March, 2016 Archive

My International Students BBQ Story

Written by Student Life

Vois Magazine would love to say thanks for all who coming down to the free BBQ at Centennial Park on 20th March from MASSA from USYD (Malaysian and Singaporean Students’ Association), VDS from UTS (Vietnamese Dynamic Students) as well as PPIA (or Indonesian Student Association [ISA]) and VCE (Vietnamese Cultural Ensemble) from UNSW .

The International Students Welcome BBQ aims to connect fresher and former international students studying and living in Australia. Before starting a whole new semester, it was a chance for old friends to meet up and new friendships to be built between people from different and vibrant backgrounds.


As people arrived at the event, VOIS Magazine coordinators gave each of them a name tag and a lucky ticket of their choice for the lucky draw for 2 free movie tickets. It was a good way fro the new comers to introduce themselves to VOIS and each other.

“It was great to meet the new Malaysian juniors. I think it is great that these students are able to meet us since MASSA is like a home away from home to some of these students. I had loads of fun.” – Lavanya Chandran (Vice-President of MASSA)

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We met new friends, and created strong bonds through the games we played. There were many outdoor activities in which we could interact and make friends in a minute. Believe or not, when you were moving around in a circle and randomly making groups of 4 or 5 people according to our main guide, you will know their basic information such as name and nationality,

“Good interaction through several activities.” – Quynh Anh Le (VCE)

“I had a very enjoyable day and communicated to many new friends. It was a great chance for me to open my network, learn more about different cultures and…have some beautiful photos!” – Kyle Nguyen (President of VDS UTS)

Friends renuion

Friends renuion

Despite the strange weather of Sydney on that day, nothing could stop us from BBQ!!! “SAVE THE CHICKENS!!!!” The rains just came and went, sticking everyone together under an umbrella! Conversations started and people were not aware of the rain too much.

We hope you all enjoy the food and the time we spent together. More games and prizes will be revealed in the following events, so do not think that was all the games we got!

IMG_2900 IMG_2909Oh and do you still remember who were the two winners of lucky tickets?

Looking forward to see you all at the next event (look up VOIS Magazine’s Persona Project) or you are welcome to join us at our next BBQ. We’ll be excited to see you!!

11215717_925273600893006_4737105399172445686_n 12096511_906237046129995_1017077886054897575_nFollow our Facebook page and feel free to tag yourself and your friends!

VOIS photography by © Raul Ortiz de Lejarazu Machin, AgungMustafa and Thi Tran.

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5 Study Hacks after the Easter Break

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Guess what? It’s week 5 of university. Mid-sem break is on the horizon for the most of us. But assignments are looming as well. Soon enough the burdensome work won’t be on our shoulders, but crash land on our head.

As humans, we cannot help but do exactly the opposite of what’s good for us. And that includes finishing work on time to reduce stress and anxiety. No matter how bad our study habits get, we never learn our lesson and end up pulling that all-nighter either way. And many of us do not realize the small things we do to ruin our study time or things we could do to improve it.

So here are various tips that tackle the the root of this issue.

1)Mental Preparation

This tip may seem to some, a bit of an over exaggeration, but keep in mind that this tip is for people who struggle with procrastination. This is how it works: As soon as you wake up, read through what you have allocated yourself to do. This can be during breakfast, train rides, before getting out of bed, or any time before starting the day. It can be a notification for an assessment, a to-do list, something marked on your calendar or questions to answer. Then throughout the day, keep giving yourself mental reminders about your tasks, set alarms on your phone, literally anything that will force you to remember it.

Say it out loud to yourself if you have to (well…not in public because that might be somewhat embarrassing). When you finally get home and actually sit down to complete your work, the reminders you gave yourself all day will help you stay focused, motivated and potentially more organised.

Now when you get home and settle down to get your work done, distractions would be the last thing you’d want to deal with. That takes us to topic number 2:

2)Dealing with distractions

Distractions are horrible. Let’s take your phone as an example. The electronic box of miracles that has Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook and Youtube.Its almost inevitable that you check it. So when you work you need to keep them out of sight, right? Not quite.


Some people need to completely cut out distractions, but it works differently for others. An opposite effect is created where their curiosity bites at them, urging them to look back at their phones. This is how it works: Every 20-25 minutes of solid work, give yourself a break to scroll through your phone for a few minutes. After all, when we get short term rewards, even if its 5 minutes of time with our phone, we’ll work rather than have long term rewards.

