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!
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!
I think money issue is one of the main worries for most of the international students in Australia. Being an international student in Brisbane, I have to keep a close eye at the digits of my bank account to make sure that I have enough money for my rent, food, transport, social activities, travelling and last but not least, the tuition fee.
There are many options to do your groceries in Brisbane for examples Aldi, Woolworths, Coles, IGA, K mart, Big W, Costco, Asian Groceries Stores etc. Normally the large grocery stores may carry most of the stuff you need but different brands. Compare the prices between the grocery stores and the different brands they carry (grocery home brands are often cheaper) if you want to save some money! Furthermore, the big grocery stores may have discount for different types of products every week, so join their mailing list and keep an eye on their specials.
Other than the regular promotion, some products which are approaching expiry date will have a further price reduction. I always buy discounted ice coffee which makes my day haha!
As a member of one of QUT’s student organisations you may have discounts for stores across Brisbane. For instance, QUT Malaysian Students Association provides special discounts for members who shops in one of the Asian grocery stores in the city.
I would suggest you buy fruits and vegetables from the markets, as it’s normally cheaper than the grocery stores. You can find out more about Brisbane markets from my previous post: https://blogs.qut.edu.au/student-life-in-brisbane/2016/11/01/markets-culture-in-brisbane/
I have shared some saving tips in my previous blog post: Public transport in Brisbane.
There are many options for accommodation for examples homestay, students apartments, shared acommodation etc. The weekly rent could range from AUD $100+ to $300+. Personally I think shared accommodation is the cheaper option, however, it all depends on what your requirements are.
Travelling could be very affordable if you plan well in advance. Brisbane has a great geographic location and is near most of Australia’s major travel destinations. Join the airlines’ email list so you don’t miss the cheapest ticket. Instead of flying, you can choose to do a road trip to any of the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane. You can read my previous post regarding my visit to the beautiful places surrounding Brisbane.
If you plan to visit some tourist spots which require entrance tickets e.g. Lone Pine Sanctuary or all the theme parks on the Gold Coast, I would suggest you buy the ticket in advance. Check out some travel agencies in the city or suburbs as they would be able to sell you the tickets with a better price than the venue. You can read my blog post with some travelling tips about Gold Coast Theme Parks.
5) Social activities
I enjoy dining out with friends, however dining out in Brisbane could be very expensive. Some restaurants serve very big portions, so it is a good idea to share with a friend if you have small appetite. The portion of food sold by food trucks is normally not that big. You could check out my previous blog to know more about the food trucks culture in Brisbane.
Hopefully these tips could save some money whilst studying as an international student in Brisbane!
QUT is an university for real world. I can’t agree more.
I was lucky enough to get selected for the placement at Ngaanyatjarra Lands which is located at the outback of central Perth. This was the coolest placement experience I have so far.
The Ngaanyatjarra lands includes twelve aboriginal communities. Eleven of them have a health clinic built in the communities. The placement was a vision screening trip to the Ngaanyatjarra lands. The vision screening team of the trip consisted of an ophthalmologist, an optometrist, two optometry students, one nurse and one registrar. For your information, vision screening is an efficient and cost-effective method to identify the visual impairment or eye conditions that possibly complicate with the vision loss, therefore a timely referral can be made to the appropriate eye care professional for further examination and management.
All the communities scatter around the Ngaanyatjarra lands. Due to the remote location, we have to take the jet charter to access to those communities. We departed from Fremantle at Perth early in the morning to kick start the five days vision screening trip.
Image: The interior of our jet charter. It was a pretty comfortable ride.
Image: We were above the clouds when the sun was rising. The sky was coloured with pink and light blue.
Image: My course mate and I were offered to be the co-pilot. It was such a cool experience for us!
Image: The photo of I and the jet charter.
Image: The photo of the friendly pilot and us.
We have screened around 180 people during the five days vision screening trip and dispensed numerous sunglasses. QUT provides this rare opportunity for the students to experience whatever that may happen in our future career.
Other than doing placements locally, students are also allowed to seek the placement opportunities worldwide. I went back to my home country for the summer holidays and finished part of the placements at one of the eye centres in my country in the meanwhile. The placements enable me to expose myself to the eye care system in both countries. It also prep myself with the these experiences before I kick start my career once I graduate.
