January, 2016 Archive

Study in Australia: Seema Vittal Serigara

Written by Your Story

Seema is an active girl who comes from United Arab Emirates (UAE). She arrived in Sydney to “learn hard and play as hard.” She came to Australia in 2009 and was doing a Bachelor of Digital Media, which has an excellent student service. Seema called herself a person of ‘celebration’.

She explained: “I like all kinds of celebrations such as birthdays, graduations and so on. Because I guess I just need any excuse to start a riot and party. But I strongly believe that’s how it should be.”

A balance between the good and bad, or else how boring would life be? What an interesting girl!


Australia is economical for education, or not?

According to Seema, Australia seemed to be good for her financial situation. It also has a developed educational system and its credit recognition is highly regarded.

Talking about her degree, Seema said that she had no regrets. The Digital Media course was very practical and interesting.


“I use what I learnt everyday at work now so I guess it was a good investment,” Seema expressed.

Seema did not hesitate to share her skills that she learnt from her course such as video editing, 3d animation and modelling, sound editing, photography, graphic design, branding, typography and history about filmography.

“If I am still in university, I would join this short film festival –“Film it and show it”


Working in Australia is a different story

5 years living and studying in Australia has taught Seema to think independently, be humble and be a self-made person. By meeting a lot of friends from different backgrounds, Seema also learnt to respect people from different races, cultures and religions more.

However, as many international students have suffered, Seema could not avoid a huge culture shock, experiencing different time zones and homesickness. No matter what happened, UNSW had a positive impact on its student by launching an awesome student service and psychology service. Besides, Seema also had a strong support network and system of good people who were always ready to help her.


“I learnt to work hard and party just as hard (and) meet amazing people from all walks of life”, Seema said.

After graduation, Seema has focused on getting her finances more stable and building up a brand name for herself in the working field.

However, she did not choose to work in Australia due to a seemingly horrible  job market. So she returned home to Dubai.

“I am working well now and am at a good place financially. I feel secured.” said Seema.

And so, she has become more professional and hard-working, sticking to plans. Seema will also love to improve her marketing background. But, of course, “There is no easy way to achieve your goals”, she said.


Seema is also very keen on doing volunteering. Some activities she did were:

1. Donating hair to Locks of Love (i.e. to people who had custom wigs made due to loss of hair from chemotherapy for cancer)
2. Keep it clean co-recycling and cleaning up the local beaches
3. Giving baths to local cats and dogs at a shelter near her house
4. Recently joined the “Volunteer in UAE” community and their many programs. She recently attended the marathon for handicapped people and also a sign language program

Volunteering has taught Seema a lot, as she said: “All in all I learnt that there is so much more I can do. I know I am busy but one must try to always give back. I learnt to appreciate people more. Be more patient and humble.”

If you could give an advice for international students what would it be?

“I think I have mentioned this before but always work hard but also party just as hard. Your life should be a celebration of you and never assume anything about any body. You have to give respect to get some.”


What would you say to inspire international students to get better in the future?

Hard work, hard work and hard work. Also bubble baths help.

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Study in Australia: Anupriya Sharma

Written by Your Story

Coming from India, a hard-working woman and her husband chose Sydney to start their new journey. Here, Anupriya does her Master of Commerce in Finance at Macquarie University, while her husband has a part-time job. Despite the homesickness, Anupriya decided to keep herself busy with her university work (“I can’t live without studying PhD”), friends and travelling.


Childhood inspiration is always essential

Anupriya graduated from university back in India, completing an MBA in Accounting and Finance. Her father, who is a bank auditor, has always been her role model. As Anupriya loves learning, she started to save money, supported by her husband and parents, she came to Australia for a higher education about Finance.

Although it is hard, Anupriya’s determined quote is “Never give up!”, so she does not mind failing and starting again.


What are the differences between studying in Australia and India?

