Throwback to my New Zealand Adventures

As an exchange student, January and February were the perfect opportunity for me to explore the great country that is New Zealand. Since it is approximately 14 400 km away from my hometown (Montreal, Canada), I decided I had to see EVERYTHING, from Auckland to deep down the South Island. Even after 18 stops and a lot of time spent on the bus admiring the scenic roads, I still can’t say I am a New Zealand expert, as there are way too many gorgeous places to see over there. However, I still managed to see quite a lot, and I can definitely say that I am now in love with the country.

So, for those of you who might want to head to New Zealand during semester break or even this Winter, here are the places I think you will not want to miss:

  1. Queenstown

The adventure capital of the world! If you ever have the chance to visit New Zealand, DO NOT miss Queenstown! In only 4 days, I skydived, went on a luge ride, hiked the Ben Lomond mountain, went on a cruise through Milford Sound and of course, ate a lot of Fergburgers (some of the best burgers in the world). Other activities include bungee jumping, canyon swinging, jetboating, mountain biking and a lot more! Even if you are not a thrill seeker, Queenstown is still very enjoyable. The town is surrounded by mountains and has a very chilled-out vibe, so it is really for everyone, whatever your age or interests.

  1. Taupo

The town might be quite small, but the lake next to it definitely is not! Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand and the second largest in Oceania with a surface of 616 square km. The lakeside town is lovely, but most travelers head over there for the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, the best day hike in New Zealand. It is basically a 7h loop hike that will take you around heaps of different landscapes, from mountains and volcanoes to lush forests. If you are not that much of a hiker, the Tongariro National Park has so much to offer, and a lot of very easy walks can take you around to see its gorgeous surroundings.

  1. The Coromandel Peninsula

I don’t think there is any beach quite like the ones I saw in that region. Unfortunately, I only stayed one day over there, but it was still absolutely worth it. My hostel was only a short walk from the very famous Hot Water Beach, where you can dig your own spa pool on the beach. The water gets VERY hot during low tide due to the geothermal activity close by. If you dig in the wrong spots, you might even (slightly) burn yourself! But if you do it right, it is an absolutely unique and amazing experience.

  1. Wanaka

Some people say that Wanaka is just a smaller Queenstown, but these people are wrong. Wanaka is a unique place for sure. Surrounded by lakes and mountains, the hiking possibilities over there are endless. Roy’s Peak is definitely the most popular and rewarding hike in my opinion, but there are heaps of less demanding and still worthwhile walks in the area. If you are a nature lover, you will fall in love with Wanaka in moments.

  1. Lake Tekapo

I am still not sure if this place was even real. The turquoise water of the lake and the mountains in the background might even make you weep a little. At night, most people head to the lovely Church of Good Sheperd where you can actually see the Milky Way in the night sky. I was fortunate enough to be there in the right time of the year for that (late summer), but even if you go in the Winter, you will see more stars then you’ve ever seen at once for sure.

So there you have it folks! Hopefully I’ve convinced you to put New Zealand on your bucket list. Just know that wherever you go in this country, whether it’s somewhere on that list or not, you will leave knowing that you have to come back again.

Brisbane – An active city

It doesn’t take long after arriving in Brisbane to realise what an active city it is. No matter the time of day, runners, bikers, and walkers can be found. What a beautiful city to do it in too! There are many marked paths for pedestrians and bikers throughout Brisbane, which make it safe to do whatever activity you like best. Not only is it safe, but the view is wonderful as well. All along the Brisbane River paths can be found and being along the river gives a nice cool breeze, which is especially nice when the Brisbane sun decides to create ridiculously warm temps.

If it’s a challenge to motivate yourself and get out the door, Brisbane also has many fun runs and other road races to sign up for. The perfect way to get active and feel good. Invite your friends and make it fun! Brisbane is the perfect place to be outside and moving about.

Orientation Lunch

Monday, 20 February 2017 marked the commencement of O-Week at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) for academic calendar 2017. There was a lot of interesting events during the O-Week. One of the interesting events that caught my eyes was the $2 lunches. It was simply because you cannot get $2 worth of lunches anywhere near QUT. Because of that, this event was included in my must-attend events during the O-Week and in which I always had my lunch during the O-Week (of course because of the price). Read more

Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival in Brisbane

The Golden Koala Chinese Film Festival is organised by a non-for-profit organisation aiming at promoting Chinese films and boosting cultural exchange. It is held annually in major Australian cities during the Chinese Spring Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year in Brisbane, Australian Chinese Youth Association hosted this event and there were 6 films open to public in Griffith Film School. I was very excited to hear about this event and went to see the movies 2 days in a row.

 

 

 

 

 

One the first day of the film festival, The Song of Cotton team came to meet and greet the audience. Before the screening of the movie, the director also held a workshop on film-making for all the film lovers.

