My saving tips for the daily life of an international student

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.

1) Groceries

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/

2) Transport

I have shared some saving tips in my previous blog post: Public transport in Brisbane.

3) Accommodation

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.

4) Travelling

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!

Road trip to Toowoomba

Toowoomba is a city located in the Darling Downs region of southern Queensland. It takes around two hours to drive from Brisbane CBD. A friend of mine and I planned a road trip to Toowoomba for the Carnival of Flowers which occurs in September every year. Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is an award winning event about spectacular gardens, live music and local food & wine etc. It’s an event loved by locals and visitors travel from all over the country to take part.

The first place we went to was Queens Park which had many beautiful flowers.

After watching all the colourful flowers, we went to Picnic Point to have our lunch. Picnic Point is and excellent lunch spot with a wonderful view of Table Top Mountain.

Photo: Tabletop Mountain.

After finishing our picnic, we went to the Japanese Gardens to see more flowers.

After relaxing at the Japanese Gardens, we went to a mountain in Highfields, which is around twenty minutes drive from Toowoomba. We didn’t know a lot about the place before going there and there were no clear signs telling you which trail to follow, so we didn’t explore too much. However, we got to see a wild kangaroo jumping in the bushes.

Toowoomba is a great destination for a road trip. Nonetheless, I would suggest you going on a day with good weather as it could get very hot and cold.

 

 

Wandering around QUT Precincts

If you have some free time to just hang out at QUT Gardens Point, QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House are the places that you should visit!

QUT Precincts is Australia’s leading university cultural precinct and home to world-class venues. It consists of QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery, Old Government House and The Cube which located at Gardens Point campus. Another one is QUT Creative Industries Precinct located at Kelvin Grove campus.

I have shared some photos of The Cube and QUT Creative Industries Precinct at the blogposts of QUT Gardens Point campus and QUT Kelvin Grove campus separately before.

Today I would like to share some photos that I took while I visited QUT Art Museum, the William Robinson Gallery and Old Government House.

Photo: The entrance of QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibitions at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: Exhibition at QUT Art Museum.

Photo: The exterior of Old Government House.

Photo: The interior of Old Government House.

Photo: The panorama of Brisbane at 1872 exhibited at Old Government House.

Photo: The exhibition at Old Government House.

Photo: One of the corner at William Robinson Gallery.

There are all free so you can always visit if you have some time at Gardens Point campus.

Placement at the outback

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 vision screening team.

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.

 

 

 

Ekka fun

This year is my third year in Brisbane and it is also my third time going to The Royal Queensland Show (Ekka).

Ekka is Queensland’s largest annual event which is held over ten full days in August at the heart of Brisbane. Visitors would have a chance to experience the best of Queensland with some carnival fun, animal competitions, award-winning food and wine, stunt performance and etc.

This year was a last minute plan to go for Ekka. I bought the concession ticket online which costed me $24 (Tips: It is slightly cheaper to buy the tickets online than the ticket counter). However, you can buy even cheaper ticket from a few travel agencies if you plan to go in advance.

Photo: This strawberry sundae could be the icon of Ekka. You shouldn’t miss it as it really tastes yummy!

Photo: You would have the chance to get very close to the animals.

Photo: Horse demonstrations.

Photo: There are various types of rides to play at Ekka if you are keen. However, the entrance ticket doesn’t include playing the rides. You may have to buy individual ticket for the specific ride.

Photo: Showbag Pavillion is the place where you can buy the various types of showbags.

Photo: People were having some fun games to win the prizes.

Photo: The stunt performance at the main arena.

Photo: The stunt performance at the main arena.

Photo: My favourite session of Ekka. The fireworks at the end of the day are incredibly spectacular. You shouldn’t miss it!

Photo: Ekka is the headlines news every year.

Even though this year has already been my third time in a row going to Ekka, I still have great fun with friends!

 

Girls day trip at Canberra

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

Photo: While we were exploring at Australian War Memorial.