It is more practical to study in Australia. This is very important and Anupriya was very satisfied  this quality. Students who did or are currently doing a PhD may know that self-studying is the most essential skill that they have to learn. According to Anupriya, her method is to divide the subjects into small sections so she can easily catch up on parts that she missed.

Homesickness, one of the most common yet undefeatable problems that international students face. However, joining international student groups will properly help you to overcome hard-time. As Anupriya confided that even though Australia is a multi-cultural country, you can still feel left out due to the distances of language and customs in a group of local people. In an international students’ group, everyone somehow has one similar thing – living far away from home. Despite different backgrounds, people speak the same language, English. This is a strong bond connecting people together to create friends.


Part-time job and volunteer jobs are important for international students

Anupriya used to have a part-time job as a store team member at Coles. This is a great job opportunity which brought her extra amount to save. However, as she had to focus on studying more, she stopped working there.

On the other hand, Anupriya has a volunteer position at VOIS Magazine, writing advice for international students about studying and daily living. Even though it is volunteering, she loves this job as it not only helps reduce stress and homesickness, but writing has been her passion even when she was young. Since writing is done in her spare time, Anupriya is very keen on doing it, and can write a piece in 30 minutes when feeling inspired, such as The Hunger Games, the Light Festival or Job Searching.


Beaches and wines, please!

Beautiful coasts like Avalon, Newport and Bondi…who can deny the warm sunshine, cool wind and good wines? Anupriya does not also love these things, but is also interested in getting a tattoo done. However, this will happen “once I save enough to get a tattoo from Bondi Ink”, Anupriya said.

Talking about this, she said that many people did not know that tattoos were one of the traditional customs in a few places in India (“not mine, remote villages though…I know this because of my Bachelors in Anthropology”, she said). The custom is commonly known as “Godna”.


Last Xmas 2015, what did you do?

As Anupriya believes in Hinduism, she shares further her philosophy about Christmas and her religion: “Christmas is not our festival, but still, India being a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic (as per Preamble to the Constitution of India) we respect each religion and their culture, customs and festivals. We do have public holidays in India on Christmas…Supermarkets and shopping malls are decorated in same way as anywhere”.

Concerning Christmas, Anupriya said that she went for shopping on the next few days to buy gifts for her near and dear ones in Sydney, thus respecting and adapting to the Australian culture.

As Anupriya is also an international student, this wonderful Indian woman advises everyone of us to enjoy their time with friends, colleagues as it will never come back.


“Money comes and goes but memories are cherished forever.”

– Anupriya Sharma

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Happy Australia Day

Written by Student Life, Uncategorized

What is Australia Day?

Today is a national public holiday which celebrates the founding of the first European settlement in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip. His fleet, the First Fleet of British Ships landed at Port Jackson and claimed Australia as Great Britain’s own by raising the flag. The action of landing began the history-long battle between Australians and native Australians that is still present and continuing (even if it’s not visible).


Why do we celebrate?

A columnist for brisbanetimes.com proposes that we change the date of Australia Day. Why not because, if we were being honest, not many Australians who were born here remember why we even celebrate it anyway (sometimes they even forget the date). Or maybe if we do remember the brief reason, there’s still a disconnect. Nowadays we associate today with lazing about, celebrating all things Australian (drinks and barbecues, anyone?) And “the only people who really care about the arrival of the First Fleet are the poor bastards who lost their country because of it”. So why should the rest of us care? There’s the beach, fireworks, good food and family time. What’s not to like?

However, it’s the ‘newly-made’ Australians, those who’ve come from overseas and especially Indigenous Australians who find more meaning in this day. It was a day of successful settlement by one country, a day of invasion for another. And if we looked a little closer, we question why our present generation should feel guilt if we’re three centuries removed from what happened.