Along with this, there is a more definite technique to follow which is discussed in our next point:

3)The Pomodoro technique

Pomodoro means tomato is Italian. Also, if you use a tomato timer, it has a magical effect.

Pomodoro means tomato is Italian. Also, if you use a tomato timer, it has a magical effect.

The Pomodoro technique is a time management technique which requires the breakdown of time into intervals of 25 minutes with 5 – 10 minute breaks in between. This technique is effective as it gives you a good amount of time to focus on your work and a short break to rejuvenate you! But if you get too distracted by your phone, Youtube videos, music videos or anything that involves the excessive movement of pixels on your screen, you and electronics probably don’t go too well together (especially on short breaks). Try getting up to stretch, walk around or grab a snack from the fridge.

4)Best place to study: Home or Library?

This has been a universal debate for a while now. Which place is the best to study? Home or Library? (That rhymed)

The answer is that it depends on you as a person. First, lets look at both the environments and make sure we know exactly what they both hold.

A home environment means you have pretty much everything readily available. To name a few, you have unlimited coffee, food, pajamas and a bed for napping. On the other hand, i the library, its a little less confortable. The environment is more disciplined as you are there for one reason and one reason only: to study.

Some people work best at home because they find it mentally and physically comforting to work in the comfort of their own home. As for the other majority of people, they find it hard to concentrate. This is because the comfort of their house is in fact, a distraction. For eg, when we sit on bed to work but it just turns into a progression of sitting up, to laying down and eventually falling asleep.

Some people love working in the library. To those people, good job! Other people prefer to work at home where there’s coffee readily available, food in the fridge, pajamas and a bed for quick naps. Honestly, you cannot work in an environment that provides excessive comfort. First off, with the food you have, you’re at a risk of overeating while studying if you tend to comfort eat. As for your bed, you’ll just be tempted to sit there and work, because “comfort” means a progression from sitting up to laying down to instantly falling asleep.

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5)Group work

So it’s a Saturday afternoon and you want to work with a friend. So you call a friend. Let’s name him Bob. Bob is great! You both get along real well. He’s funny, he’s goofy, he sets the positive vibe, you two get along like Lee and Carter.

RUSH HOUR, Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, 1998, (c)New Line Cinema/courtesy Everett Collection

That was a great movie though

The day finishes before you know it. You both say your goodbyes and leave. Later on when you look at your books, an impending feeling of doom stirs in your gut. You finished no work.

What does this story tell us? No. Not that you shouldn’t work with friends at all. It just means you need to work with someone who motivates you to work too. I mean Bob was great, but he was also distracting. If you know you won’t be studying with your partner-in-studying, then you might want to reconsider. This doesn’t mean you need to break it off with your friend! It just means you need to prioritize work over them sometimes.


These tips aren’t genies hidden in lamps, they don’t magically make your dreams come true! Life isn’t a Disney movie. If these tips don’t work, do what works for you! If it’s your thing, then it’s your thing. The only person who can make you work, is you! Don’t let anything stop you from working hard! Dominate and conquer like you must!

I know that it’s easier said than done. But trust me, there will always be times when you feel like a cat that can’t catch the red dot.



But stay strong and trust yourself with this, you can do it!

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Reasons for going to the Royal Easter Show 2016

Written by Entertainment

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday? Four days in a row? That’s a very long weekend! The long weekend is the Easter break (the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus and his promise of eternal life). Apart from the excitement of eating chocolate eggs and decorating eggs, there one more thing you can look forward to – the Royal Easter show.

It was first held in 1823 and is one of the biggest annual events held in Australia. It is an event with various programs that are fun for the whole family and it celebrates Australian culture. The RAS (Royal Agricultural Society of NSW) invests around $7 million AUD each year to design and create activities for the show that promote the strengthening of communities. It’s a great way to enjoy your Easter break!


But before drowning ourselves in this fun and exciting event, it’s a good idea to step back and make sure we know what to be aware of if we decide to attend this event of beauty and aesthetics.

Transportation Information

To the Easter show!

To the Easter show!