The films showed during the festival covered a range of genres and explores different social problems. The Song of Cottons talks about the ageing of Mr. Sheng, the story between him and his young nanny. The Summer Is Gone shows the audience the struggle a family faced when China ended its state-owned company period and lots of companies became private owned and stable jobs no longer existed.

Film The Summer Is Gone

Black and White Film

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those Chinese Film fans, don’t miss out this event next year!

Getting yourself organized at uni

I somehow miraculously managed to pull through my entire first year by solely keeping events of the day and week in my head, and setting the occasional reminder or alarm.

Now that I’ve started my second year, it would be joking if I told you I could survive using the same tactic.

Enter the ultimate tool *drumroll*: Google Calendar. Seriously, this is a gem of an app. Don’t wait until your second year to use this – star using it as early as you can to get yourself organised smoothly.

Basically, Google Calendars is a daily/weekly/monthly planner. All you need is a google account and a smartphone. You can set up events and reminders for your entire year as you please. Seeing it on an interactive interface will easily let you know when you’re free and will prevent you from being double-booked.

The best part is you can export your class timetable to Google Calendars, and BAM! You have your whole day on your phone, literally. It will show you your class name, time and location from the information on your QUT virtual Calendar. How awesome is that?!

You can export your class schedule as an iCal file and import it online (on a laptop or desktop, not a mobile phone) and then you’re all set to go. It will alert you on your mobile app before you’re due at an event.

You can think of it as a central scheduler for your day – your work shifts, meetings, classes and other commitments all in one spot that you can see on the go. You can set up customised alerts to remind you of your events.

This is handy tip which I would have benefitted from knowing sooner. So there you go!

Uni 101

Hey! How has Week 1 been for you?

I get it, there’s so much to consider when transitioning from high school to university and the internet is stacked with various survival tips. Since you are here, I will try not to reiterate all the common advice but hopefully give you readers a more relatable and honest truth. No doubt it is an exciting time of self- development and acquisition of skills as well as knowledge. I’ll start off by saying that university life is more than just academic achievement, rather it is about the journey of a whole person.

Be organised

Don’t panic if you are not the most organised person in the world, neither am I, but I would recommend to have at least a copy of the Academic Calendar and a personal planner. Look through each subject and note down the assessment dates. The best thing to do is to combine all those dates into one place. By doing this you will know when your busiest week will be and when you can have more of a chill out period. It is true what they say, do not leave assessments to the last minute! This is the minimum that you can do to make sure you meet deadlines. Previously, I wrote an article about how I use my planner and to-do list which you can read here to give you some ideas and prompt you to find your style. Take my advice with a grain of salt and you don’t have to follow everything I do as well. Find what works for you and stick to it!

Endurance

So like every other student, I love to Youtube and Google time management skills or buy a fancy planner thinking that would motivate me to be a better human being somehow. The truth is, it is not hard to slot in studying sessions, breaks, more studying sessions and even more break times. EVERYONE can do that! I found that the real skill to develop is willpower to stay on tasks. Don’t sigh before you have not tried. I was horrible with time management but I am so much better now in concentrating and maintaining productivity. My point is, instead of focusing on how to manage your time per se, I think it is more worthwhile to train yourself to deal with the root of the problem first which is – a matter of endurance.

Tutorials

The best scenario is to attend every class but that is not always the case. From my experience, lectures are awesome because you get to be with your cohort and of course you will learn new materials. Tutorials are more intimate and deeper discussions can take place. Additionally, some information may not be available online or in the recordings. Hence, I recommend going to tutorials. Everyone has their own studying styles but if you are planning to skip a class, I have to stress that it is important to check if your classes are compulsory because your attendance may contribute to your final grades. Also, if you know that you are the type of person that has a tendency to be distracted then going to tutorials and lectures will keep you on track.

Be Involved!

If I could turned back time I would definitely be more involved in clubs and societies and give more time to volunteering. Let’s not forsake our academic goal but let’s not abandon the benefits of extracurricular activities. Nowadays, employers don’t look at only qualifications but the personhood as well. The chances of being employed are higher when you have qualities such as people and communication skills. Grades only show that you can hold information in your head but it doesn’t say anything about your work ethic or assertiveness which are attractive characteristics to employers. The best place to learn who you want to be and who you do not want to turn into is when you interact and work with other people.

Humbleness and Confidence

I saved this for last because I want it to be memorable. If nothing else on this post seems helpful to you I hope this one will. Doubt and fear is the #1 killer to all potential and talent. Being humble is not placing yourself below anyone and thinking that you are replaceable, worthless or not good enough. Neither is being confident about placing yourself above everyone and blowing your own trumpet about your success. Rather, humbleness is about knowing that you have potential to advance your skills, therefore, you are ready to learn and ask for guidance. Confidence is knowing that you are unique in your own beautiful way and you can overcome whatever is in front of you. This will not only help you be a better team player or workmate but also a quality that would bring you far into every aspect of your life.

Good luck for Semester 1!