It’s an idea that we would rather not think about – it’s ‘irrelevant’, ‘ unimportant’…but only to us, the non-indigenous Australians. The proposal, made by an Anglo-Saxon person, to move the date to just some other day so that we can “get another piss-up at the dry end of the year” diminishes the importance of the date. We’ve already physically moved native Australians out of their homes, so why not move their day of commemoration as well.

It’s like if your birthday was on Christmas, and your family are big celebrators of the holiday. Why not move it to the beginning of the year so that you can get one celebration at the beginning of the year, and another at the end of the year. Plus, if you’re into presents, you would get two gifts instead of one. More convenient? Probably. Would you want to though? Maybe, maybe not.

Even if a public holiday isn’t as individually important to someone as their personal holiday, it uses a similar principle. In moving a date, we are only thinking of moving the culture of food and drink for our own convenience. In time, we may forget the reason why we moved the day, and maybe even why the day existed in the first place.


People are a-historical

There’s a concern with people, and more commonly youths of today, being known as “a-historical”. That is, without knowledge of where they came from or what their heritage is. It’s the idea of ‘irrelevance’ again – we just don’t care enough to know. And why would we when it doesn’t affect us directly or have any visible importance in our daily lives?

Although I can see where the columnist is coming from, there’s a reason why we celebrate and remember something on one particular day every year. For quite a number of people, there’s a sense of tradition and a sense of connection to history. When we remember history, we remember that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents celebrated a certain day or movement or language. We move back in time and, in doing so, we connect to our culture. We can establish our identity.


If we think a little more closer, what does it mean to be Australian? Is it the Australians who go through the motions and have big lunches and dinners, is it the Asian family who waves around the Australian flag, is it the Australian who has no idea what Australia Day is about, is it the Aboriginal family that stands off to the side?

It’s all of these things.

So, on Australia Day, every year, there’s the smell of coals and sunscreen, but also celebration and acknowledgement.


photo: http://www.australian-flag.org/australia-flag-648.jpg

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Sydney Opera House evacuation: A teenage boy charged

Written by News, Student Life

Last week on Thursday (14/01/16), police sectioned off the Sydney Opera House to investigate the claims of a suspicious object.  One of ferry services to Manly Wharf was terminated around early noon. This eerily emptied out the usually busy location in the heart of Sydney CBD.


On the 19th January, a-17-year-old boy was arrested over threats made on social media resulting in the entire evacuation and police investigation. The hearing will be held next month 23rd February at Children’s Court with an allegedly false representation.

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13+ Crazy Facts About Australia

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

You have lived in Australia for quite a long time. But how much do you actually know about Australia? Would you be surprised when I reveal these crazy facts about Australia?

  1. Canberra is the capital city of Australia not Melbourne or Sydney.

2. Manmungkukupurangkuntjunya is the name of a Hill in Australia

3. In Australia, from 1828 to 1902, you could have been jailed for swimming in daylight hours

4. The Sydney Opera House’s architectural design was chosen from among 233 submissions sent in from all over the world



5. The longest fence in Australia stretches from Queensland to South Australia, and was built to protect sheep from dingoes and crocodiles

Khanh Tran

Khanh Tran

6. Melbourne could have been called Batmania after its founder, John Batman


Youngtae Kim

7. Camels in Saudi Arabia are exported from Australia

8. You might spend more than 27 years visiting all the beaches in Australia

9. Australia is the home to 20% of poker machines in the world

10. 50% of those poker machines are founded in New South Wales

11. The last person known to be killed by a spider bite in Australia was 1979. Antivenoms were made available in 1981


Youngtae Kim

12. Coffee shops are everywhere in Perth

13. The cleanest air in the world: Tasmania

14. “Never never river” is a name of a river in Australia

15. There are more than 20 million people in Australia but more than 150 million sheep

16. “Nowhere Else” is located near Devonporth in North Western Tasmania

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360,000 AUD Fake Airline Ticket Suspect Arrested

Written by News, Student Life

Vi Tran, a 24 year-old-woman, was arrested by the police at her apartment in Petersham at 2pm on Wednesday 13th Jan 2013. The lady sold more than 360,000 AUD worth of fake airline tickets to international students across Sydney and Melbourne.

