International student interview: Jodie Chu

Image: QUT International student, Jodie Chu. Taken at Japan during the short term mobility program by QUT Global.

Where are you from?

  • Hong Kong

How long have you been in Brisbane?

  • It has been 1.5 years.

What course are you studying?

  • Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics

How do you find being a part of QUT?

  • As an international student at QUT, I have a lot of opportunities to engage in the real world environment and Australian community. Besides, I got the multi-cultural experiences from real world placement program, QUT global exchange program and East West activities. On top of that, I find the course I am doing now is good and it is more practical than the other universities as well. I am happy to have the opportunities to practice my cooking skills and doing experiment every week.

What do you like to do during your leisure time?

  • Travelling and reading

What is your favorite quote?

  • Be perseverant.

Growing while studying

O-week was such a good chance to talk to new students and get to know more about them, (at the same time getting the $2 lunch deal! hehe).

It’s my forth semester in QUT. As the semester started, I can’t help but to reflect on the previous semesters and realised I have encountered many new experiences and have grown a lot. I used to be quite reserved and could possibly be quiet around people I am not familiar with. But coming to Brisbane for study, I have to step out of my comfort zone to be more outgoing.

During tutorials, I would have to get involved in discussion and interact with my course mates. I used to have low confidence in public speaking. But most of my units required oral presentations and this really force me to overcome my shyness.  And during group works, I would be able to group up and work together with different people. I have learnt a lot about working together as a team and it’s always fun to listen to different point of view. It’s also nice to see how different individuals have their own working styles.

QUT is a university with students from various nationalities. There are many opportunities for me to meet friends from all across the world and learn a lot about their cultures. Studying in QUT has made me experience so much of my personal growth in just two years!

Time – Friend or Foe?

Hello Readers!

For the most of us, this is the first week back to class but for some, it is your very first time in university. In fact, it might be your first year in Australia! First of all, welcome to Brisbane and I hope you find home at QUT. Also, congratulation for getting this far!

University is a great place to discover your passion and potential as well as your weak spot. Being at university is a testing ground and a safe place to explore what you can accomplish. With this newfound sense of freedom comes responsibility and it can get overwhelming. Hence, I want to dive into some of the challenges that I and many other students face all the time so you don’t feel out of place if you find yourself in the same rut.

The Gaps

One thing I realised straight away was that my uni schedule was the polar opposite to typical high school hours. In high school (well at least in Brisbane), we start at 9am and go home by 3pm. However, a typical week schedule at university is like the one below. At times we get long breaks in-between or none at all and sometimes we may get awkward one hour classes (and we contemplate whether to go to it!). If you are working part time or if you are a mum/dad who decided to continue your studies- the gaps can be a little tricky too. The gaps can be dangerous because that is a space where we can easily waste time especially if we are a full time student with no other commitments and it is definitely not ideal when the semester starts to pick up its pace.

An example of a class schedule.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(TIP: I do not recommend cramming but sometimes timetabling does it for you and you have no choice)

For some reason, time flies very quickly when we start university which means we need to learn to maximise our time and maintain productivity. Some important skills I knew I needed to foster in order to stay ahead was task allocation, time management and endurance. I still struggle and mess up even till today but I can tell that I am building up these skills and it is serving me well not only as a student but also as an employee. I feel the need to emphasise the word “building” because we have to be consistent and practise these skills until it becomes a habit. Don’t freak out if you wake up late one day or miss the bus to uni or slack off on a Saturday morning. Time management is neither a superpower nor magic, it is not usually an innate ability but we can definitely train ourselves.

My essentials for time management:

A general planner: This is the most important item for me. In this planner, I write down meetings, appointments, hang outs, family affairs, classes, events, workshops and the like. The main role for this planner is for me to see where I need to be for the week so I don’t double book a meeting or miss a class or forget to attend a seminar etc. This planner is small, light, compact and easy to carry around.

General planner a.k.a the WHERE book.

As you can see, I write down the time first followed by the event and the venue. I also include a tick box just so I can mark it when I am done. This will give a sense of accomplishment and would encourage me to keep going about my day.

To- Do List a.k.a the WHAT book.