QUT Malaysian Students Association hosted Malaysia’s 60th National Day Celebration at Kelvin Grove campus. The celebration was happening from 11AM to 3PM on August 31st. The activities included Henna (body painting with a dye prepared from a plant), calligraphy, games, multicultural singing and dance performances. There was also Malaysia local cuisines food stall and free Teh Tarik (a hot milk tea beverage which can be commonly found in restaurants and outdoor stalls at Southeast Asia countries) distributing.
It was a great effort by QUT Malaysian Students Association to host this event in the campus for the celebration of Malaysia’s 60th National Day. Even though we are far away from home, we can still celebrate National’s Day even in the campus.
Canberra is Australia’s capital, inland from the country’s southeast coast. While we were travelling at Sydney, we bought the day trip to Canberra from the travel agency at Sydney CBD. The day trip costed us $35, however it didn’t include the tips for the tour guide, lunch and the entrance fee of the tourist spots. Anyway I think it is still considered a day trip with reasonable price so I would recommend it to the others. We departed early in the morning as the travelling time from Sydney CBD to Canberra is pretty long.
- Australian War Memorial. It is a combination of a shrine, a world-class museum, and an extensive archive. It serves the purpose of commemorating the sacrifice of those Australians who have died in war and the mission of assisting Australians to remember, interpret and understand the Australian experience of war and its enduring impact on Australian society. re information can be obtained from: https://www.awm.gov.au
- Cockington Green Gardens. Walking into the gardens is like a venture into a wonderland with delightful and fascinating display of meticulously crafted miniature buildings set within beautifully landscaped gardens. More information can be obtained from: http://www.cockingtongreen.com.au
- Lake Burley Griffin. It is an artificial lake in the centre of Canberra. A good place to enjoy the serenity of Canberra and the beautiful view of Lake Burley Griffin.
- Royal Australian Mint. The Mint serves the functions of producing Australia’s coinage. Besides, it produces coins for other countries, along with medals, medallions, tokens and seals for private clients from both national and international. More information can be obtained from: https://www.ramint.gov.au/#
- Australian Parliament House. Although it is the meeting place of the Parliament of Australia, it is open for the public to visit as well. More information can be obtained from: http://www.aph.gov.au
Always have fun with girl friend no matter where we travelled! Furthermore, I got to know more about Australia history from the one day trip at Canberra!
I spent one of the Saturday morning with a girl friend at The Institute of Modern Art (IMA) which is located at Brunswick Street, Fortitude Valley. IMA was one of the first contemporary art venues to appear on the Australian soil.
IMA is free entry for public. Although it is not as big as Queensland Art Gallery but it is definitely worth visiting if you have some free time or a respite from the study.
1) What university are you studying at?
- National Taiwan Normal University
2) Where are you from?
3) How long was your exchange at QUT?
- A semester
4) What course were you studying at QUT?
- Education related courses, such as early childhood literacies, classroom management, inclusive education and interpersonal skills
5) What do you learn from the exchange experience at QUT?
- I learn how to seek help from the course’s tutor and learning independently from online resources from the lessons I took. Well and lots of interacting skills from meeting different people from different country
6) What is the main difference do you find between QUT and your university?
- The main difference is the learning atmosphere, it’s much more flexible and student-based at QUT whereas in Taiwan, lessons are always full-packed and teacher-oriented
7) Any tips for the prospective exchange students?
- Accept the cultural shock, and enjoy the excitement of trying new stuff
- What university are you studying?
Ewha Womans University in South Korea.
- How long was your exchange at QUT?
About 5 months.
- What course were you studying at QUT?
My major is journalism. I took four classes at QUT. Three of them were about journalism and one of them was Australia Geography.
- What do you learn from the exchange experience at QUT?
Australia is one of the most multi-cultural places in the world. A multi-cultural society is made up of people from various backgrounds and ethnicities. I could make friends of all different races and learn from them. It was really interesting to share each culture. By doing so, I became more open-minded. After studying in Australia, my perspective and thoughts are broadened.
- What is the main difference do you find between QUT and your university?
Although Ewha Womans University provides students some discussion courses, the number of classes is too limited. Also, there are so many students in each class that students cannot have enough time to express their views. On the contrary, QUT has lots of discussion courses and the number of students in a class is small compared to mine. I was happy to express my opinion during the classes actively.