In the first week of New Year 2016, more than 300 international students from Vietnam were frustrated with a fraud ticket case. The tickets were on sale and sold online via Vietnamese Dynamic Society’s Facebook group from one of its female members, alias Vi Tran.

A discounted ticket advertisement was posted on the page and got a lot of attention from students. Under a tight budget, many were traveling back to Vietnam from Melbourne and Sydney to visit their family during the Lunar New Year holiday. Some of the students recommended her to their friends, who also bought the greatly discounted tickets from Vietnam Airlines which were up to 300 to 400 AUD cheaper than the original ticket.

Once the students made the bank payment, online tickets had been sent to them with a code. However, some students were unable to catch the flight when arriving the airport because of an invalid code.
IMG_2046The frustration and fear from the students started to get attention from not only other Vietnamese students studying and living in Australia, but also parents and relatives in Vietnam.

“I have to ask parents for financial assistance to buy another flight ticket flying back Vietnam this summer break since I bought the ticket from her.” – one of the victims
“I hope that I and other students could get back our money, ’cause the saving was from my hard-work.”

NSW Police Force, Vietnamese Society and the General Consular had worked together to investigate the case. Finally, Vi Tran was granted conditional bail and the hearing will be held on the3rd February 2016 at the Local Court.
It is believed that the alleged fraud might be worth more than 500,000 AUD, but the current evidence reported only 360,000 AUD. Police are still looking for more evidence on the case.  If you are one of the victims or have any further information, please report and contact the Police to assist the investigation.

  1. Contact Sydney City Detectives on (02)92656499
  2. or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
  3. or Crime Stoppers online reporting page https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

All the information you provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and translators from all different languages are provided.
Police advise to not report crimes via social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.

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Study in Australia: Hellen Indrawan Jie

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Your Story

Hellen is active and sociable Indonesian girl who has graduated from UTS with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, majoring in Journalism. She experienced her high school life in Singapore but decided to move to Australia for a university. In 2012, after Hellen finished high school, she moved to Australia for new experiences.

Being asked about her passion for Journalism, Hellen said she was inspired by her role model: Anderson Cooper. Talking about it, she told me that one time, she read a book written by him, where he documented his experience in war zones: “I got inspired, so I thought I would give it a go,” Hellen said.


Journalism, according to Hellen, “was assignments-focused” so she did not really have to study regularly. Anyone who is interested in studying Journalism, especially in UTS, can take a look at Hellen’s shared information:

  • “UTS Journalism was interesting because they wanted me to have practical experiences.”
  • We were not taught to write properly but we were motivated to go out there and talk to people, find issues and write them”.
  • “I have heard from friends doing journalism in other universities, and they didn’t have much of this journalism experience outside.”
  • “UTS really motivated us to get our stories published, like building a portfolio. So your assignments became your portfolio!”

Hellen was interested in gaining practical experiences in the industry, so she focused more on internships and volunteering work. Most of her volunteer experiences were in the arts and event industries and she started doing them during her time at university.


Once, Hellen volunteered for a Korean Film Festival as an usher. The program ran only for a month, but she was able to gain insight into event management. Her purpose was: “I would like to work as a journalist and communication skills are important.” And what she learned was precious: people skills and how to communicate efficiently.

Currently, Hellen is volunteering for an Indonesian tabloid, managing their social media, and is also a radio broadcaster for an Indonesian community radio.

What was your best experience at university?

“Joining the Indonesian students society!”, Hellen said. From there, she got to meet people from her country and undoubtedly, everyone would be very passionate to share the culture to UTS community.

So, if she had a chance to go back to university time, you might see a more active Hellen joining different clubs to meet different people and, of course, a more hard-working student.

What are the differences between study in Australia and Singapore?