  • Time and venue- The royal Easter show is held in 1 Showground Rd, Sydney Olympic Park NSW 2127 from Thursday, 17 March to Wednesday, 30 March, 2016.
  • Accommodation- The show takes place in Sydney Showground which is within Sydney Olympic park. Trains and buses are provided for accommodation and there are many extra services in order to ensure fast transport. For everything you need to know about getting to and from the Show, visit or call 131 500.
  • Parking for individual transport- Since attendance for the show is in high demand, it’s most likely that the capacity for parking would reach its limit, especially during weekends. It is recommended you pre-book your parking ticket online at (please note that pre-book parking is available until 23:59 the night before your visit). The cost for single entry parking is $25, regardless of how long you decide to stay.


giphy (7)Coca Cola Carnival

This carnival is filled with thrilling, adrenaline inducing experiences for the adventurous ones! Some of the rides include:

  • 9D cinema
  • Alien Abduction
  • Cliff Hanger
  • Dodgem cars,
  • Extreme
  • Haunted hotel
  • Mayhem Manor

And many more!


Snacks and meals

A great day is never complete without its share of happiness inducing food! There are many places in the venue that can cater to your taste buds! To name a few, they have World Bazaar, Beyond India, De Costi Oyster & Tyrrell’s Wine Bar, Yalla Yalla!, Canadian club bar, Arena View Bistro and bar and Charleys restaurant.

Food equates happiness

Food equates happiness

Some of the snacks include Nutella shot donuts, strawberry jam and scone flavored gelato, cheese burger pie and red velvet deep fried Oreo. Just hearing them makes you want to rush there to give it a try.

Animal shows

Who doesn’t love animals? This part of the venue is just a little something to give you your daily dose of cute. There are many animal competitions held. Some of them are dogs, cats, puppies, bunnies and even alpaca competitions!


If you wish to pet and cuddle these adorable creatures then come along to the farmyard nursery, where all the animals within the 800 yard area can be petted. The sheep and fleece pavilion allow you to play with sheep and adorable little lambs as well.522404_660349050642738_1765279044_n

There is much more than whats mentioned above to the Easter show. There is endless entertainment, a place filled with fun and laughter and an overall great experience. Be sure to attend the Easter show and celebrate with everyone as one harmonious community!

May your Easter be filled with lots and lots of chocolates, fun and fabulous moments. Enjoy your break!

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Brussel Bombing – World Calls For Unity Against Terrorism

Written by News

Australia is one of many countries that have expressed sorrow and solidarity with Belgium after the deadly attack in Brussels on 22 March 2016.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel used such sad words to express that “tragedy” or “black day” and this is one of the “deadliest attacks we have ever seen in Belgium”.

The blast at the airport and a subway station in Brussels took place little more than an hour apart, killing at least 30 people and leaving over 200 wounded.

People pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks (Getty Images)

People pay tribute to the victims of the Brussels attacks (Getty Images)

According to The New York Times, the first one tore through the check-in area at Brussels Airport just before 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Another followed, seconds later, near a Starbucks.



The second blast was examined to be stronger than the first by Ms. Corbo, a witness.

“I felt myself pushed forward as if by a force of air,” she said in a phone interview with The New York Times. “People dove to the ground. Parts of the ceiling fell in. There were some injured people lying on the ground. I saw a foot that had been blown off.”

Another witness, Mr. O’Connor, the European Commission official, described hearing “two deeply rumbling crashes” as he approached the terminal from the parking lot.


Brussels airport attack and Brussels Metro bombs

Brussels airport attack and Brussels Metro bombs (Photo: Jef Versele via Yahoo News)

In the chaos, there were acts of humanity. Even amid people’s shock, they still sought to alert or protect others.

“A lady was crying and yelling at me in French,” said Murat Ueranuez, who was in the restaurant of the Sheraton Hotel across from the airport terminal. He was preparing for a conference of fraud examiners when the blasts occurred. “She was panicked. I said, ‘I am sorry, I don’t speak French.’ She switched to English and, speaking with a heavy accent, said: ‘Don’t go out, don’t go out there. There are explosions.’ She was still crying and yelling and was obviously in shock.”

People gathered at Bourse Square, Brussels praying for the victims. (Photo: AAP)

People gathered at Bourse Square, Brussels praying for the victims. (Photo: AAP)



Is Belgium a target? 

