Student Voice

At QUTIC, my voice is being heard and my opinions are being used for the better of the group, which I have witnessed and experienced at several occasions described below.

In my last semester at QUTIC, I had the opportunity to be the student representative for the Diploma of Business students. We had three meetings and my role was to receive feedback, concerns, and ideas from my fellow classmates then discussed those matters in the meetings with QUTIC staff. Our monthly meetings mainly focused on ways for QUTIC staff to understand students’ feedback, hence how they could improve the student experience at QUTIC. Students’ feedback can sometimes be straightforward and hurtful, however, I observed that the staff responded positively when dealing with these difficult circumstances.

Student Representative Committee Meeting

There was one time when my study group came together to ask for our assignment  to be remarked because we weren’t satisfied with our result since we put lots of effort into our it. After having a consultation with the tutor and a re-evaluation with the Unit Coordinator, we successfully made some changes by showing our reasons why we deserved a better mark. Everything was settled nicely and we were glad that we had a chance to present our case and have our say.

Another experience is with my friend, Immanuel Ishimwe. We were both invited by Mr. Kenneth Beutel (Director of QUTIC) to participate in the International College Academic Board (ICAB) meetings. This was a rewarding opportunity for both of us to represent as part of the Student Voice at the table where strategies and changes are discussed. The ICAB is designed to enhance decision-making related to learning and teaching, academic standards, quality, and risk at QUTIC. Immanuel and I are doing our best to contribute and make a big impact to improve the experience of future students.

ICAB Meeting
From left to right: Mrs. Annetta Spathis, me, Immanuel, Mr. Ken Beutel.

Finally, at the Student Voice Session at the QUTIC Professional Development Day, together with other fellows, I got a chance to help teachers to understand and know more about international students’ perspective when adjusting to Australian learning environment. The student panel was divided into small groups with teachers to discuss the student studying experience at QUTIC under three topics, which were technology, assessment, and culture. By doing this staff and teachers’ can find an effective way to assist the student in their learning and make changes to improve student life at QUTIC.

QUTIC PD Day. From left to right: Zairo, Kim, Lesley, me, Mimi Smith, Mary, Nicole, Sam.

To make these events possible, I had to seize the opportunities by taking on roles, be open-minded and listen to other people’s concerns and be responsible.  Indeed, I got to know more students and teachers and I learnt lots from attending these sessions. I appreciated that QUTIC gave me these opportunities to be actively involved and make my own studying journey more efficient and memorable.

Most important of all, QUTIC takes students’ feedback into account and strive to enhance the learning environment better every day. I remember one staff member told me that “everything we got from today is built on students’ feedback”. So do not hesitate to give QUTIC your feedback, and make a difference while you are on your path to success.

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.

Unveil the Mysterious QUT Confucius Institute

The Confucius Institute is a non-for-profit organisation which aims to promote Chinese language and culture. QUT Confucius Institute was established in 2008, the first in Queensland. It has worked with both QUT and local schools to deliver educational workshops and Chinese language classes.

 

While studying in China, I had heard about the Confucius Institute program where you can go overseas to teach Chinese. I was very interested in this opportunity, however, you need a teaching degree to be able to apply, so I wasn’t eligible.

After studying in Australia, I realised QUT has a Confucius Institute and I emailed them to show my interest in volunteering because I’m still very keen to teach Chinese even though I’m studying business. ( If you are also interested in volunteering, you can just email confucius.institute@qut.edu.au. )

One event that I participated in this year is Queensland Chinese Speech competition where both primary, middle and high school students from various parts of Queensland attended. They were grouped by age and background (being Chinese-speaking and non-Chinese speaking). I was very surprised to see the big turnout of both students and parents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While volunteering as a floater in the competition room, I also got the chance to sit and listen to students’ speech. Some students stumble, others very fluent. Regardless of it, I can see how much effort they put in learning another language and how much support the peers show to each other.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, QUT Confucius Institute hosted a thank-you event to thank the efforts all the volunteers put in during this year. Some previous volunteers also showed up and they now teach Chinese in local schools. So if you are a teaching/education student and are interested in gaining some experience, start with being a volunteer at Confucius Institute because they have a lot of teaching opportunities and collaboration with Queensland schools.

