The 8th CISA National Conference 2018 was held in Cairns from 25th to 28th June 2018. The National Conference is the biggest conference of international students in Australia. In essence, there were over 250 international student delegates and industry professionals, making it the biggest international student conference Australia wide. This year’s CISA National Conference was themed as ‘Overcoming Barriers’ to acknowledge the issues faced by international students in Australia. International student leaders, as well as various industry leaders, were collaborating in Cairns to find solutions to these problems and concerns together.
With the rapid growth and development of the technology, human civilization is indeed of innovation and invention. Thus, the concept of entrepreneurship was born with the revolution of the industry. Entrepreneurs design launch and run a new business, often initiated as a start-up. They create something new, something different which outstands the other products in the market.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We soon to get bored with Cleveland Point and decided to go somewhere nicer.
We got a good price when buying a ticket to North Stradbroke Island using our QUT student ID card. ($14 for return)
We had lunch at Point Lookout while enjoying this wonderful view.
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.
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.
Perth is the capital of Western Australia, situated where the Swan River meets the southwest coast. I went to Perth for a short trip to explore a bit around the city region and nearby suburbs. The flight from Brisbane to Perth took me around 5.5 hours and another interesting fact is that Brisbane is 2 hours ahead of Perth even though both cities are in the same country.
From my impression, Perth has a similar urban design as Brisbane so it gave me a familiar feeling. I feel Perth is more spacious compared to Brisbane as I had to walk quite to get from one place to the other.
Kings Park is a big park located at the western edge of Perth CBD. The park is renowned for its spectacular views due to its prime location on Mt Eliza overlooking Perth City and the Swan River.
There are quite a few historic buildings turned into shopping areas in Perth CBD, so people can do their shopping under the historic ambience.
Fremantle is the place that I would strongly recommend you to pay a visit whilst visiting Perth. I really enjoyed spending my afternoon there and I believe you would love the ambience too! Fremantle is part of the Perth metropolitan area and it is a port city.
Western Australia is well known for its beautiful beaches so I didn’t want to miss the chance to have a coastal walk!
I enjoyed exploring Perth. I believe you will enjoy exploring the beautiful city too! 🙂
Now it’s finally time for my master graduation ceremony. Can’t believe time goes so quickly, my study journey in Brisbane has almost come to an end.
Coming to Australia to study was a big decision. After planning my study journey for a long period of time, taking all the factors into consideration e.g. tuition fee, living expenses, independent life etc into account, I eliminated the hurdles and eventually boarded the flight to Brisbane three years ago. I was working for a while before going abroad to save up some money for my education and also to gain some life experience.
Initially I thought I am pretty brave to leave home and go overseas alone, but there are actually many people that are doing the same travelling from all over the world. Attending the QUT orientation program is definitely a good way to get to know people from all around the world who will be studying at QUT. I got to know friends from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and many other countries. I met up with my Japanese friends in Tokyo when I went for a graduation trip to Japan recently. I feel happy that the friendship we developed QUT could continued even though we don’t see each other regularly. Don’t miss the opportunity to make friends with the locals, they are all nice and friendly!
The adaptation period could be the hard time to go through. Most of the shops close at 5pm and the streets become quiet. No mummy’s dinner is ready for me while I go back home from university. Dining out could be a burden in living expenses, so I still have to prepare my own lunch for university to save money. I didn’t know cooking at all previously but now I think I would be able to cook a few dishes for the families.
Studying in an all English environment has been a challenge for me. My native language is Mandarin and I grew up in a mixed language living environment. At the beginning, most of the time I felt lost during the lectures, discussion and conversation with course mates. As the time progressed, I think I was getting better in communicating in English even though there is still room for improvement. Living in an Australia is definitely a good way to improve your English skills.
All the written exams, assignments, practical tests and oral tests have never been easy to pass through. You really have to study hard to pass the different tests. I am glad that it’s over now!
I’m so lucky to have got a job offer before graduation. I’m going to leave Brisbane soon after my graduation ceremony and heading to Perth to work as an optometrist. Thanks to the support of my family that helped make my dreams come true. Not sure how the future is going to be but I believe ‘If you can dream it, you can do it’. Lastly, I wish all the graduating students all the best with your future endeavors.
Bye Brisbane! Till next time 🙂
p.s: Hopefully my sixty posts make you understand more about the international students’ life at QUT. I wish you enjoy your QUT life to the fullest!
One of the greatest memories from my student life at QUT will definitely be the road trips I have done with my friends.
Me and my friends planned to go on a road trip to experience the beautiful countryside. My friends have driving licenses and cars so we just had to decide on the destination. However if you or your friends do not have a car, rental car services are very common in Australia. Pay attention to the driver requirements from rental car companies especially if you are holding a international driving licence. Do some research on the computer and you will find plenty of information.
IWe were a large group of people going on the road trip and even if it was a while ago, I still remember the beautiful day and all the laughters.
Our first stop was Kooroomba Vineyard and Lavender Farm which took us around 1.5 hours from Brisbane CBD.
The next stop was Queen Mary Falls, which is located at the Main Range. The view was magnificient!
If you have an opportunity to go for a roadtrip with your friends whilst studying in Brisbane, definitely do it. It will be a wonderful memory of your uni life.
Exploring the city of Melbourne is one of the main things to include in your Victoria travel itinerary. You should also plan some time to see the wonderful nature and scenery of the beautiful state Victoria.
Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives which spans 243km along the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. There is a diverse array of things to do and see all across the region for examples the famous 12 Apostles, surfing and mountain biking expeditions, get up close to native wildlife and many more. The best and most fun is to rent a car and go for a roadtrip with your close friends. Otherwise, you can easily book a trip to Victoria through any travel agency.
Phillip Island is one of most popular attractions in Australia. You will be amazed by seeing the little small penguins returning to shore at sunset after a day’s fishing.
Before heading to Philip Island, we went to The Nobbies to walk along the coast and spent some time at the lookout enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
Puffing Billy is Australia’s premier preserved steam railway. The journey onboard Puffing Billy takes you through the magnificient Dandenong ranges which is located only one hour east of Melbourne. I like the experience while on the ride of Puffing Billy so I would recommend a trip here.
Domaine Chandon is a winery located around 100 minutes drive from Melbourne CBD. There are a wide range of other wineries with beautiful surroundings in this area. You should try some of the lovely wines!
Cape Schankck Lighthouse is the second coastal lighthouse built in Victoria. It is located at Mornington which is 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne.
Brighton Beach is the iconic beach which is well known for its colourful bath houses. Brighton Beach is located close to the CBD and easily accessible by a 30min train ride.
Melbourne is definitely a beautiful place to travel around with friends. Start to plan your trip and explore during your semester break! 🙂