Queensland international students steer the ‘Leader’ship

For the second time, the Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum was held on 15th and 16th October in Brisbane. More than 120 Queensland international student leaders from different leadership backgrounds brought multicultural diversity to the forum. Student leaders carrying different titles at institutional levels all over Queensland added value to the insightful discussions at the forum. Queensland International Student Leaders’ Forum is an annual event organised by the Study Queensland with the involvement of the Queensland International Student Advisory panel (QISAP) and Council of International Students in Australia (CISA).

Study Queensland is the State Government organisation dedicated to welcoming, valuing, supporting and growing international students. The study clusters across Queensland including Study Brisbane, Study Gold Coast, Study Cairns, Study Townsville and Study Sunshine Coast also contributed towards the successful delivery of a productive leadership forum.

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My saving tips for the daily life of an international student

I think money issue is one of the main worries for most of the international students in Australia. Being an international student in Brisbane, I have to keep a close eye at the digits of my bank account to make sure that I have enough money for my rent, food, transport, social activities, travelling and last but not least, the tuition fee.

1) Groceries

There are many options to do your groceries in Brisbane for examples Aldi, Woolworths, Coles, IGA, K mart, Big W, Costco, Asian Groceries Stores etc. Normally the large grocery stores may carry most of the stuff you need but different brands. Compare the prices between the grocery stores and the different brands they carry (grocery home brands are often cheaper)  if you want to save some money! Furthermore, the big grocery stores may have discount for different types of products every week, so join their mailing list and keep an eye on their specials.

Other than the regular promotion, some products which are approaching expiry date will have a further price reduction. I always buy discounted ice coffee which makes my day haha!

As a member of one of QUT’s student organisations you may have discounts for stores across Brisbane. For instance, QUT Malaysian Students Association provides special discounts for members who shops in one of the Asian grocery stores in the city.

I would suggest you buy fruits and vegetables from the markets, as it’s normally cheaper  than the grocery stores. You can find out more about Brisbane markets from my previous post: https://blogs.qut.edu.au/student-life-in-brisbane/2016/11/01/markets-culture-in-brisbane/

2) Transport

I have shared some saving tips in my previous blog post: Public transport in Brisbane.

3) Accommodation

There are many options for accommodation for examples homestay, students apartments, shared acommodation etc. The weekly rent could range from AUD $100+ to $300+. Personally I think shared accommodation is the cheaper option, however, it all depends on what your requirements are.

4) Travelling

Travelling could be very affordable if you plan well in advance. Brisbane has a great geographic location and is near most of Australia’s major travel destinations.  Join the airlines’ email list so you don’t miss the cheapest ticket. Instead of flying, you can choose to do a road trip to any of the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane. You can read my previous post regarding my visit to the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane.

If you plan to visit some tourist spots which require entrance tickets e.g. Lone Pine Sanctuary or all the theme parks on the Gold Coast, I would suggest you buy the ticket in advance. Check out some travel agencies in the city or suburbs as they would be able to sell you the tickets with a better price than the venue. You can read my blog post with some travelling tips about Gold Coast Theme Parks.

5) Social activities

I enjoy dining out with friends, however dining out in Brisbane could be  very expensive. Some restaurants serve very big portions, so it is a good idea to share with a friend if you have small appetite. The portion of food sold by food trucks is normally not that big. You could check out my previous blog to know more about the food trucks culture in Brisbane.

Hopefully these tips could save some money whilst studying as an international student in Brisbane!

Chasing the sunset

I like to take photographs of sunset because it is beautiful. If you like to see or take photographs of the sunset as well, probably can think about these few places around Brisbane that I am going to introduce you.

  • Wellington Point is a suburb of Redland City, about 22km south-east of Brisbane. It is the good place to catch sunset!

The photo was taken at the bottom of the bridge before the sunset.

The following four photos were taken from the sun was about to set until almost set. I am so astonished by the changes in the colour of the sky at that golden hour for photography!

I think it is a good idea to include people in the sunset photographs as well.

The photo was taken above of the bridge after the sunset. Isn’t it amazing? The sky became pinkish colour after the sunset.

  • Redcliffe is a residential suburb of the Brisbane metropolitan area located within Moreton Bay Region LGA in the north-east of the Redcliffe peninsula, approximately 28 kilometres north-north-east of the Brisbane CBD. It is good to choose to go there on a Sunday morning so then you can also explore the market there.

You can find fresh produce, arts and crafts and many other things there.

There are also goats in the market!

The following few photos are the beautiful sunset at Redcliffe.

The sky turns into pinkish colour after the sunset at there too.

  • Shorncliffe pier is a historic pier which situated near Saint Patrick’s College and lower Moora Park. It takes around 35 minutes to travel from Brisbane city.

People say here is the good place for meditation.

  • Kangaroo Point Cliffs are heritage-listed cliffs located at Kangaroo Point just across the Brisbane River from the Brisbane CBD in Queensland, Australia.

The last few photos were the beautiful sunset with the view of Brisbane city.