To- Do List: The best time to sort out a to-do list is at night before bed or the first thing in the morning. In this notebook, I write down everything I need to do. What I used to do after that was to simply choose one and do it but that doesn’t equal productivity. The second step after writing the tasks down should be sorting it out between high and low priority. After allocating the tasks, I would further review the high priority section and make an asterisk on maximum three things I need to get done on that day. This step will narrow things down to the smallest job as possible and before you know it, you have accomplish your daily goals! If you are up for it, then put three more asterisk and complete the task.

 

 

 

Sometimes I would add an action section, a shopping list or a reminder for things that are not urgent. I apply this method to my work and placement to-do list as well. I have a total of three to-do list because compartmentalising works for me. I don’t like mixing work with uni and my personal life just because it can get very overwhelming. Why don’t I just use an app? Well, I like writing things down so if you find a good app then go for it – I am just more old school.

Assignment planner: This is specifically for assignments and I would usually do this from Week 1. First, I will write down all the assignments in the first two pages so that I can have easy access to view what assignments I have without needing to search each subject individually. This can be very tedious in the beginning but it is worth it! Then, I will arrange the due date of assignments chronologically on the next page. So that gives me a timeline that is easy to follow.

Example of a semester overview.

Because my general planner is always with me, I make sure to write or make a note for each due date on the monthly and weekly pages. I have a yearly overview as well but instead of writing it down because of lack of space, I will either highlight or decorate with a small sticker just so I know an assignment is due.

An example of a visual reminder for my assignments.

 

As you can see, I have two assignments due on the 24th of April and having a visual reminder will assist my progress over the weeks. I can adjust how much work I need to get done on other assignments, if I can spare some free time or whether I need to gather all my focus and cut down on leisure depending on the workload.

Hopefully when you adopt some of these tools, it will help you learn how to fill the gaps between classes wisely or how to organise huge projects into small daily tasks and realistic goals. These methods have really helped me to get all my work done and I really mean it! Yes! You don’t have to worry about sacrificing sleep, in fact, you can even afford a nap. I have not pull an all-nighter since high school and I don’t intend to do any in the future.

We have discussed task allocation (to-do lists, high and low priorities etc) and we have talked about time management (having planner, creating weekly and monthly timelines etc). Writing tasks down and making our planner look pretty is super easy – anyone can do it. The deal breaker is our attitude and character towards completing what we say we will and what is given to us. A way to keep ourselves accountable it to treat university like being at work and what do we need to do to keep a job? We turn up, we show up on time, we meet deadlines, we find our way to be organised, we keep our word, we push ourselves a little bit over the usual and we contribute. It does take awhile to master it all, but if we start now I can guarantee it will pay off in the long run.

Here’s to Semester 1, 2017! For those who have just started, enjoy the ride! For those who are graduating soon, thank you for making uni great – we hope you share your knowledge with the rest of the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research Internships for Science Undergraduates

It’s almost a rite of passage for the current day for undergraduate students to do a summer internship for at least their last two years of study.

As international students we may have the slight disadvantage of not having any connections in the industry for us to land an internship – we often require more effort and time compared to that required by a domestic student.

However, QUT has in place a Vacation Research Scheme (VRES) for which all QUT students can apply! You will usually get an email in your second semester giving you more details about the VRES projects available and the supervisors in charge of each project.

The projects are categorised by school so it is easier to find a project that suits your interests and academic field. I come under the School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, so I skipped over all the other projects to look at the projects listed under this school because they would be more relevant to me.

You are required to choose and nominate three projects that interest you, in order of preference. You must email the supervisors of each of the three projects and meet up with them beforehand. This allows you to show interest in the respective project and to also get to know about the nitty-gritty of the projects. After your chats with them, your order of preference may change. So this needs to be done before you submit the application.

As per usual you need to state why you want to take part in VRES. As places are limited, the entry to this is very competitive. The supervisors have high expectations of the students who do get into VRES, and you get paid for each week of research you do.

In general, it is rather uncommon for a first year to get in, although you’re more than welcome to apply. Most supervisors prefer students from the second year and upwards due to the simple fact that by the end of the second year, you would have more knowledge and experience in the field, so the project would be more beneficial to you. However, a few first year students do get into VRES each year, so don’t let that discourage you from applying.

