Great Ocean Road Trip

Hi everyone! My name’s Caelan and I’m one of the new international student bloggers here at QUT. This is my first blog post and I’m super excited to share what I’ve been up to lately, apart from handing in my final assignments and studying for exams!

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Sunset Adventure to the Glass House Mountains

The semester break. Best time of the school year. Just kidding. Or not?

Most of my friends already made plans to travel or go back to their home countries while I still had no clue what to do in this two week break. Day four of staying home and doing nothing, I decided to gather some friends and go on a day hike to the Glass House Mountains, Mount Ngungun specifically, which I found after a short search on Google.

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The Fish Lane Festival

“HAVE YOU EVER HEARD ABOUT THE FISH LANE FESTIVAL HELD LAST SATURDAY?”

The Annual Fish Lane Festival was held for the 3rd time on Saturday 12 May 2018. The laneway had  plenty of entertainment, food, drinks, and local live music, plus, there were so many great photo opportunities.

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How to Live Alone: Tips on Cooking at Home

Xin Chào everyone! I’m Tram from Vietnam, currently studying a Diploma in Creative Industries at QUT International College. When I came to Australia, I was shocked to see how everything here was so expensive, even a cup of juice could be $7. Then I thought I would try cooking at home, since I rented a room in a shared house with a common kitchen, to save money and eat healthier. So today I want to share some useful tips with you from my six month experience of home cooking (and occasionally eating out)!

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Places to go in Sydney!

Before I started my first semester at QUT, I decided to spend my ‘last hurrah’ with a trip to Sydney which is located east of Australia. This is my second time in Sydney and all I can say it’s a blessing and at the same time a curse. Why? Because the list of things to do is endless!

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Home Away from Home: Student One

Student One Wharf Street: 5 Bedroom Apartment Views

Moving to Brisbane has been the best decision of my life, but also the toughest because moving to a new city, adjust to a new lifestyle isn’t always as fun as people think it is. I’ve been living in Brisbane for a year now and one thing that I’ve noticed that is common for international students is the feeling of homesickness. I personally believe that your surroundings can be a factor to this feeling – which is why choosing where you will be living is one of the most important decisions you have to decide early on (even before you move to Brisbane!).

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Newbie in Brisbane

Brisbane welcomed me with heavy rain in June 2017. Growing up in a hot and humid region, Brisbane winter season made me worried. I don’t know what other people’s experiences are, but when I first arrived at Brisbane airport, my lips cracked and bled because the weather was cold and the wind hit me with no mercy. Thanks to QUT airport pick-up service I arrived safely at Iglu Kelvin Grove – Student Accommodation. I chose Iglu as my first accommodation because it was on the QUT Home website.

Iglu Kelvin Grove – Brisbane Student Accommodation

I couldn’t bear the cold and at the same time being lonely, but I had no idea who I should ask for help. I was caught up in a mix feelings that lead me to a very bad mood, until I got a message from an acquaintance.

Portrait picture of my heroine (May)

May knew that I had arrived and she was sure that I would need some help due to her past experience when she first studied abroad. May and her boyfriend took me to Westfield Chermside to buy a heater and other necessities. Without that heater I think I couldn’t make it through the night because of the cold weather. Once again, thank you May for being my heroine.

I spent nearly an entire day in both QUT campuses to memorise the map (Haha, How nerdy am I?), so I would not be running around asking for directions on orientation day.

The Cube in P Block caught my attention.

Miranda – on the left. We did not know that we come from the same country until Iglu’s staff introduced us. Surprisingly, Miranda also took the same course with me in QUTIC

Miranda and I had a great afternoon at South Bank. We were watching the sunset while drinking milk tea. I’ve heard, some people think Brisbane is boring even before getting here. Some of my friends tried to convince me to study at other majors cities, but the beauty of Brisbane touched me. Indeed, Brisbane is not very big compared to other cities, however it has everything I need.

I did not know this building is a casino until one of my friends took me for dinner in the casino’s restaurant .

View from Victoria Bridge

On the next day, I got in contact with a friend. He is a friend from high school best friend’s friend in middle school (I know, the connection sounds so complicated) , and he has lived here for a very long time.

Lyo – on the right

First, Lyo introduced me the shuttle bus from Kelvin Grove Campus to Garden Point Campus. From there we walked along Brisbane River from the Goodwill Bridge to the Story Bridge. Brisbane’s scenery along the river was calm and peaceful. It made me feel very welcomed.

Kangaroo Point Cliffs Park

At the end of the day, I knew a lot more about Brisbane and I feel so blessed to receive all the help from May, Miranda, and Lyo.

Why I become a QUTIC mentor?

Signing up for a mentor recruitment program was the first step that led me to other interesting events during my studying period in QUTIC. A quick flashback to my O-week, I remember I was nervous and excited at the same time. Everything was unfamiliar to me, and it took me quite a long time adjusting to college. This is the reason I wanted to help other international students who might face similar challenges, and to enhance their acculturation process. Below is a quick snapshot of what we (mentors) went through.

How excited we were on the orientation day for TP3, 2017?

When I knew I was selected to be a part of the Mentor Group for TP3, 2017, I didn’t expect to gain anything from this program. However, the teachers and friends who I worked together with throughout the whole period have moved my heart.  Nonetheless, becoming a mentor is not the only way to make college more memorable, there are plenty of opportunities and activities that are run by QUTIC. I strongly encourage QUTIC students to become more actively involved in social activities because you will never know what you have missed out on until you try. Watch a sneak peek of my mentor training journey.