CityHopper: Free Ferry Service in Brisbane

Did you know that there is a free ferry service in Brisbane? Yes, you can use a free ferry service, which name is CityHopper, if you want to travel along the Brisbane River for free. This is the only free inner-city ferry service in Brisbane. This ferry can be easily spotted by its red and white colour.


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Urbanest – Student Accomodation

Located in South Brisbane, Urbanest is just about a fifteen minute walk to QUT’s Gardens Point campus. It is also a five minute walk from many restaurants on Grey Street and the Streets Beach. Needing to travel further? Urbanest is right next to the bus and train stations.

The apartment building itself is quite suitable for a University student as well. The two most common room styles are:

  1. a 5 or 6 person apartment, each resident with their own room and bathroom, and a shared common room and kitchen
  2. a 16 person apartment with 8 rooms, meaning two people per room and bathroom, and a shared common room and kitchen for the apartment.

There are also single suites and studio style apartments. Urbanest has a movie room, a fitness center, study rooms, and a laundry room. The management for the most part is pretty good. They know how to do their jobs, and do their best at accommodating residents needs. They also put on events for the residents.

Urbanest is a very sociable place with students from around the world. It is very easy to meet people and fun to learn about the different cultures this world has to offer.

No the apartment complex isn’t perfect, but it’s worth looking into if the majority of your classes are at Gardens Point – or even Kelvin Grove!

Traveling to the Gold Coast

While Brisbane itself has a lot to offer, it is also only one or two hours away from the ocean and major beaches. If you have a free day, hop on the train in the morning and head down to the Gold Coast. The trip is about an hour train ride plus a twenty-or-so minute bus ride. Use the Translink website or app to figure out your route and fare; it will be cheaper if you have a GoCard. Once you’re there, you’ll have a full day of laying out in the sand, swimming in the ocean, and relaxing. Depending on what beach you go to as well, you’ll have plenty of shops and restaurants to explore. Surfer’s Paradise is a great beach if you’re looking for this. No matter what beach you choose, you’ll see that the ocean views are beautiful. Grab some friends and make a day out of it – you won’t regret it.

Choosing accommodation Part II

As promised in my previous blog post on choosing accommodation, here I am with a follow-up post.

Regardless of how much time and thought we put into choosing our respective abodes, we always end up compromising on something. The trick is to identify your deal-breakers and your perks – feel free to compromise on your perks.

For example, if you would like to be near a supermarket or shopping centre for convenient shopping, but being near public transport is crucial to you, then it’s alright if you settle for a place that has a bus-stop right outside your house, and the bus takes you to a supermarket in 15 minutes.

Consider the size of the room you would like – space is not major factor for me, but I have friends who cannot stand to be in a small room.

Consider natural light – I have visited many student share houses and other accommodation where the rooms are sold at a cheaper price because there is very little sunlight in the room or no sunlight at all! This is a deal breaker for me as I need natural light to function. My previous room had no windows in it and I suffered a lot because of that.

Think about your surroundings if you can afford to – would you like living in an apartment-style accommodation or a house surrounded by a small garden?

Last, but definitely not least, consider the lease terms before you sign the lease. If possible, send it over to an attorney-at-law and get it checked, especially if the jargon is hard to navigate.

Student accommodation agencies vary in flexibility and this is evident in their different lease terms. Carefully read the house rules and any other specifications put in your lease. Some accommodation agencies can be very strict; some do not permit any alcoholic drinks on the premises at any time, have strict rules on visitors and sometimes even on internet usage.

I have had to let go of many places that I liked because their rule on internet usage was that it could only be used for study purposes and not entertainment – everyone loves an occasional movie, right?

I hope you find satisfactory accommodation through your house-hunting ventures! Don’t forget to get in touch with QUT accommodation service for help and advice on accommodation and housing!

The RoundUp

Apply now to study at QUT!

Thinking about starting your university journey at QUT in Semester 1, 2017?

Make sure you submit your application now so you don’t miss out.

We hope to see you on campus soon!

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Welcome to Australia Email Course

Our friends at Insider Guides have prepared a free, two-week course written by international students, locals, and experts to help you with things such as working in Australia, exploring your new city, and transport options.

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Spotlight on QUT research

PhD student, Atiyeh Vaezipour from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), has designed an in-car device that aims to persuade drivers to adopt a fuel efficient and safe driving style.

It’s just some of the awesome research happening at QUT!

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Explore Brisbane’s art galleries

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) hosts many exciting art installations. The current one, Sugar Spin, features over 250 artworks exploring light, space, architecture, and the senses.The exhibition is free.

A fun place to visit while you’re exploring South Bank in Brisbane!

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Stay fit and meet new people!

University isn’t just about studying, you will also have time to socialise and get involved in student life.

QUT offers a variety of sport clubs and social teams for you to meet people from all over the world in a relaxed setting!


Follow our bloggers!

Read about some of the exciting experiences our our international student bloggers have enjoyed since moving to Australia!

One of our bloggers, Linette, wrote about the beautiful places she has visited near Brisbane. We guarantee you will have a lot of fun here!

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QUT students stand out from the crowd!

QUT’s Leadership, Development and Innovation (LDI) Program takes students through a series of workshops to re-think what leadership means. Students receive awards for their level of involvement and it is a great achievement to have on your resume’.