- Any tips for the prospective exchange students?
I really recommend you to visit lots of places while studying abroad. Australia is really huge and has many different types of weather. It has many different environments inside. For me, Australia was a really great choice. I traveled lots of parts in Australia such as Alice Springs, Cairns, Melbourne, Sydney and so on. Each part has different feel and its own attraction. In addition, Australia has various kinds of animals, which are hard to find in other countries. I saw many kinds of kangaroos. There are also many koalas in Australia, it is easy for people to see them. Many of my Korean friends envy me that I could see them. QUT International Student Service also provides school trips for international students with resonable prices. I recommend you to check mails from QUT International Student Service.
I was so lucky to grab the last spot to participate in the University life in Japan (Oceania) programme 2016 in December which hosted by Sonoda Women’s University.
This is one of the best trips in my life so far. I kind of having some Japanese culture contact since young through anime and entertainment. I have been longing to travel to Japan for a long time. I was extremely excited for the long awaited trip when I received the email from David regarding to my successful application!
On the first day of the programme, David (the person in charge) fetched us from Kansai airport to our hotel at Amagasaki. The coach journey from Kansai airport to Hanshin Amagasaki station was so enjoyable due to the excellent scenery and introduction given by David along the way. David brought us to tour around Amagasaki and introduced us some places near our hotel. I can feel the kind hospitality of Japanese from the very first day of the trip. I feel like the living expenses at Japan is similar to Brisbane. However, I was so spoilt with the various options of food and products. On the other side, the size of the accommodation is much smaller if compared to Brisbane. Regarding to the transportation, the train lines there are very confusing so do bring a map with you in case you get lost. The buses are always on time so do arrive early at the bus stop if you can’t take the risk to miss the bus.
Sonoda Women’s University doesn’t offer as many courses as QUT so the size of the campus is also much smaller compared to QUT. We don’t have the chance to explore the student accommodation because we were arranged to stay in the hotel nearby the campus during the program.
I always have the interest to learn Japanese language. I have the chance to learn some basic Japanese language during the cultural exchange programme at Sonoda Women’s University. Even though there is communication problem, however Fujiwara sensei tried her best to make the class become an interesting one for us. Now I am so proud of myself because I am able to introduce myself in Japanese language. The another class I enjoyed a lot is the Japanese crafts. We learnt to make some beautiful Japanese crafts and got to bring it home as well. We got the opportunity to be clad in two types of Kimono and also being introduced about Shinto and tea ceremony. It was an interesting experience indeed to learn about Japanese culture this way. I also got the chance to handmade ichigo daifuku (strawberry mochi) and savoured it after that. It tastes so yummy and I am craving for it now.
The two highlights of the short-term program are the visit to primary and junior high school and the homestay at Ojiro. I am so impressed by the friendliness and discipline been cultivated in Japanese since the young age. I had so much fun while spending time with the adorable and polite students. During the homestay at Ojiro, we were so lucky to see the snow. My first snow in life was so beautiful and I will forever remember it in heart. I have been assigned to homestay at a sensei family consists of grandmother, father, mother and two little girls. My host father is a vice-principal of a primary school and my host mother is a primary school teacher at Ojiro. My two little host sisters are studying at their high school and junior high school separately. My host father tried his best to communicate with me in English and introduced me Japanese culture in English as well even though he is not familiar with the language. I got to know more about ‘yukigassen’ (snowball fighting) from him as he is one of the judge for the game. I had wonderful time spending with the family and also the visit to the primary and junior high school at Ojiro. I will definitely plan my visit to Ojiro again whenever there is a chance.
Even though the program schedule is quite packed, we still have the time to do some travelling.
The following photos are the scenery where we managed to arrange the time to travel to.
I am grateful for being one of the members for this cultural exchange programme. This trip gave me so many wonderful cultural exchange experiences. I cherish the rapport relationship we forged among the members and also with the host family. Big thanks to Sonoda Women’s University and the host family for hosting us so well at Japan. And also thanks QUT Global for giving us such a good opportunity to have this type of experience during our university journey. It made this trip possible for me with the bursary provided by QUT.
I collaged some small clips during the trip into a video, here is the link for you if you are interested to know more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wptNWklDOKs&feature=youtu.be