Read the details early on so that you can organise a time to meet up with the supervisor easily, because they tend to be very busy and often don’t have time to see you on short notice.

Keep in mind, this is just one of many opportunities that will come your way. Check in other places such as Engineers without Borders and CSIRO for other internships that maybe available to you. VRES is really good place to start looking, because it is from QUT itself.

A Book lover’s paradise: Lifeline Bookfest!!

I did not know about the existence of bookfest until it had already started and gone halfway through its scheduled dates for January 2017. I have to thank my lovely friend Ashlee for enlightening me about this. Being the massive bookworm I am, I love nothing more than cheap books. If you happen to share the same endearing quality, then Lifeline Bookfest is your slice of paradise!

Lifeline is an Australian charity that provides crisis support and suicide prevention services to Australians. It plays a pivotal role in supporting the mental wellbeing of people throughout Australia. Thus keep in mind that every purchase you make at bookfest is going towards a worthy cause.

How it works: people from everywhere donate their books (from all kinds of genres, even textbooks), stationery (that is in good condition) and even CDs and DVDs to Lifeline; a bunch of volunteers and lifeline staff congregate and categorise them and sell it at bookfest. All funds generated go towards supporting Lifeline.

That is all the background info in a nutshell. Feel free to do some of your own research. Now to the fun bits and pics.

All the six books above, I got for a total of $9. HOW COOL IS THAT??? I would imagine each of those books to cost a minimum of $15 bucks at a bookstore. You’ve got to admit that it’s a real steal.

My only problem at bookfest was that I wanted to buy half of the books displayed there, which would mean I have to sell my soul. So naturally, I had to limit my spending.

As you can possibly gauge from the above pictures, there’s an almost impossible number of books to navigate through, so if you’re as into books as I am, then be prepared to come in multiple days. Do not fret, as bookfest runs for over a week, so can come in every now and again.

Pro tip: bring a sturdy grocery bag with you. You’ll love yourself a little more if you don’t have to balance 20 books in your hands on a 40-minute bus ride.

Look at that BARGAIN!!!!! *insert heart eye emoji*

The books are divided off into 3 sections: $1 section, $2.50 section and the ‘High-quality books’ section. The ‘High-quality books’ are priced anywhere at and above $4  and this is usually where you would find some useful reference books. Inside each section the books are arranged into tables labelled fiction, hardback, paperback, biographies, rare & collectables, etc. There’s a lot more sections than I can remember, I’m afraid.

After you’re done in each section you have to pay for your books at the checkouts pictured above, where they will put your books in a plastic bag and seal it. Do not break this seal until you’re done with bookfest for the day. This seal helps prevent books from different sections from getting mixed up.

You can always google up Lifeline bookfest for more information. Don’t forget to like their facebook page as this will give you updates on their events.

Bookfest happens twice a year and couldn’t happen without the lovely volunteers or patrons, so feel free to volunteer at the next bookfest.

 

Winter Exchange in Germany

Last semester, I applied for several short term exchange programs overseas. It turns out that going abroad is less difficult than I thought because a lot of the programs are easy to get into and QUT provides great support along the way.

I applied for 5 programs last year and was admitted to 3 of them. Due to the timeframe of the programs, I picked two of them to attend this winter. After exchanging in Japan, I was off to Germany for another three weeks. I can say it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my university life.

To me, Europe is a completely unfamiliar continent and German is another completely different and hard language. But I’m glad I stepped outside my comfort zone and spent 3 weeks learning German language.

This winter program consists of four parts: German language class, business seminar (you can choose between business seminar and culture seminar), photography workshop ( other workshops on offer are cooking and dancing) and excursions.

A snapshot of International Winter University in Fulda, Germany (first week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall the program is really hectic and we have things to do almost everyday.

My first impression of Germany is: it is so cold! I was very unprepared when I landed in Frankfurt and was shaking all the way to the hotel.

Eurotower

Point Alpha – It was so cold there

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You know what? The university education in Germany is for free. Besides, there are government food subsidy to students as well. So if you eat at school canteen, it usually only costs three or four Euro.