All the lovely volunteers and teaching staffs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

P.S. If you are interested in learning Chinese, QUT Confucius Institute run basic Chinese classes every week. 🙂

Solo Trip to Thailand

Holiday is coming soon! I’m sure some of my dear readers have getaway trips planned already.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While studying in Australia, it is very popular to travel to South-east Asia during the holiday period. Some of the budget airlines like Air Asia and Jetstar always have deals to popular travel destinations such as Thailand, Bali and Malaysia.

I know it sounds like cliché but travelling does bring invaluable experience and make you more organised, independent and confident.

QUT offers students a one-week mid-semester break each semester. Earlier this year, I decided to take this opportunity and travel to Thailand for 9 days.

Bangkok left me with an impression of being busy, hot and crowded. I had a pretty funny bus experience: As you may or may not know, the traffic in Bangkok is pretty bad especially during the rush hour. Both the driver and ticket officer of the bus I was on had a newspaper with them. When the bus was stuck in the traffic, the driver started reading newspaper and seemed pretty chilled in the middle of all the cars just like reading in his backyard. Although many tourists choose to take cabs or metros while traveling, getting on a bus really gave you a sense of how local people live. So highly recommended!

 

 

One thing I enjoyed most while touring around Bangkok was taking the ferry along Chao Phraya River. Chao Phraya is the major river in Thailand which flows though Bangkok and then into the Gulf of Thailand.

 

 

The price varies a lot between taking a river cruise and taking a normal ferry. The river cruise is much more expensive with a tour guide while the normal ferry is cheaper with lots of locals on it.

Along the river, you will get the chance to see many famous tourist destinations like The Temple of Dawn and Wat Pho. For me, I enjoy observing the local people more than checking out the Buddha statues. There are usually three people working on the ferry: driver, ticket officer and boat guy.

 

 

Every time when the ferry is about to stop at a station, the boat guy would jump off the ferry and pull the rope of the ferry to get the boat close to the pier so people would get on. I was so amazed by the efficient speed of him and how hard-working he was.  You need to be quick, have strength and endure the heat of the sun. Especially when I think the boat guy is much younger than me, I feel so lucky that I could get the chance to study overseas and hope he could or would get a chance of higher education too.

Another amazing part of the trip was that during the trip I made friends with people from all over the world. There were a lot of other backpackers and solo travelers, so making friends was very easy. However, you do need to be careful and make good judgement while travelling by yourself.

 

 

In my next blog, I will talk about some tips on solo travelling. I hope you can all nail the final assessment and enjoy the upcoming holiday. Until next time!

3 best things I have gained at QUT

After having studied at QUT for two years, finally I will be graduating this month. This is the best moment, and to look back at my university life and sharing some experiences with  students.

I am going to describe three main positive acquisitions that I have gained during my studies, including time management skills, networking, professional and practical learning.

1. Time management skills

As an international student, there are so many things I have to do on my own and probably have never done before in my home country. For example, having a part-time job, studying, volunteering, doing an internship, attending workshops and events, doing housework and so on. The most important thing is to finish what you have to do first and then prioritise tasks as well as balance them with your limited time. This is a really useful skill that is also discussed in several workshops or orientation events. It’s not an easily seen skill, but I am sure this skill will significantly influence my future life. After these two years, I understand how and what I should do to multitask that will help improve my future job efficiency as well.

2. Social network

During these two years, I’ve met and made numerous friends from all around the world.  There are always some great people who I can learn from for example what they think and do, but also their friendship and support will be there for our future career.

3. Professional and practical learning

QUT is definitely a university for the real world. Although it also means the learning could be stressful for many students. I rhave learnt a lot in classes, assignments, and also working on practical projects for Australian companies. These experiences have given me the ability to deal with problems and finding the solutions.

