How to do Mount Beerburrum Lookout

When thinking about things to do around Brisbane, the first thing that comes to my mind is the beach. Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, North Stradbroke Island, you name it ! However, one thing that I discovered last weekend is that there are heaps of places you can hike only an hour away from Brisbane ! More specifically, there is this place called Mount Beerburrum Lookout where you can hike for around 700m and get this wonderful view :

Not bad right ?

A 700m walk seems pretty easy, but don’t let it fool you : it is very very steep ! In fact, it is a class 4 hike, which are the most difficult ones. What is great about the hike though is that it is not too long, so you really don’t need to be an athlete to complete the walk. There is not a lot of shade on the way to the top and it does get pretty warm at this time of the year, so if you have he chance, try to go in the morning. It takes around 1h to 1h 30 minutes to do the entire loop, so you have plenty of time to go hit the local beaches of the Sunshine Coast after, or even complete one of the other hikes around if you are brave ! One last tip : if you do not feel like getting led by Google maps to an abandoned farm nearby, make sure to research how to get there before leaving Brisbane.

All in all, this hike is definitely worth it and I recommend it 100% !



Fun Day Trip: Gardner’s Falls

Want an exciting, new place for a swim other than the beach? Look no further than Gardner’s Falls.

As an exchange student from the United States, I have been eager to get out and explore as much as possible in and around Brisbane. Located in Maleny, just about 90 kilometers’ drive from the city, Gardner’s Falls is exactly my ideal day trip. As much as I love the beach, it’s nice to swim in fresh water for a change. Gardner’s Falls is in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, so there are beautiful views of the mountains and surrounding land on the drive to and from the swimming hole. Once you are there, it’s a perfect location to set up camp for the day with a group of friends and have a picnic while soaking in the sun. Once you’ve had enough relaxing though… You have to try out the rope swing.

I personally am a huge adrenaline junkie, so when my friend told me there was a big rope swing we could go to, I was 100% in. It completely met my expectations too! These pictures don’t do the swing the justice it deserves. You can control how much air you get depending on how high up you perch yourself to start your swing. I may love a good thrill, but I sure am not as daring as the people doing flips off the swing. I’d rather be a spectator when it comes to those crazy feats! Be very careful if you choose to attempt any tricks when you visit Gardner’s Falls.

For those who are slightly intimidated by the height of the first rope swing, don’t fret–there’s a smaller rope swing for you to try out. Of course, the picture just so happens to be showing someone doing a flip… But no need to do anything fancy! It’s exhilarating enough to just swing through the air into the water.

If you REALLY aren’t feeling the rope swings, you can simply watch from the rocks and hang out! There were also people jumping off the rocks into the water. The water is very deep and is a safe depth to jump into. Just be sure the area you’re about to jump into is clear of any other swimmers!

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.


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!


Find out Yi Fen’s exchange experience


Hi guys. This is Yi Fen from Malaysia. She is one of the friends that I met here and gotten close with. She is from University Tengku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia and spent a semester here in Queensland University Technology for exchange. Recently, I managed to have a talk with her about her exchange experience here.

Q: Why did you choose Queensland University Technology for your exchange?

A: It was part of the options to choose from and Brisbane has nice weather. They also had an education program which is what I major in.

Q: What were the differences between the education system here and back in Malaysia?

A: The education system here is different as compared to back home. over here in QUT, students just go to class that they are enrolled for, whereas back home you go to class with your intake so the people in class are almost always the same. Therefore, over here, I am able to meet with different students from different intake and even from another faculty.


Q: What did you learn from this exchange?

A: I learnt a lot about time management in order to plan my journey using public transport. I learnt to be more open while speaking to strangers because the people here are friendly and always engaging in conversations.


Q: How were the friends you met throughout this exchange?

A: They came from many different parts of the world with their own experiences to share. Most of them were very adventurous, wanting to explore Brisbane as much as I did. We went star gazing, Ekka, climbed up a tree house for the first time, experienced Riverfire, went fishing for the first time and visited the Parliament.


Student exchange experiences


Hi guys! This is Vicky (Wen-yi Lin). She is from Taiwan and studies Bachelor of Business, major in International Business in Tamkang University (TKU) in Taipei. She got to Brisbane last year July. She participated in the exchange program from her university and spent a year here in QUT. She will be returning to Taiwan mid of this year. Here are some of the questions I have asked to find out about her exchange experience in Brisbane!