Food in canteen only costs 3 Euro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides studying, the highlight of this trip is of course different fieldtrips! We went to Berlin for the whole weekend, exploring the art and history of east and west German. Then we toured these two little towns called Nuremberg and Wurzberg with castles and ancient cathedrals. At our last day, we headed to a ski resort called Rhon for sliding.

Nuremberg adventure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlin loves you – near Topographie Des Terrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor’s House in Fulda where our university is located

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got so excited when slidingGoGoglo

Most of the program participants are from Australia and America. For some of them who are from Brisbane and California, they have never seen snow before. Thus sliding made them really really excited.

I want to say thank you to all the people I met in this journey who made it an amazing experience for all. I’m sure some of us will meet each other somewhere in the world sooner or later. Danke!

Sunflowers

The semester is starting in less than a month?!!! That’s fast, where did the time go? It feels like yesterday where the holiday started. My friends and I have been trying to have fun and travel around before the start of the stressful period. Last week, we went for a road trip to see the sunflowers at the Sunflower Route.

We drove along the road from Warwick to Allora and were welcomed by sunflowers. However, some of the sunflowers were not blooming. Nevertheless, it was a nice drive with a nice view.

Smiling brightly!

We went there in the evening to catch the sunset as well (too lazy to wake up early for the sunrise :P) and it was beautiful! It was fun travelling around and discovering the beauty of Queensland.

 

 

Winter Exchange in Japan

Last year, I was very lucky to get the chance to travel and study in Japan. It has always been my dream to come to Japan since high school as I watched a lot of Japanese TV shows and wanted to experience the Japanese culture by myself. Now after almost one month of stay in Japan, I can say my Japanese improved a lot and I learnt more Japanese culture.

I came to Japan early before the start the program and went to Kyushu area for travelling. Even in winter, the mountains in Kyushu was so pretty. I still remember how nice the people I met there were. When I was trying to go to the mountain in Kirishima and was told there was no bus access, a taxi driver offered to drive me and my friend there. Not only did he charge us a little, he showed us multiple hidden spots on the mountain and tried to explain the history behind it.

As my cultural class in Amagasaki was about to start, I said goodbye to my boyfriend who was travelling with me and went to Amagasaki one day prior to the start day of the program.

This winter program consists of Japanese language study, school visits and home stay experience. I want to share with you my experience from each parts and what I learnt out of them.

Students From Brisbane and Fiji

Namba, Osaka – one of the most crowded shopping center in Japan

Japanese Language study

We are very lucky to have Fujiwara Sensei as our Japanese language teacher who is humorous and knowledgeable. Her style of teaching is very interactive and encouraging. In each of the class, we spent almost fifty percent of the time in speaking. As a result, at the end of the first week, we already known how to greet and order food in Japanese. Although the program has already ended now, I will continue learning Japanese. I hope next time when I come back to Japan, I will be able to communicate better with my Japanese friends.

Attending local students’ English class

School visits

This is another part of the program which I enjoyed a lot. We went to visited Amagasaki Junior High School for their English Festival. I was so touched by how much effort and time the students put in this festival. Both year 7 and year 8 students played skit, while year 9 students shared with us their experience in New Zealand as all of them just came back from a study trip there.

One thing I noticed from this English festival is that unlike individualism, Japanese education focuses a lot on teamwork and respect. There might be twenty students in one group and only ten characters available in a certain skit, but everyone gets the chance to go on stage and perform because one role can be played by three or four students.

Another unforgettable school visit happened in Ojiro Junior High School where we ate lunch with the students and had classes together with them. Unlike Amagasaki, Ojiro is a very small town located in the mountain with less population and colder weather.

We, as exchange students from overseas, got the chance to participate in their English and music class. The English teacher in the school told us that a lot of students there don’t have many opportunities to speak English, so they really appreciate our visiting. When the class started, each of us did a short presentation in front of the class introducing our own countries. All the students seem to be interested and took down some notes.

In the music class, the students performed a local song to us and we danced and sang What Makes You Beautiful together. It was such a wonderful time to bond together with nice music.