To sum up, studying in Australia has been a great process for me to understand what my passion or interest exactly is and build enough confidence and learn relevant skills to achieve these goals. Luckily, I have already got a full time job offer before graduating and it is strongly related to my profession and interests. I really appreciate everything and everyone that I have met at QUT and in Australia.

If you are new to Australia, I can give you some advice even though I will graduate soon. You are welcome to contact me via my Instagram and Linkedin.

Finally, please feel free to leave your comment below and don’t forget to enjoy your study and keep following this QUT blog!

Officially Graduating!

When I first arrived Australia in July 2015, I literally had no idea what to expect. Studying in Australia was a prompt decision but my impression of Australia back then was limited to kangaroos, koalas and surfing.

The first day in Australia have left me with a vivid memory. I was new to this country and couldn’t even communicate properly in English while trying to open a new account at a local Commonwealth bank.

Things started to get better after joining student clubs, volunteering as a student mentor and talking to people in the class. Now looking back at the past 2.5 years at QUT, I don’t think I have any regrets! I made good use of all the resources at QUT and met incredibly nice people that I look up to.

I went on 3 short-term exchanges, attended 1 conference as a QUT delegate and went for 2 international travels just by myself.

Exchange to Japan @ Sonoda Women’s University

The beautiful winter spent @ Fulda, Germany

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the beginning of this month, the grades of the final two subjects was released and that’s when I finally felt graduation is so real and so soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Although there aren’t always happiness and success while studying overseas, especially when you have no family here, the 2-year study life in Australia definitely made me feel more confident and mature as a person. I feel that I’m more comfortable to work with people from different countries and have a genuine interest in the world.

However, due to internship commitment, I won’t be able to attend my graduation ceremony. In spite of that, I don’t feel so bad because I enjoyed every second whilst living in Australia. The process itself means celebration for me!

“Graduation is a time of completion, of finishing, of an ending, however, it is also a time of celebration of achievement and a beginning for the new graduate.” 

                                                                   Catherine Pulsifer 

All the best to my fellow students who are also graduating this semester! I wish you a bright future ahead!

Checking out GOMA’s latest exhibition

 

 “I’m just another dot in the world”

— Yayoi Kusama

 

 

From now until 11 February 2018, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) showcase the artwork of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Among them, the mirror room and the obliteration room are two of her most famous masterpieces.

Yayoi was born in Japan into an affluent family and she developed an interest for art at a young age. However, she didn’t get along well with her parents and refused for her life goal to be marrying a rich man. Being diagnosed as mentally unstable, her doctor suggested her to go to New York where she worked long hours and made her name well-known in the art world. Due to illness, she eventually returned Tokyo, Japan and chose to live in a mental institution and kept working in a studio nearby until this day.

It wasn’t until I got home from seeing the exhibition with friends that I started doing a little bit research about this artist. Before then, I only knew that Yayoi was a contemporary artist incorporating polka dots into her work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Mirror Room

If you ask me to use one word to summarize my experience with the mirror room, I would say “infinity”. While polka dots were an important element in most of her artwork, she took it to the next level in the mirror room where you were immersed into darkness and infinite life and feel a sense of happiness as well as smallness in the endless space.

Walked into the mirror room and feel myself a part of it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following is another mirror room where you see it as an observer through a hole. The lights change and all you see is infinity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Obliteration Room

This is an interactive project of Yayoi where the whole room was completely white at the beginning. Visitors were handed a sheet of stickers and they can go in and put it anywhere they want.

‘Yayoi Kusama: Look Now, See Forever’ Picture from the Internet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By the time I visited the exhibition, the room has already transformed from the minimalist style into an explosion of color, with thousands of stickers over pretty much every available surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The process is fun for me as a participant who has little art background. But now looking back, I can related to what Yayoi said:”I’m just another dot”. The stickers that I put on might eventually be covered by others. I’m colorful yet so small in this big world.

 

Even though I’m not a huge art fan, learning Yayoi’s story of how her conquered mental illness, made a mark in a foreign country by hard work and stayed creative at an old age made me feel really touched.