Belgium, the heart of Europe, seemed hardly the epicenter of violent extremism. However, the seeming difficulty of integrating the Muslim community and overloaded security personnel are two of the various vulnerabilities that make this small country a hot spot.


According to Jason Burke, a commentator on the Guardian, Belgium is one country who has seen the spread of terror ideology through social networks. He believes that although the exposure does not directly incite violence, it creates a dark presence, insensitive and conservative.

Loophole in airport security work 

Should Brussels have seen the terror attack coming? Bombings in Brussels have revealed the weakest point in all airports of Belgium and many other countries – the port area before security check. It is an open area that is the busiest as people line up and wait for tickets or even coffee. Anyone can enter this area without a boarding pass.

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP


According to commentator Kris Van Cleave of CBS News, the attacks proves that Zaventem airport security is not secure enough. A large hole has been created that could be, and has been, taken advantage of and attacked.

PHOTO: CCTV images of three men believed to be suspects in the Brussels attacks. (Twitter: Belgium Police)

PHOTO: CCTV images of three men believed to be suspects in the Brussels attacks. (Twitter: Belgium Police)

However, after this recent attack, Brussels has been placed on high alert for terrorist threats and passengers are being monitored much more closely.

World’s leaders called for unity against terrorism

“The whole of Europe has been hit,” said French President Francois Hollande, whose country is still reeling from November’s terror attacks in Paris.

British Prime Minister David Cameron warned of the “very real” terrorist threat faced by countries across Europe, declaring: “We will never left these terrorists win.” Mr Cameron’s spokeswoman said specialist police officers were being sent to Brussels to help with the investigation, as the Foreign Office warned against travel to Belgium’s capital.

US President Barack Obama said the US-led coalition will continue hitting Islamic State militants. “This is yet another reminder that the world must unite. We must be together regardless of nationality or race or faith in fighting against the scourge of terrorism,” he said.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “All Australians condemn these cowardly terrorist attacks in Brussels”.

What happens now, Australia?

According to ABC News, Mr Turnbull said there was no news of Australians being killed or injured yet, but anyone who has concerns for family or friends in Belgium should contact them directly, or the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He also said the threat level in Australia would not change. The police and ASIO have stated security at airports was appropriate.

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Food for Thought: A Simple Butter Chicken

Written by Health, Student Life

Assorted powder spices in wooden spoons on wood.

Assorted powder spices in wooden spoons on wood.

This summer vacation when I went back to my home country, India, a great friend of mine asked me to bring a full-on Punjabi Butter Chicken Recipe. I was quite amazed at the fact that all he wanted is this recipe. So, I went to an aunt of mine to get the best recipe. Thanks to him and my aunt, I am sharing this recipe with all of you.


  • Gingerginger-garlic
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (or kasoori methi)
  • Salt to taste
  • Red Chilli powder
  • Butter Chicken Masala (Available at Indian Grocery store)
  • Cream
  • Oil
  • Coriander leaves
  • and, of course, Chicken!!!!

All the ingredients are to be added as per taste and quantity of chicken to be cooked. If you can’t eat very spicy foods then a pinch or two is enough of red chilli powder as there will be additional spices such as the butter chicken masala. In my entire life I have never used a kitchen scale or measure to determine the quantity required.


We require a pan, a ladle, few bowls, knife, chopping board and spoons for cooking.

  1. Chop ginger, garlic and onion into small pieces
  2. Heat oil in the pan
  3. Add chopped vegetables from step 1 to the heated pan
  4. Add dried fenugreek leaves, salt, red pepper and butter chicken Masala.
  5. Stir until mixture turns reddish brown
  6. Now wash and add the chicken. Roast until golden
  7. Before eating, pour cream over chicken and heat it again

Your butter chicken is ready to eat. Top-it off with coriander leaves.

Special Ingredient: Love. Always remember to cook with the heart to get an amazing dish. In the words of Dylan Jones “Recipes don’t work unless you use your heart!”

 Please feel free to leave your comments or if you think I missed something I will be more than happy to hear your views and advice.

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Connecting with Parents when studying overseas

Written by Student Life

When you first arrive to a new country, you tend to feel homesick. In the first few months you might call your parents every single day. Or you might be the type to forget to pick up a call from your parents, being so excited to be away from them for the first time in your life. But then you starts to call them more as you will miss them at some point.