Q: One word to sum up your exchange in QUT?

A: Life-changing

Q: What are the best experience or highlight for your one year exchange to Australia?

A: Traveling alone to Adelaide and Perth

Q:  3 things you will miss most in Brisbane?

A; My friends, friendly people, and the food

Q: What will you miss the most in QUT?

A: The resourceful library

Q: How do you spend your free time over here?

A: Wandering around Brisbane with friends

Q: What do you gain from this exchange?

A: I learnt a lot about myself and how to be independent in this year. And also my ability to speak/read/write English has improved.

Find out whether could you apply to exchange or study part of your degree over here at QUT: 

Rezma Mirakle, International Masters Student

screen-shot-2016-09-19-at-12-37-30-pmHi, my name is Rezma.

Where are you from?

I am from India

How long have you been in Brisbane for?

I arrived into Brisbane two years ago (2014).

How did you find out about QUT?

My reason for being in Brisbane is QUT. My friend best studied at QUT, and he recommended me to this amazing university.

What course are you studying?

Today I am completing my Master’s degree and must admit I am overwhelmed as I walk around the campus.

Now that you are part of the QUT campus, what do you like most about the university?

I love the fact that the campus is right in the middle of the city so everything is nearby. And even better it is within the Botanical Garden. So a green space in the middle of high rise buildings is just beautiful.

What are your expectations once you graduate?

I am going to miss QUT – the campus, coffee, the garden, library and my friends ofcourse!

What do you like most in to do in Brisbane?

I love all the opportunities the city as to offers and all the diversity around regarding activities, food, entertainment, parks and so on.

So whats next? hmm I am a brand new person now, made in QUT. I am confident with real industry knowledge and ready to fight the world:) . Ahh I meant I am prepared to take a marketing position help the myself and my employer.

The Loneliness of the International.

As an international student, you have to be prepare to be away from your family, friends, home and so on! Everything that makes you won’t be here with you!


If you are planning to do your full degree, I won’t lie, it will be harder! You will meet people that study with you. You might get attached and when you do so they leave!!! It is difficult to mix up with the locals and international student are most of the time in exchange! It is hard but worst it, you are going to meet so many people from so many different backgrounds.

As a post graduate student, the load of work will get intense, especially if you are trying to build a strong resume as well. You will spend extended hours in front of screen while your friends are having a drink!


I thought I would share this feeling, as I experienced that loneliness feeling last week and then two others students came to me. They had this urge to converse with someone and expose to me this feeling they had: Loneliness.

Being aware that you are not the only one experiencing it did make me feel better; I realized that it was a normal reaction! Nothing to be worry about, it happens.

So I hope when you’ll experience it, you will remember this little article!

You are not the only one, it will all be good and soon it will all be over!!!!


Go global with QUT: Part B – Dragon 100 united in China

The time at Hong Kong went by very fast and the next and final stop of our Dragon 100 trip was China.

We visited two completely different cities in China: Qian hai and Xi’an. Qian hai is a very modern city close to Hong Kong and the main industry of this city is its harbour industry. On the other hand, Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China, has rich and cultrually significant history.


Terracotta Army inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, 3rd century BC

Terracotta Army inside the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, 3rd century BC

One of the world heritage








Along with the further progression of this program, I had more and more conversation with dragons from other countries. One of my favourite parts during our stay in China was the night of cultural performance. As you can pretty much tell from the name, cultural performance is all about different delegates from different countries presenting their culture to the rest of the delegates. Due to the fact that this year there were only three delegates from Australia, we formed a group altogether with UK, Canada and Netherland delegates. After some discussion, we decided to do a skit about Australians visiting UK and discovering culture differences. Besides the common difference like weather, we also presented to the audience some difference in slangs (e.g. mate, barbie, thongs, stubby, and etc.) and performed the classic ‘Hey Jude’ from Beatles. Though none of us had experience of performing, we were not nervous at all as it’s all about sharing instead of being professional.

What’s next?


After coming back from this trip, I started to think more about how similar all the dragons are even though we live in all over the world. Also I realised actually I don’t know a lot about Chinese culture even though I’m Chinese. Knowing the history of your motherland is not only an accumulation of knowledge but also a process of discovering your root!

I hope all the dragons, no matter where you are, have the best of both world!