Not only did I see a sense of struggle, explosion and perseverance, I also admire Yayoi as a person who never give up and is brave enough to pursue her own dreams in spite of all the  hardship!

Plan after Graduation: Return Home Country or Stay in Australia?

Today I handed in my last assignment which gave me a bittersweet feeling — only one exam left until I graduate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the graduation season is approaching, I got asked quite a few times from family and friends what my plan is after finishing study. To be honest, I’m still not too sure.

I remember before I left China, I was super excited and decided that I would stay in Australia and find a job there because of the good weather, great beaches and higher paying jobs than my home country. Now two years have passed and I start feeling unsure what I’m going to do or where I’m going to go.

I haven’t worked in China, but got told how fast it is developing and how many opportunities there are. I remember last time when I was doing training for the dragon boat race, a friend of mine who just went on a business trip to Shanghai said: “OMG, so many big deals are happening right now in China!”. It made me really tempted to go back and be part of this rapid change. The thought of joining the booming market made me feel excited.

However, I also have concerns about going back. First of all, there are so many Chinese students returning home every year. Some of them graduated from top universities from all over the world. Therefore, if I go back, I have to compete with all those top talents to get a good job which make me feel very pressured. Secondly, regardless of the chance of getting a good job, I’m not too sure whether I will like the fast pace and busy lifestyle in the finance industry back home.

On the other hand, working in Australia sounds both exciting and full of uncertainty. Will Iget a job? What I should do? Will I stay here forever? I heard from my friends who have already graduate that getting a job, a good one, here in Australia is very hard. As an international student, you sometimes might feel left out among your colleagues because of different lifestyle and communication barriers. However, the work life balance is definitely better compared with China.

Even though I had two years to think about my future plan and career path while studying overseas, I’m still not too sure where I should go. I think time will tell what choice I should make, but for now, I will follow my heart!

Working Overseas ?

When you think about working overseas, does the idea excite you or terrify you? 

For me, working overseas has always been on my to-do list since I finished high school. Growing up in a small town in rural Shanghai, I wanted to go outside my hometown and see what opportunities are out there. When I was 19, I went abroad for the first time to the United States where I got the chance to see another side of the world. This really intrigued me to think: what do people do in another country and how culture can shape the personality of a person?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure most of you really want to step out of your comfort zone and experience something different from your current environment. But some of you might think: “Oh I don’t have the money to go overseas.””I really want to go but no one is going with me.” or “How can I work overseas while I can’t get a working visa?”.

Well, I’ve seen many people overcame all the obstacles and supported themselves financially while working overseas. How? I’ll share with you some of the ways I tried or am planning to try out in order to work in another country.

As an organisation dedicated to provide students with internship and volunteering opportunities with overseas partners, AIESEC helps students seek overseas employment. While some of the jobs are volunteering based, there are paid roles as well. Most universities in Australia have an AIESEC branch or student club on campus, make sure to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Teach English

If you speak English as your mother tongue or are confident about your English skills, there are whole tons of opportunities to go overseas and teach English, whether be in China, Thailand or Spain.

At first I had this impression that you have to speak English as your first language to be eligible to apply. However, I later found out that this is not necessary. Some of the organisations are open to candidates who don’t speak English as their native language. In addition, there are pros if English is not your first language because you went through the process of learning English and know well what teaching approach is more effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just did a key word search on QUT Career Hub and a lot of teaching positions pop up!

  • Working Holiday

This is probably one of the most common ways people choose to work overseas. While studying and travelling in Australia, I met so many people coming to Australia to work as well as having a holiday. The only downside about this that I can think of is that most jobs offered to working holiday visa holders are in the field of hospitality. If you are looking for professional jobs, it might be hard to get one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Apply for an internship

For some multinational companies that have offices across the world, they are more open to candidates from overseas. In the area of accounting which is my major, some of the accounting firms like Ernest & Young welcome interns from overseas universities and give support in obtaining a working visa. So it is worth doing some research and just apply!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a passion to work overseas and experience something different in this ever-changing global world, just do it! Many people have done it! I’m sure we can do it too!