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Once you get busy with your assignments, part-time jobs and voluntary activities, you might call parents less and less. So parents sometimes complain: “Why don’t you call me anymore?” Or they might become every worried. So here are a few tips and tricks to not only reassure them that you are alright but also to express your love and care to them.

1.Setting up a date schedule with your parents:

Time differences make it so hard for you to connect with parents. When you are about to sleep, parents start having their dinner or when you are free parents are busy working.


“Normally, I call them every fortnight around dinner time, and mom shares with me all of her amazing food.” Make a specific time and date with your parents might lessen the hassle for both sides. Or use mobile phone apps for a quick and easy way to  connect. “I do viber with my parents everyday before heading to bed.”

2.Seeking for a new topic to talk about:

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Whenever picking up the phone, a common topic between you and mom would be about food and study; “What did you have for dinner tonight?”, “What did you cook?”, “How’s your study so far” and then a moment of quietness might come in when all the questions have been answered.

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So the conversation might getting bored. Why don’t you open up and tell them about different things such as your first voluntary work in university societies, your cute or hot lecturer or even one of the events that you attend in Sydney, such as Film it and Show it, Moonlight outdoor cinema or Vivid Sydney (these might be once in a lifetime event). These small little things simply makes parents feel more secure as you are safe and sound as well as enjoying your life.

3.Use multiple online communication applications

The advanced technology era introduces a number of free communication applications to maintain our long distance relationship with our friends, partners and importantly with our parents/our beloved family. These days, you might find comment notifications on twitter, facebook or wechat from your parents.

“I snapchat to my mom everyday and it’s quite funny when exchanging our icon.”

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All you need is your phone and free wifi (from the university or from any free public wifi spot) to connect with them. Showing them the street that you are walking by or the food that you are cooking. These helps you to shorten the distance with parents.

4.Getting good phone or mobile deals:

My mom always said: “Don’t call me by phone, just text or call me through skype/ viber, it’s cheaper” –  “Don’t worry mom I have around 500 dollars credit for calling,” I replied.giphy (3)

In Australia, there are so many mobile providers with good deals for consumers, especially for students. Mobile plans with provided data on 3G or 4G and unlimited international/national call paid monthly around 30 or 50 dollars lessen your financial stress. You don’t have to watch out the time while speaking with your parents on the phone. “It costs only 7 cent per minute to call my parents.”

5.Sending postcards, handwritten letters or card:

Going back to the older style when our ancestors didn’t have access to the internet or social media – using birds to send letters, notifications or news to others. Well, you don’t have to train your bird now that the post office exists, internationally and nationally. Although, posting is quite expensive in Australia compared to other countries, for only 2 or 3 dollars stamps, you can send a small card to parents internationally.

“Instead of calling parents to give my wish on their wedding celebration, I and my sister did a homemade card and posted it to them.”

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“My dad said when mom received a card on mother’s day, she shed her tears.”  So sometimes, written words can speak for themselves.

6.Don’t forget to tell them “I LOVE YOU”:

Regardless of your nationality, your family’s wealth or your parents’ social status, as international students, we all understand that our parents have to work hard and tighten their budget or trade of their dream to financially support each individual dream to be here in studying in Australia. Saying “I LOVE YOU” not only displays our appreciation but also shows them your love, care and maturity.



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5 Common Contagious Diseases Students Face Everyday

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

The synchronization of human emotions is the cause of “disease” is spreading rapidly in the community. Do not be too scared! The “contagious disease” here actually is just the behavior and emotional expression that we imitate each other unconsciously. Believe it or not? Check out the following article for your answer.

  1. Yawn

To operate effectively, especially when tired, we usually breathe deeply to pump air to the brain and “cool” it.

However, try to notice the view. Sometimes when you see someone is yawning, you yawn naturally too. Why is there such a phenomenon?

According to some studies, people imitating the yawns of others are empathetic or have the ability to emotionally connect with other people.

To demonstrate this relationship, a psychologist at the University of Leeds (UK) implemented an experiment with psychology students and students from other majors. They were then individually seated in an observation lounge and observed a yawning participant several times for several minutes.

The results? The psychology students yawned three times more in response than the other students. As psychology is a practice that requires a great amount of human observation, it suggests that people who are more inclined to be empathetic will respond the same way.