  • 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/#

Photo: Being explained by the tour guide about the manufacture of coins.

  • 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!

Hiking at Mount Tibrogargan

Picture from Google

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mount Tibrogargan is one of the many mountains in the Glass House Mountains National Park. It is famous not only due to its steep cliffs, but also the resemblance to a gorilla. That’s also the reason why some people call it Mount Gorilla.

I went there with friends on a weekend by car. It’s about one hour drive from Brisbane city area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got off at the car park and took the summit trail. One lesson we learnt from that day is: don’t bring too much things with you while you hike. Before we head off, we went to the supermarket to buy some food and carried the woolies bag all the way to the mountain top. It turned out to be very inconvenient.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a 30-minute hike, we arrived the cliff. It was actually recommended for experienced climbers only due to the steepness. You can see from the picture that the way to the top of the mountain is almost vertical to the horizon.

I was a bit terrified at the beginning because I haven’t done any proper training before. But my friends helped  me and I managed to climb up successfully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you don’t have any rock climbing experience and none of your friends do either, It is not recommended for you to climb up because it can be quite challenging and difficult.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After climbing up the cliff, there is actually still a long way to go. But I didn’t continue because I’m a little terrified and didn’t have confidence that I would climb up safely. I thought it would be safer to stay at where I am and enjoy the current view.

When I get more experienced, I will try the track to the mountain top one day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really enjoyed this all-green view and will sure come back to conquer more mountains in the Glass House Mountains area.

The Sunshine State

There are so many things that make me love Queensland!

  1. The weather. Yep, the weather in Queensland is warm even during winter! Queensland is mostly warm and sunny throughout the year. 
  2. The beaches. Queensland offers many beautiful beaches for students like me to explore during study break.  I recently got back from Noosa Heads, Sunshine Coast and Broadbeach, Gold Coast. It was actually sunny enough that I could take a dip in the water during winter and not freeze! 
  3. Outdoor activities. Bushwalking, hiking, fishing, walking along the river bank. There are so many outdoor activities over here and I can’t wait to get out from my house whenever I have the opportunity to explore the state.There are many national parks for bush walking and hiking such as Mount Tamborine and Springbrook. Most of the national parks include picnic area and barbeque pit which allow you to chill and enjoy the nature over a meal!

  1. The people! Bus drivers, baristas, waiting staff, ticket salesperson – they are all so friendly 🙂

Can’t wait to add more to the list!

Visiting Queensland Museum

Queensland Museum tells the changing story of Queensland through natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement. It was established at South Brisbane over 20 years ago.

Image: Queensland Museum is located at South Brisbane with easy accessibility.

Image: The animal model looks so real.

Image: The skeleton of one of the dinosaur species in the past.

Image: You can get the volunteer to walk you through the exhibition halls if you are keen to know more history verbally.

Image: The exhibition of Queensland’s unique animals and their habitats.

Image: Some interesting facts of Queensland.

Image: The discovery centre of Queensland Museum.

Image: Some exhibition at the passageway outside of Queensland Museum.

Queensland Museum is free entry for the public. It is definitely a  good place to visit when you have families and friends visit you at Brisbane.

Studying at State Library of Queensland

Personally I like to study at library because I can concentrate more easily and hence absorb what I am learning efficiently. Other than QUT libraries, sometimes I like to go to the State Library of Queensland which is located at South Brisbane with convenient accessibility and conducive learning environment.

The State Library of Queensland is the main reference and research library provided to the people of the State of Queensland.

Image: The exterior design of the state library of Queensland.

Image: The aesthetic and modern interiors of the state library.

Image: One of the study areas.

Image: My favourite reading zone.

Image: My favourite reading zone with the view of Brisbane river.

Image: One of the reading zones with natural lighting.

Image: Library members can rent the room to practise the instruments.

I really enjoy the ambience of the state library. If you want to change the environment to study or doing your assignments, the state library of Queensland will definitely satisfy you.