Mentors in the jungle – (at Binna Burra Lodge)

Before this training, all members from the crew were strangers to each others. There were no greetings or a hand-waving, although we sit next to each others in classes and I didn’t understand why. No one took the opportunity to change the awkward atmosphere in the rooms, outside the classes, in the hallway, and in the eating area, or maybe it was just only me who felt that way. QUTIC is not that big, so we can get to know everyone in the same course within 1-2 weeks, but most people kept to their own.

After my mentor training, my schedule got busy due to extra work from being a mentor, but this change was a good one. I cared more about friends around me, started more conversations with acquaintances, interacted more with teachers, and invited students to join QUTIC’s activities. Despite of tons of homework waiting for me at the end of the day, I became more confident and excited to get involved in class activities more often. Eventually, I took on more roles and participated in other events because I know no matter the results, I will always have my group to back me up.

We threw a surprised birthday parties for Tony after the training.

Tony and the Girls

Tony and the Boys.

I’m glad that I made it through the program with all the members taking part in this teaching period. Everyone has directly and indirectly taught me something. I would like to give a big shout-out to Mrs. Lauren Bulter and Mrs. Suzan Gredig for their hard work with the Mentor Program. Making friends is absolutely going to make your studying journey more exciting, and there is nothing to lose. Besides, it is all about experiences and memories, and every single member of this Mentor Group TP3, 2017 are part of making my studies at QUTIC more memorable.

My first trip with my QUTIC friends

For my first semester break in TP2, 2017 at QUTIC, my classmates and I went to Cleveland to do some sightseeing as our beloved teacher Mr. Tim recommended. Cleveland? Well the story began when Lynn and I were assigned to work together for a presentation as we had lots of consultation with Mr. Tim. Since we have no prior experience with Queensland’s train system, and Lynn had never traveled “very” far away from her place, Tim suggested that Cleveland was close for a day trip. I didn’t have any expectations but I’m glad that I had Lynn and Miranda as travel buddies.

Raby Bay

We arrived to Raby Bay quite early in morning. We wanted to walk to Old Cleveland Lighthouse since it looked quite close on the map but after 2 hours of walking in the sun we gave up.

Old Cleveland Lighthouse

We soon to get bored with Cleveland Point and decided to go somewhere nicer.

Stradbroke Ferries

We got a good price when buying a ticket to North Stradbroke Island using our QUT student ID card. ($14 for return)

Point Lookout at North Stradbroke Island

We had lunch at Point Lookout while enjoying this wonderful view.

It took quite a bit of time for us to find the way to the nearest beach.

Stairway to heaven

We nailed it!

Lynn – on the left

Before the trip, Lynn and I were not that close. We were actually tired of seeing each other in the group meetings. At first, we didn’t work well together because we had different ideas, our learning style wasn’t similar due to our previous educational background and living environment. However, we put up with each other, and received a high score for the presentation. This achievement would not have happened without great efforts from both of us and a positive attitude during presentation even though we felt quite uncomfortable.

Looking back, working with Lynn was a good experience. It makes me realise that studying at QUT International College is not the only way to learn about different perspectives from other cultures. It also requires you to think about your own values and other culture aspects. Meeting Lynn is my first new friendship in QUTIC.

Harold Walker Jetty at North Stradbroke Island

I never told Lynn how grateful I am to have her as my friend, but I am sure that we have mutual feelings. After all the up and down with Lynn, she is my study buddy because we are very familiar with each others’ style of learning.

Travelling to Melbourne

Last holiday, I traveled to Melbourne, the sixth city I’ve visited in Australia. First of all, I just want to say I LOVE BRISBANE after I finished the trip because the weather is much better than Melbourne’s! lol

My trip was in November, when Brisbane is warm and people are enjoying outdoor activities. However, at the same time in Melbourne, it was only 9°C, which made me feel like I was back in a country in the northern hemisphere.

Royal Exhibition Building

Although the weather wasn’t as good as  Brisbane’s, there are still many excellent tourist places that I would like to share with everyone.

1. Great Ocean Road

Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, where you can see the 12 Apostles, get up close to native wildlife, and take in iconic surf breaks, pristine rain forest and misty waterfalls. After visiting this place, I have to say it’s definitely a place you must visit!

2. Puffing Billy Railway

I still remembered when I chatted with my Airbnb house owner, a Melbourne local, about this tourist attraction. She told me she went there as a little girl and  it is a perfect place for family, kids, and tourists. Puffing Billy was built more than 100 years ago and the purpose was to enhance the economic development of the countryside. Now the railway have become Australia’s premier preserved steam railway still in use. Tourists can enjoy the amazing views and the history by taking the trainride.

 

3. Melbourne City

Some people say that Melbourne city is just like “a big fashion show stage”. There are many beautiful corners, buildings, churches, parks, or markets in this city. For example, Queen Victoria Market, Royal Exhibition Building, Federation Square are all the attractions where tourist can go. Just walking around the city and you will definitely find some places you like!

Queen Victoria Market

The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Have you ever been to Melbourne? Do you like it? Feel free to share your experience below and don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog! 🙂