Experts said that this mirroring action dates back to evolution. Ancient humans lived in a closely-bound herd, so empathy in the community is very high. Moreover, because yawning is a way to “reboot” the brain, it is necessary to increase the vigilance of the collective group.

However, contagious yawning may not cause a physically harmful problem, as been said by Michael Decker, Associate Professor of Nursing: “The yawning becomes more of a social phenomenon than a physiological phenomenon.”

  1. Itchiness

Similar to yawning, itching is also contagious. Feeling “itchy” is not only simply based on whether looking at someone is scratching, but also by the perceived level of your emotions.

A study was conducted at the University in the city of Hull (UK) with 51 adults. After personality tests, they are asked to watch a video of people scratching, and then made a report if they feel like scratching or not and to what extent they experienced it.

The result is about 64% of participants had at least scratched once when viewing images of others scratching. According to the results of magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, to see someone scratching will activate the same brain areas when we scratch ourselves.

And the results of the personality tests showed that the type who are emotive or can easily get through negative feelings tend to feel itchy and scratch more than the other test participants.

  1. Laughter

Laughter is one of the most fundamental reactions of the human body. We laugh when we feel happy and comfortable. Moreover, laughing also very beneficial to health, while helping the body secrete substances such as neural peptides, dopamine or serotonin (the hormone that works to reduce stress, relax the body, reduce blood pressure and so on).

But the most amazing point of this action is the spread. It is because people often tend to follow what the crowd are doing, a phenomenon known as “herd mentality.”

Digging a little deeper, when they see other people laugh, our cortex is activated, which secrete chemicals like serotonin and dopamine making the body become more relaxed.

And when we get more comfortable, there is no better reward than laughter.

  1. Shudder

Even to feel the cold can also spread and affect one another. According to researchers at the University of Sussex, just observing someone shivering and shuddering is enough to feel cold. This phenomenon is called ‘temperature spread’.

They have done an experiment with 36 participants. These people are watched footage reels of actors with their hand in warm water or cold water. Meanwhile, the researchers will measure the temperature of the hands of the participants.

Results showed that although the body temperature does not change, the temperature of the participants hands became significantly colder when watching the videos with the cold-water actors.

This suggests that physiological changes occur unconsciously as a way for us to empathize with others and to better understand their feelings.

Psychiatrist Dr Neil Harrison: “Humans are creatures with profound social and human success comes from the ability to work together. In particular, the similarities reactions physiology can facilitate emotional connection, the ability to work to help become more efficient.”

  1. Stress

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute – Technical University of Dresden (Germany) led to the conclusion that, by just watching thrilling situations, in real life or on screen, is enough to do a slight stress.

They performed experiments on nearly 400 people, the group divided in pairs. One person of the pair will do a set math or undergo a mock job interview while the rest observed.

Results showed that 95% of the subjects experienced stress hormones. However, a 30% increase was found in the observing group as well. Stress levels also varied with the partners of the participants. 40% of the observers felt very nervous when watching their significant other tolerate stress, compared to the 10% increase if strangers were observing.

These results are actually not too surprising. For example, when there is someone restless, pacing back and forth, we will become stressed and anxious ourselves.


Source: WashingtonPost, HuffingtonPost, FoxNews


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Should You Get a Pet?

Written by Student Life

When you’re feeling homesick, your pet would probably be on top of the list of things you miss from your home country. Although there are numerous dog parks and cat cafes in Sydney, sometimes they’re just  not sufficient – the privilege of walking your own dog, playing with your cat or having a special family member to welcome you home is irreplaceable.

However, as an international student, can we really afford to have a pet? Beyond budget issues, what is really at stake? How can we adopt a pet under Australian regulations, and in ethical ways?

Here are some explanations that might help pet owners make their decisions.

Where should we look for pets?



Founder and Coordinator of Education and Advocacy at animal welfare charity organisation Maggie’s Rescue, Lisa Wright advises to get a pet from a good, reputable breeder or a rescue organization – and be cautious when buying pets from a pet shop. “If we want to be responsible in our pet ownership, we have to know where the parents of your puppy/kitten came from,” says Ms Wright. “Make sure to check with associations like Dogs NSW for reputable breeders.”