Visiting Amagasaki Junior High School and attending their English Festival

Home Stay in Ojiro

My first impression of Ojiro is the beautifulness and peace of this little town. I still remembered some of my friends from Australia and Fiji were so amazed by the snow on the top of the mountain because it was the first time for them to see snow.

When we arrived at the Ojiro, our host family have already been in the city hall waiting for us. All of us felt a bit nervous to be honest as most of us haven’t been living with others before. At the same time, we also wanted to know where are we going to live and know our host family better.

My host mom came to the first meeting that day as my host dad was at work. She made me completely feel at home and prepared everything for me. When host dad came home, we had a really long discussion about Japanese culture, Chinese culture and Australian culture. Both of them were really humble and asked me lots of questions. Thanks to the similarity in Kanji and Chinese character, when we didn’t understand each other by verbal communication, handwriting came into use.

At the end of the homestay, it was so hard to say goodbye to all the nice people that I have met in Ojiro. I will always remember how pretty the mountains there are, how nice the locals are and how much fun I had there!

Snow in the mountain in Ojiro

 

Homemade meal by my host mum

One month of stay in Japan is definitely an eye-opening experience for me and I really find going overseas can open your horizon a lot. So my dear reader, if you come across such kind of opportunities in the future, make sure to grab it and make the most out of it!

 

Sparkling Christmas in Brisbane!

Hey all! Happy New Year. Hope you guys have had a wonderful holidays and break. It’s great to have a long break since Christmas to get recharge before the start of the year! I had an awesome start by going around the neighbourhood with some friends to visit some houses decorated with beautiful Christmas lights!

We did our research to find out and have a list of houses which decorated their place with Christmas lights! There are many houses on the list, but we narrow down our choices and mainly focus on the ones in Jindalee. Here are some of the pictures!

It’s nice to see how cooperative the whole neighbourhood is as all houses on the street were decorated with Christmas lights! We were amazed by the decorations and the effort they put in to decorate the house. Some houses are really creative with their decorations and they really pay attention to the small details. These houses are really worth visiting! Don’t miss out next Christmas!

 

The RoundUp

Apply now to study at QUT!

Thinking about starting your university journey at QUT in Semester 1, 2017?

Make sure you submit your application now so you don’t miss out.

We hope to see you on campus soon!

Read more…

Welcome to Australia Email Course

Our friends at Insider Guides have prepared a free, two-week course written by international students, locals, and experts to help you with things such as working in Australia, exploring your new city, and transport options.

Read more…

Spotlight on QUT research

PhD student, Atiyeh Vaezipour from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), has designed an in-car device that aims to persuade drivers to adopt a fuel efficient and safe driving style.

It’s just some of the awesome research happening at QUT!

Read more…

Explore Brisbane’s art galleries

Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) hosts many exciting art installations. The current one, Sugar Spin, features over 250 artworks exploring light, space, architecture, and the senses.The exhibition is free.

A fun place to visit while you’re exploring South Bank in Brisbane!

Read more…

Stay fit and meet new people!

University isn’t just about studying, you will also have time to socialise and get involved in student life.

QUT offers a variety of sport clubs and social teams for you to meet people from all over the world in a relaxed setting!

Read more...

Follow our bloggers!

Read about some of the exciting experiences our our international student bloggers have enjoyed since moving to Australia!

One of our bloggers, Linette, wrote about the beautiful places she has visited near Brisbane. We guarantee you will have a lot of fun here!

Read more…

QUT students stand out from the crowd!

QUT’s Leadership, Development and Innovation (LDI) Program takes students through a series of workshops to re-think what leadership means. Students receive awards for their level of involvement and it is a great achievement to have on your resume’.

The best news though? It is the only program of its kind in Australia!

Read more…

Real stories of QUT international students

You will find all these great stories by following our Instagram account!

Check out @qutinternational and search for #QUTI to read about other students’ experiences.

Have a great weekend!

The QUT Team

Check out these stories from QUT

Online dating booming but how much does education matter?
QUT takes out three awards in prestigious global competition
Chris doodles his way to ‘Bizdraw’ startup
QUT recognised for global leadership in learning and teaching
2016 in pictures – top photos from QUT Media