“I became a lot more critical!” Hellen expressed. Since Singapore is similar to other Asian countries, all Hellen did was memorization. Whereas in Australia, in a Western-style classroom, she became a lot more critical and bravely shared her opinion: “When I have my own opinion, I would say it out loud,” Hellen said.


Sometimes, everyone cannot avoid their hard times. At one point, Hellen felt like giving up on the major and swapping to something else. But, she kept reminding herself that at journalism was something she “has always wanted to do”. She held her head up and achieved her goal.

What are your new goals?

After graduated from UTS, Hellen has been looking for a full-time job and she hopes to be in the industry soon.

“I am very diligent looking for jobs and applying to all sorts of available ones.”

Interested in learning about consumer behavior, Hellen is thinking about taking a Master degree in Marketing. Hellen also revealed that she is taking social media courses related to media at the moment.


What would you say to inspire international students to get better in the future?

“Just take chances whenever you could.” – said Hellen

If you could give an advice for international students, what would it be?

“Learn and gain as much experience as possible while you are here in Australia. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an internship and volunteer works or even jobs in retail.”

“Don’t give up.”

– Hellen Indrawan Jie

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Hundreds of International Students Got Air Ticket Scammed

Written by Editor’s Picks, News, Student Life

Nearly 300 international students from Vietnam in Melbourne and Sydney are the victims of an air ticket scam, costing them more than 400 000 AUD in total.
How does the scam work?
“Vi Tran”, the alias of the air ticket seller, used the VDS group on Facebook to start her business. VDS is a well-known communication platform for Vietnamese international students who are studying  in Melbourne and Sydney. Information about study, work or lifestyle tips is exchanged and, similar to Gumtree, furniture and general services can be sold.
“Before I bought online tickets, I checked her Facebook page [and there were] a lot of positive comments about the service. That’s why it caught my trust, so I bought it,” posted a student in the VDS forum.
The account under MY TRUC LE name

The account under MY TRUC LE name

To pay for the online air ticket, direct debit must be transferred into Vi Tran’s Commonwealth bank account. A ticket was to be automatically sent to their account with the customer’s name, date and time and, importantly, a code.
Why did it become a scam?
Around 300 students had purchased an online ticket from Vi Tran. But, when the students checked their ticket code with the airline to print out the paper ticket, most of the codes are invalid. When they tried to contact her, they were unable to make a phone call or Facebook message. The number is constantly out of service or in busy mode and the Facebook account was deactivated a few days ago. Some angry and devastated students even went to the address that Vi Tran had provided over their personal message chat. However, it was a fake address.
Comments have flooded the VDS page, and the police have continuously received several inquiries about the case.
From ThanhNien

From ThanhNien

“I am a victim.”
“Sorry parents, I can’t visit you guys this year”
one of the students’ Facebook statuses
“I had studied and worked very hard to save up my money for the year flight ticket, so I could visit my parents on the coming Lunar New Year. I transferred nearly 22 million Vietnamese Dongs (around nearly 1,300 AUD)  to Vi Tran for my air-ticket. But I got a fake ticket and code for my flight. Now, when I check the ticket on Vietnam airlines, which will cost me another 27 million Vietnamese Dong (1,800 AUD)….. Maybe I won’t be able to see my family this year. ” – from one of Vietnamese students studying in Sydney.
One student from Melbourne paid 8,000 AUD for her family members of 5 people to travel back Vietnam this Lunar New Year to celebrate her wedding. Now, the lady is behind in her wedding plan, and extra costs have been added onto her budget, a surge-charge from the hotel and wedding venue.
NSW Police, Vietnam Airlines’s representative, General Consular of Vietnam in Australia and the Vietnamese Student Associations in Melbourne and Sydney are cooperatively working together to investigate the case.
From VDS

From VDS

How to report the case:
Visit Townhall Police Station to report and fill the form
or contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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