Rescue organizations could also be a better alternative, especially for students on a budget. While animals from pet shop often cost twice as much (or even more) they often come without having been vaccinated, micro-chipped and desexed.



Ms Wright says. “A good reputable rescue would in fact – I don’t know many that don’t – cover the cost of vaccinations, micro-chipping and the desexing as well.” 

Unlike the pet shop system where you are free to take your pet home through purchasing, rescue organizations will require aspiring pet owners to demonstrate their commitment through an eligibility test to ensure that the household fully accommodates the well-being of the pets. “We have questionnaire where we ask people to put in an enquiry form, and we ask questions about who will be exercising the pet, and if everybody on the house is on board with it as well,” says Ms Wright.  “We can’t guarantee that animal is going to be in that property with the same set of circumstances, but what we can see is long term commitment to that animal.”



Is your accommodation pet-friendly yet?

Nicholas, an international student and a proud owner of a Scottish Fold cat named Maome since 2014, revealed that even the first stages of having a pet is quite difficult if one is unprepared. “I got my cat when I was in college,” Nicholas says. “I faced problems with my college as most colleges does not allow to have a pet indoor.”

When moving out of the college, Nicholas found that it wasn’t  easier out there to find  pet-friendly rental accommodation. “It was really tough… a lot of rented house, especially apartments [landlords and managers], they believed that having a pet would affect living conditions of other residents.”

As a rule of thumb, it is recommended to inquire the landlords or the building managers about the eligibility of bringing pets into the house or apartment. For more information about having pets in your property, check these guides about animal laws in NSW and keeping pets in strata building.



What does the pet need (and can you afford it)?

As mentioned above, if the pet comes from pet shop, owners should visit a vet to have it microchipped, desexed and vaccinated. “As pets grow up, more vaccinations would be needed,” says Ms Wright. “When [the animals] are younger, the antibodies that they have go out of the system more quickly, so that’s why we do the extra vaccination to keep their immunity up,” she says.“Most vets now recommend 1-3 yearly vaccinations once the animal’s fully vaccinated.”

A number of products to facilitate the pets are also required. Ms Wright mentions good quality litter boxes, collar and tag, dry and wet food, chewing toys for dogs and scratch towers for cats. Along with Maome, Nicholas also had to buy a set of products from the pet shop, including food, flea medicine and designated toiletries, and a visit to the vet for vaccination should immediately follow.



For an average monthly cost (including food and equipment), Ms Wright estimates that it would be around $60-80 per animal – but she advises that this would vary according to the pet’s preference and activity. “It really comes down to what your budget is, and you can actually be a really good pet owner without a huge amount of money.”

In comparison, Nicholas spends $150 a month for Maome’s needs – but he believes it is worth it.“A pet is like an adopted child … it is a part of your family.”

What do you do with your pet when you are traveling?

When Nicholas travels out of town or back to his hometown, he usually takes Maome to a pet hotel near Sydney Airport. Ms Wright supports this idea.“There are some cattery and boarding kennels around the inner City, around the airport, and there’s other places like pet resorts who will come and pick up your pet for boarding.”

If owners prefer to keep their pets at their own home, Ms Wright suggests hiring pet-sitters. “There are pet-sitting service that will come and stay in your house if you wanted, or where people just drop in and feed and exercise your pet.”




At the end of the day, should you get a pet?

After his study is finished, Nicholas plans to stay in town and continue living with Maome. “I should be staying in Sydney with him,” he says.“He has become more of a family than a pet to us… our lives revolved pretty much around him.”

The decision to settle could be the best case scenario for both the pet and the owner. However, when the duration of the stay here is not yet determined, and taking the pet back home still has significant cost, the decision to get a pet might have to be rethought and reconsidered.



“The thing to consider is that most cats these days live for nearly 20 years, most dogs can live for 12 up to 15 years, depending on the size of the dog,” says Ms Wright.”So if you’re here and you’re staying in Australia for a short period of time, you need to consider if you’re moving back after your study in Australia – what would happen to the pet then?”

“We have the second highest rate of euthanasia of companion pets in the world, after the United States, and 80 percent of the cats that go into pounds don’t leave, they get euthanized. So thinking that you might find a home for your pet when you’re going home isn’t as easy as you think.



