Cairns.
I was helping with registration and was happy to see so many young faces looking forward to university life.
The event started with a presentation by Jimi Bursaw from Leadership, Development and Innovation Program on “Future of Uni, Work and You”.
Most of the students were very engaged with the presentation and which made students think about why university is important to them.
The most exciting part of the event was the Experience QUT Team Challenge. Students formed teams and then went to different stations hosted by faculties as part of the challenge. Each faculty representative was responsible for designing challenges and gave teams feedback on their performance. It was simply amazing to see students from different high schools form into groups and develop friendship.
This team challenge was hosted by QUT Science and Engineering faculty. Students learnt about simple programming and how to control a robot to take a certain route in order to finish the game.To be honest, it was not a simple task . Students needed to learn the basic programming quickly in order to finish the task. Team work and being efficient was really important.
After almost 2-hour of the team challenge, winners and runner-ups were announced with different prizes. Students were also given the time to talk to student ambassadors about the courses and their study experience at QUT.
It made me think of myself in high school, although I wasn’t as active in seeking tips for starting uni as those young and passionate high school students. I did hope to have a chance to talk to seniors about their experience at QUT, so that I could know better what to expect. Experience QUT Day was indeed a golden chance for high school students to find out more about uni life. Good on you for attending!
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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Check out QUT career hub frequently
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.
- Check out QUT Jobs website
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!