The RoundUp

Brazilian student publishes his first book!

Brazilian student Pedro Franklin recently published his first book on travel and entrepreneurship, stating the feat was only possible through studying language skills at QUT.

Read more…

Tips for meeting new people

Our friends at Insider Guides share some great advice about making friends in a new country.

Read more…

Brisbane Comedy Festival

From late February to late March each year, the Powerhouse in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm will be your go-to venue for a dose of comedy!

Read more…

Get support from the QUT Student Guild

Whether it’s support with deferring an exam, getting a grade reviewed or any other academic relates issue

Read more…

Drawing for Contemporary Fashion Design

Experience fashion drawing in QUT’s Creative Precinct with an LA-based fashion illustrator and founder of the Fashion Finishing School in Los Angeles.

Read more...

QUT International College videos

Hear from students’ in their own language about why they chose to study at QUT’s International College and their experiences in Brisbane!

Read more…

Budget tips as a university student

We understand there are a lot of expenses involved in moving to a new country, finding a place to live, as well as other study costs. QUT is here to help you though!

Read more…

Become a QUT Digital Leader!

Our friend Aubrey Zhou is also a QUT Digital Leader which means she can share her experiences with the QUT online community. Find out more about this great opportunity for when you start at QUT!

Read more…

Have a great weekend!

The QUT Team

Check out these stories from QUT

My trip to Gold Coast

After a year of hearing about the infamous Gold Coast and its beaches and absolutely dying to go there, I finally made it!

What nobody told me about Gold Coast was that, in fact, it is not one long stretch of … a coast. TheGC has many beaches and you have to choose which beach you want to visit. So yeah… there’s a little fun fact for you – that Gold Coast is not in fact one long beach.

By far, the most famous of GC’s beaches would be Surfer’s Paradise. So I went there first.

Undoubtedly, it was rather crowded on a Sunday. So I hopped on the G Link tram service and moved South to Broadbeach. It was only slightly less crowded than Surfer’s paradise but there was more shade to camp under, so I decided to stay there.

Broadbeach is lined with a market on Sunday afternoon so you easily get cheap food, fresh juice and little trinkets there.

Getting to GC via train and bus took me a total of just over $10 only for a round trip, which is really cheap. Alternatively, if you’re not comfortable going there via public transport yet, there are guided tours hosted by QUT ISS (International Student Services) for around $50 for a round trip. It’s a really good place to start looking if you want to start seeing more of Queensland’s beaches and wildlife spots. ISS will give you a detailed itinerary of your trip so you’ll be able to judge if the price you pay is worth it. A definite plus side is you won’t have to go alone as it will be a big group.

My advice is you pack and bring your own food and drinks if you’re short on money, rather than rely on the shops around the beach and they can get quite pricey.

Don’t forget to take a towel, sunglasses, your bathing suit, a large beach mat or blanket to spread and sit on, and HEAPS OF SUNSCREEN. I applied sunscreen religiously and yet suffered from a vicious sunburn. Use SPF 50+ always and stay hydrated. If your phone drains battery make sure you bring along a portable charger. Bring a nice book to read on the beach as you chill with your coke and chips.

 

 

Family trip in Brisbane and Gold Coast!

Brisbane and Gold Coast are two famous cities for tourists from all around the world to travel. These two cities are also the ideal traveling destinations for my family. Because I had a summer vacation and they also had holiday during lunar new year period which is the biggest festival for Taiwanese, they decided to come to Australia and travel with me. Moreover, I actually haven’t been back to Taiwan for more than one year, so it’s also the special reunion for us.

Today, I would like to share you some most-visited destinations in Gold Coast and Brisbane by a special way. I edited two vlogs about our traveling and share many important or useful information for travellers. If you are going to study at QUT or studying at QUT, it may be your travel guide for exploring these two cites when you are enjoying your holidays.

The main language of the videos is Mandarin, but I have already added English subtitles on them. No matter where are you from, hope you enjoy the vlogs!



Gold Coast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnDBlcEAs2M



Brisbane

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkYGbM7ijQc

 

If you have any interesting experience or travel tips about these two cities, please feel free to leave your comments below for assisting more students to deeply understand these amazing cities. Also, don’t forget to keep following this QUT blog and hope everyone has a great semester! 🙂

Streets Beach – South Brisbane

Just a ten minute walk from QUT’s Garden Point campus, Streets Beach is a man made beach where people go to lay out and swim around. Right alongside the Brisbane River, it consists of a main beach and two side pools. A very popular place for families and groups of friends, but also a great place to have some alone time at.

There are plenty of restaurants around for when you need a little break from the sun. On the weekends there is a market with a lot of little shops to browse around. Down the way, you can visit the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and the Wheel of Brisbane, a ferris wheel that gives a great view of the city.

Streets Beach is very easily accessible by ferry and bus and overall a great place to be on a beautiful, sunny day in Brisbane.