Fostering, instead of adopting, might be a better idea for international students, Ms Wright suggests. “So the rescue organization would then put that pet in your home, until there was an adoption inquiry and then the animal goes to its permanent home, and then you have the opportunity to foster,” says Ms Wright.“In that way, you’d still have that companionship and that animal to come home to, but at the same time you don’t have the commitment.”

“Also, if you’re on a budget as a student, it’s really handy because some rescue groups can assist you with any vet and food fees for that animal.”

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Missing Piece likely to be from MH370 found in Mozambique

Written by News

Earlier, the US television channel NBC reported some debris found on the East African coast between Mozambique and Madagascar. There is speculation that it may be from the infamous Boeing 777 used by Malaysia Airlines on the 8th of March, two years ago. The aircraft had mysteriously disappeared while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 passengers and crew in total. .

Information on the second piece of debris found at Reunion Island came just days after a US surveyor detected some material 2.1 km away from Reunion Island in Mozambique waters. The 3 m long object was sent to Australia by the Malaysian Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, for analysis.

Malaysia Minister Of Transport – Liow Tiong Lai, on 2/3/2016 said there were pieces from a wreckage that was highly probable to be from a Boeing 777. The Boeing 777 was the aircraft that Malaysia Airlines had used during missing flight MH370.

Aircraft debris was found in Mozambique there is a high probability of a Boeing 777 of the flight MH370 (Photo: NBC News)

Photo: NBC News

On Twitter, Liow Tiong Lai says: “Based on initial reports, there is a high possibility the debris found in Mozambique belongs to Boeing Model 777”. However, he also stressed that some of the wreckage pieces found were still “untested and [confirmed].”

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Australia Darren Chester said the location where the materials were found had the same details and bearing number as the MH370 aircraft.

In a statement, the Minister Darren Chester said: “The location of the debris consistent with the hypothesis that the Australian Transport Safety Bureau launched and reaffirmed that Australia turn to search MH370 in the southern Indian coast Indian Ocean “.

(Photo: AFP - Australian Transport Safety Bureau/Blaine Gibson)

Photo: AFP – Australian Transport Safety Bureau/Blaine Gibson

The information above is given only a few days before the two year anniversary date of the missing MH370 aircraft. The investigators thought that the aircraft was on its way south before crashing into the Indian Ocean. However, so far the search teams have not yet been able to localize where the plane crashed and the cause of the accident has yet to be launched.

According to the original, in Momzambique fragments could be part of the stabilizer of the aircraft. If confirmed, this would be the second fragment is found from the plane bearing number MH370 Malaysia Airlines.

Source: AFP

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Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreak at Town Hall

Written by Health, News

An outbreak of the bacterial Legionnaires’ Disease has recently been detected at Town Hall. There have been four identified cases in the past two days, and all are currently receiving hospital treatment.

The number of cases is considered to be unusually high. Only one case a week or even per month is usually seen. The clusters indicate that the source must be in the main area. All four men had been working in the CBD when they had been exposed.

At present, cooling towers, air-conditioning units and water fountains are being checked for the bacterium Legionella.

The infection zone has been identified as Clarence, Pitt, Park and King Streets. However, individuals should remain wary of Market, Sussex, George and Druitt St as well.


What is it:

Legionnaires’ disease is a bacterial disease from the common bacteria Legionella. It is a common bacteria and is usually found in the environment.It infects the lung and has a 10% fatality rate. Infection is prevented by regular maintenance as air conditioning units, particularly in large buildings, are particularly liable to contamination as the bacteria multiply in water.

Symptoms include:

  • fevers
  • chills
  • coughing
  • short breath
  • upset stomach
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle aches or a headache
  • a loss of appetite

The symptoms take 2 – 7 days to be apparent. If anyone has visited the Town Hall area and is experiencing any of the above symptoms, please visit your local GP to be tested.

Transmissible by: 

The bacterium can be inhaled from contaminated water vapor or dust.


A7E127 Scanning electron micrograph of Legionella pneumophila bacteria which causes Legionnaire s disease rod bacteria

A7E127 Scanning electron micrograph of Legionella pneumonia bacteria which causes Legionnaire s disease rod bacteria


There have been no new cases of Legionnaires’ Disease at the moment. Samples have also been taken from suspected air conditioning cooling towers near the infection zone. The laboratory testings will be available in the next four days.


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