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!

Experience QUT Day

Experience QUT Day is an event organised for international Year 11 and 12 students studying  in Australia. Students can get an insight of what it is like to study at QUT and also network with other high school students.

Even though it was raining, about 70 students showed up to the event, some coming all the way from Gold Coast and Cairns.

I was helping with registration and was happy to see so many young faces looking forward to university life.

The event started with a presentation by Jimi Bursaw from Leadership, Development and Innovation Program on “Future of Uni, Work and You”.

Most of the students were very engaged with the presentation and which made students think about why university is important to them.

The most exciting part of the event was the Experience QUT Team Challenge. Students formed teams and then went to different stations hosted by faculties as part of the challenge. Each faculty representative was responsible for designing challenges and gave teams feedback on their performance. It was simply amazing to see students from different high schools form into groups and develop friendship.

This team challenge was hosted by QUT Science and Engineering faculty. Students learnt about simple programming and how to control a robot to take a certain route in order to finish the game.To be honest, it was not a simple task . Students needed to learn the basic programming quickly in order to finish the task. Team work  and being efficient was really important.

After almost 2-hour of the team challenge, winners and runner-ups were announced with different prizes. Students were also given the time to talk to student ambassadors about the courses and their study experience at QUT.

It made me think of myself in high school, although I wasn’t as active in seeking tips for starting uni as those young and passionate high school students. I did hope to have a chance to talk to seniors about their experience at QUT, so that I could know better what to expect. Experience QUT Day was indeed a golden chance for high school students to find out more about uni life. Good on you for attending!

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.

2017 Dragon Boat Regatta

Several weeks ago, I received an email sent out by QUT Business Faculty where they are looking for paddlers to join 2017 Dragon Boat Regatta representing the Business school. I always wanted to do some kayaking or canoeing on Brisbane River, therefore I joined straight away.

Photo from Yousef F. Kurashi Art & Photography

It turns out to be one of the most exciting events that I have ever participated since the beginning of my university life.

Dragon Boat Regatta actually has its roots in ancient China. Qu Yuan, a Chinese poet known for his patriotism and contributions to classical poetry committed suicide due to extreme despair to the situation of politics back then. In order to keep fish and evil spirits away from his body, villagers beat drums and splashed water with their paddles on dragon boat.

Photo from Yousef F. Kurashi Art & Photography

After three training sessions with Te Waka Dragons, the big day finally came. The final race was hosted on Brisbane River in South Bank.

On the day, there are more than 15 teams. The race was very competitive as all of the team devoted 100% to the race. For us, although we did not get to the finals, we can say at least we tried and had the best fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are thinking about joining a QUT Flagship event and meet new people while getting more fit, definitely join next year’s Dragon Boat Regatta!

Attending Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony

Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony is an event that provides international students the opportunity to receive a signed friendship certificate from Lord Mayor and have the photo taken by professional photographer. Besides, there are music performance, live performance by Aboriginal dancers presented to the students. If you would like to receive some information regarding studying in Brisbane, there are booths set up at the entrance as well. After the ceremony, there are also some light food and drinks available for the attendees.

I registered to attend Lord Mayor’s International Student Friendship Ceremony with a friend through the following link: http://www.choosebrisbane.com.au/study/news-and-events/lmisfc?sc_lang=en-au

Image: My friend and I took the photo with Brisbane Lord Mayor, Graham Quirk.

Image: My individual photo with Lord Mayor.

If you are interested in attending the ceremony, do check out the website and sign up as a member to receive the email or simply follow them at FB!

Exchange student interview: Veronica Lim

Image: QUT exchange student, Veronica Lim

1) What university are you studying at?

  • National Taiwan Normal University

2) Where are you from?

  • Malaysia

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

Image: Veronica and her friends at QUT.

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

Day Trip to Mt Cootha

Finally, my exam week came to an end and now it is time to have a bit of fun!

I had a friend coming from Melbourne to visit me straight after exam and we just did a day trip to Mt Cootha which turned out to be quite successful.

Here are three reasons why Mt Cootha is a perfect place for a day trip:

1.Botanic Gardens is located right at the foot of the mountain

A highly recommended way to enjoy Mt Cootha is to take a bus to the Botanic Gardens and then hike up to the summit after a nice tour at the beautiful gardens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It took me around one hour to enjoy the whole Botanic Gardens. Some of the highlights include: Tropical dome, Japanese garden, Bonsai exhibition and a lake with blooming lotus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. It’s a nice work-out all the way up to the mountain

The trail we took all the way up to the summit is called crocodile trail which is perfect for a casual hike. Along the way, you will see a beautiful lake and pretty much stay cool as the trees on both sides are tall and leafy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.The view at the top of the mountain is amazing

My friend agreed with me that the view overlooking the whole Brisbane city area is amazing and breath-taking. The fun thing about hiking is that you will always get to see a great view after making some effort.

There are two cafes on the summit but you can also choose to have a picnic there if you want to have a day trip on a budget. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My day ended with a nice picnic along with the gentle breeze at the mountain top. If you go there next time, please have fun and take lots of pictures!

 

International student interview: Riley Jia Xin Lim

Image: QUT international student, Riley Jia Xin Lim. Image taken at Southbank, Brisbane.

Where are you from?

  • Malaysia

How long have you been in Brisbane?

  • Since June 2015

What course are you studying?

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in Film, Television and New Media Production

How do you find being a part of QUT?

  • It’s great to be immersed in the multicultural atmosphere in QUT and also Brisbane which offers a lot of opportunities for international students to experience different cultural events organised by different clubs around the campus.

What do you like to do during your leisure time?

  • Watching movies, TV series and gaming.

What is your favorite quote?

  • You never try, you never know.

Redcliffe Festival of Sails

Good Friday has passed but my memory of the Redcliffe Festival of sails is still very fresh. It was a one-day event happening on Good Friday with Australia’s second biggest yacht race and other amusement events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I went there with my friends by taking the Redcliffe Peninsula line. On the day, the Jetty’s market was also going on. We first had some brunch at the market and then proceeded to the Sutton beach where you can see people started sailing away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides that, there were a lot of food trucks along the beach. Tennis and volleyball court was also set up for people to use. What’s more? There were ponies to ride as well!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although summer has already came to an end, it was still pretty cosy and warm at the beach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Got this shot at the Moreton Bay truck for free after a fulfilling meal.

If you are thinking about a one day trip outside down town Brisbane on weekend, Redcliffe is surely a place worth visiting. You can spend the morning exploring the Jetty’s market and then read books along the nice beach. PS:There is also a huge outdoor swimming pool similar to the one in Southbank if you feel like a swim.

 

ISAQ Welcoming Party

ISAQ (Indonesian Student Association of QUT) is an association for Indonesian students who study at QUT. ISAQ is also open to all other QUT students who have interests with Indonesia. This association holds events regularly.

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