The best news though? It is the only program of its kind in Australia!

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Real stories of QUT international students

You will find all these great stories by following our Instagram account!

Check out @qutinternational and search for #QUTI to read about other students’ experiences.

Have a great weekend!

The QUT Team

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Online dating booming but how much does education matter?
QUT takes out three awards in prestigious global competition
Chris doodles his way to ‘Bizdraw’ startup
QUT recognised for global leadership in learning and teaching
2016 in pictures – top photos from QUT Media

4 hours in Adelaide

4 hours in Adelaide? You must be wondering why did I only stay for such a short time in Adelaide!

Actually I originally planned for a one day trip to Adelaide as I need to go there to apply for a Schengen visa. But unfortunately I missed my flight because I couldn’t print my boarding pass in time. It was a tough time at the airport as I stayed there to wait for the earliest flight in the morning the next day.

Anyway, put the  bad luck aside, I still enjoyed the 4 hours I had at Adelaide a lot. The following are some differences I noticed between Adelaide and Brisbane:

  • The concession bus fare from Adelaide airport to city was only $1.30. I was a bit surprised because compare with the $20 train fare from Brisbane city to airport, this is a lot cheaper
  • The road in Adelaide city is wider. The moment I arrived at the city, I can feel it is much wider and open compared with Brisbane

    Adelaide city

    Adelaide city

  • Bus station board is also different
    Bus station board in Adelaide city

    Bus station board in Adelaide city

    I really hope I could’ve stay there longer and explore more about this city. However, I still had 3 exams to attend at that time, so I flew back in the afternoon on the same day. But it was fun to notice some differences between these two cities. I will go back there again one day and learn more about Adelaide!



    Bye Adelaide, I’ll be back!

Public transport in Brisbane

Personally, I think Brisbane has the top-notch public transport system. The public transport in Brisbane are coordinated by TransLink which is a division of the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Generally, public transport includes buses, trains, and ferries. To be the commuter, you have to purchase a GO card beforehand either online or from the selected locations, otherwise you can buy the single trip ticket from the driver but it will be more expensive than using a GO card.

Students are allowed to apply for the tertiary concession fares. More info can be obtained from: http:// translink.com.au.


Photo: TransLink Student Concession GO card. However you can no longer buy this card now, the GO card you buy will be the normal adult card.

When I am at Brisbane, I can plan my trip nicely without wasting too much time waiting because the public transport is scheduled properly by TransLink. If you have never been to the place that you want to go, you can just type in your start point, end point and the travel day and time into TransLink website and the information about different types of routes, including the type of public transport you should take as well as the timings will be at your finger tips.

The public transport I always use is the bus. One thing I noticed in Brisbane is bus drivers say hello to the commuters while they board the bus and the commuters also say thank you to the drivers when they depart from the bus. Although this is just a very small thing, however it always make me feel warm and friendly. There is also free city bus loop service at designated stations.

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Photo: TransLink bus and King George Square Station (bus) at the city.


Photo: The Loop Free Service at Brisbane city and the bus station (other public bus stations are blue colour, only this one is red colour)

The other public transport I use quite frequently is the train. The trains have designated quiet carriages. I think it is really good for those who just want to take a rest during the train ride. An interesting thing to mention is the train doors are not automatically opening so do press the button beside the door to open it yourself.  I remember there was one time I forgot about this and stood there wondering what’s wrong with the door ahahaha!


Photo: Queensland Rail at Brisbane.

Brisbane River is the longest river in the south east region of Queensland and it flows through the city of Brisbane before emptying into Moreton Bay. Every day there are ferries travelling on the river to fetch the commuters from the ferry terminal locations. Basically there are two types of ferries: CityCat and CityHopper. The main difference between CityCat and CityHopper is CityHopper is a free transport service while CityCat is fare chargeable. To use CityCat, you can just tap your GO card and hop on, as simple as how you use the bus and train services. Besides, CityHopper doesn’t travel to every ferry terminal and the frequency is also less compared to CityCat.


Photo: CityCat with the view of Brisbane landmark, Story Bridge.

To me, CityCycle is a modern type of public transport. It is just quick and easy to use CityCycle, what you need to do is just subscribe online with a credit or debit card. There are different types of subscription options to suit your need. If you are keen to understand more about CityCycle, here is the link for you: https://abo-brisbane.cyclocity.fr


Photo: CityCycle with Brisbane city view.


Photo: CityCycle with Brisbane River view.

There are some tips to save on the public transport fares to share:

  • Avoid peak times to take the public transport because off-peak fares are 20% cheaper than the peak fares
  • If you are plan to travel to somewhere far away such as Gold Coast during the weekends, try to accumulate your eight paid journeys during the weekdays so then you can enjoy 50% off subsequent journeys per week
  • Fully use the free transport services as mentioned above
  • Walk to your destination if it is in the walking distance. Walking is good for your body you know right ahaha!
  • QUT provides a free shuttle bus service between Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove campus for students.

Photo: QUT shuttle bus 391.

Now you know how to cut your commute expenses from the very beginning of your study journey at Brisbane! 🙂