Student Life

My First Ever “Breaking Away” in Australia

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

It’s hard to define “home” when you don’t stay in one place for an entire year.

In my case, during the first half of the year, I lived in a homestay. During the winter break, I went back to my home country, Malaysia, to visit my family before coming back to Australia. Just recently, I moved out of homestay into a shared house with friends.


Living in different places brought out different aspects of my personality. While I was at the home stay, it seemed imperative for me always to show my best behaviour because it was like I was representing my own country. I would consistently wake up early, get myself ready for classes and get my laundry done on time. If I didn’t, I felt it would reflect poorly on my parents and how they have raised me. At the same time, it was the right kind of pressure, the kind that makes you a better person. I felt much more productive, and I certainly got a lot of things done, and I was also able to enjoy what Sydney had to offer in the spare time that I had.

Ice skating with the ladies

Ice skating with the ladies

But now that I’m living in a shared house, it feels like the pressure is gone. I don’t have to put myself on a pedestal and demand myself to be the best example of a Malaysian girl because I’m in a house full of Malaysian girls. There’s no reason to try to stand out because I belong. Of course, at times I do feel left out and awkward, but it happens to everyone. These kinds of awkward moments only last for a split second…then life resumes its course. I’m slowly learning to work through them because if I think about it, in the long run, this is where I can learn more about who I am and establish a closer connection to people from my culture.

Im Ready yo

It may not seem like much but living in a shared house tests my independence and maturity. I am even more in charge of my survival than before, especially when it comes to food. I now have to decide what to eat every day! That’s super stressful! If it were up to me, I’d just eat instant noodles, but I hear that’s not exactly healthy. Really, I have the utmost respect for mothers and fathers that always know what to cook for their families (y’all got it figured out). Also being in university, I am wholly in charge of my studies. There’s a lot of gap time in between classes and what I do in those hours could either really help me or hurt me. Of course, the first few weeks of uni I messed around and slept in my free time. But I’ve grown to realise the importance of setting a routine early on in the semester when it comes to studying. That is certainly something I will work on next semester.

The ladies from Brisbane, Melbourne, and Sydney


Being able to live in a shared house with different people has also allowed me to meet more people and more friends! It was something I was not able to do back in the homestay as I was living with one family. I recently met my housemates’ friends when we went on a trip to the Blue Mountains together. We hadn’t met before, but during that journey I found that I really connected with them and felt at ease. We have since become friends, and it’s helped me feel that I won’t go through life alone.

The Malaysian sensations from the recent Blue Mountains trip


My parents have told me stories from their university years about finding a close-knit group of friends, and I have always wanted to experience something similar. I wanted to find people I could seriously consider my brothers and sisters in this new city. By deciding to move to this shared house, I feel as though I have done just that.

It feels like home away from home.

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Time to break the taboo – World Mental Health Day

Written by News, Student Life

                                                              “Mental Health begins with me”


Mental illness is a real thing. It exists. Unfortunately, most people pretend like it doesn’t. A stigma has been created by society surrounding this topic. But what’s most bizarre is that society suffers such illnesses yet the non-acceptance of it comes from society itself. The world seemingly creates its own problems and taboos.


But why do taboos exist? Let’s break this down:

When someone has a mental illness, it means there is a problem in the brain or psychological system. With that being said, everyone assumes that if something is wrong with your brain, it means you are not in control of yourself and that is viewed as a lack of discipline or lack of control of self, which is ultimately viewed as a weakness.

Our brain is an organ, just as our heart or liver is one. If something is wrong with any other organ of your body, you get it treated. The same goes for your brain. Mental illness is an issue with your health, NOT a part of your identity. It is something that requires assistance and there is no shame in reaching out for help.

With that being said, World Mental Health Day is of 10th of October, which focuses on education of mental health, tackling the stigma around it. This day encourages people to take a step looking after their own mental health and well being which they deserve.

You can do this by making a promise to yourself that breaks down the steps in taking care of yourself. You can post this post this promise on the promise wall, social media or just to yourself.

Not the only oneThis promise is yours and yours alone, and you’re doing this for yourself and no one else. These are small goals you set for your general mental wellness all in the way, you can reach out for help or try to improve yourself. Its the small steps that matter when walking towards the bigger picture which is your life. So set those goals, have faith in yourself, help yourself, love yourself and give yourself all that you deserve.

Feature image credit: 

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Food does not lie: Malaysia Festival 2016

Written by Editor’s Picks, Entertainment, Student Life


Malaysians and various locals attended the annual Malaysia Festival at Tumbalong Park on September 4th this year. The Malaysia Festival is an annual cultural not-for-profit festival organized by Malaysian Student Committee of Sydney with the support of Ministry of Agriculture, Tourism Malaysia, and Education Malaysia. The organizing committee is made up of Malaysian students in universities all across Sydney and they affiliate with the Malaysian student associations in those universities. The Festival is a great way to connect with locals and educate them about the peninsula of Malaysia.


Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page

It was a sunny day, merging into the beginning of spring. The park was filled with people, particularly in the food stalls. The Festival was larger this year but just as popular. The various stalls formed a U around the main stage with scores of people lining up, especially at the juice stands.


The sugar cane thirst quencher

Some of the notable food stalls were Papparich and Mamak, both of which had never-ending visits by hungry Sydney-siders and Malaysians alike.

(Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

(Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

Some of the delicious food sold at the stalls at Malaysia Festival (Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

Besides food, there were some cultural stalls as well. The Ministry of Agriculture dedicated a booth for people to experience durian, the thorny and strong smelling fruit that’s become representative of Malaysia.

A cultural booth stood between food stalls. Inside, Malaysian student volunteers manned the booth with cultural games, cultural artefacts, traditional clothes, and traditional processions like a traditional Indian wedding.


Harimau and Monyet, the Festival’s mascots wandered around the venue, taking photos with kids and adults alike. The atmosphere was jovial and carefree, with laughter and conversations buzzing all around.

Harimau posing with Malaysian students on the eve of the Festival (Credit: Malaysia Festival Facebook page)

All the while, there were various performances up on stage. There were performances by famous Malaysian artists, instrumental performances, cultural performances, and contests. Young children from the MAAN Malay school performed dikir barat, which is a traditional musical form popular in the state of Kelantan. Malaysian students from Sydney universities also performed the bamboo dance, which is traditional in Sabah.


The MAAN Malay school performing a medley of famous dikir barat songs for the attentive crowd


Malaysian students performing the bamboo dance, a traditional dance from Sabah

The notable and much-awaited performer was by Amy Search, a famous Malaysian rockstar. But before the legend, an equally amazing artist took the stage: Cassidy Anderson (a.k.a. CassidyBoleh). She’s an Australian singer who makes Malay covers of various songs. She first rose to fame through her Malay rendition of Let It Go by Idina Menzel. Cassidy was super popular with the crowd, with young and older men gifting her flowers (and one even gave her satay, now that’s #goals).


The only way to profess your love is through food

Visitors didn’t some coming until the very end of the Festival. Every year, the reception has been positive and just as festive as the last year. MFest will be back next year, so don’t forget to check out their Facebook page or website to receive updates! Hope to see you next year to enjoy the delicacies that Malaysia offers.

If you would like to see the goings-on at MFest this year, check out this video montage by Cassidy. (You’ll also get to see her receive the satay mini-bouquet at 5:56.)

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De-stressing during stressful times: How and why its good for you.

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

Do you have those days in which you are at your lowest moods? Sure you do. We all do. The workload and the stress are enough to drive us insane. However, we should not let it get to us. Because firstly, you are like a fire-breathing dragon whose on top of their game. However, once in a while, it is good to calm down and recharge your battery. You know so that you could breathe out fire better. So not metaphorically speaking, it is crucial to know when to give yourself a break and de-stress. De-stressing can help you rejuvenate and help you get right back into the plan. It is something you can do after stressful periods are over. e.g. after exams or in between breaks of stressful days, just don’t overdo it in short breaks, or you will get too relaxed to get back to work.

Small walk

Find a nice little place like a garden or a park and just pace back and forth or in circles. Anything that changes the view for you. It is annoying to remain crammed in the same place with study notes that hit your nerves. So do go out for a walk but keep it short or you will tire yourself and might take more time than necessary.



This one the fun one. Visualizing basically, is like day dreaming. Literally. Close your eyes and imagine yours on a beach, a fantasy land or a cute little date with your favourite celebrity. The point of this exercise is that it sets a positive mood and lifts up your spirits. Who would not feel above the clouds after having a coffee with Ryan Reynolds?


Listen to music

No this ones the fun one. It can be any music. Uplifting, upbeat or slow and relaxing. With music, you can either get your heart beating or calm yourself. Both whats are great to de-stress.


Jam to your favourite beats

This one is the most fun one. Period. Put on some of your favourite beats and dance to it like you it is the best clubbing of your life! At home….by yourself….with juice instead of drinks. Nothing to be ashamed of, we have all done it. Moreover, if you have not…..what, the hell do you do when your home alone?! It is the best feeling in the world, do it.


Have a snack(healthy snack)

I could tell you to have an avocado or plain fruits but ew who does that right? So instead mix them up to create weird and wacky meals. It makes a difference. Yes, it does. So my personal example would be to take lettuce, apples, corn and kidney beans (I am so healthy eh?) and mix them all together to make this weird salad. It tastes great, though, trust me. You can completely randomise and make your snacks. However, make sure they are something portable and easy to just much on or you might end up going on a master chef quest. (It happened to me, sadly enough)


Play with animals

If you have a pet, aside from being super lucky, you can have some time out for your furry friend. It is not an unknown fact that playing with animals decreases stress. So go over to the pet store take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat or talk to your parrot, bond with them and in the process help yourself too!

Please play with me?

Please play with me?

Warm shower

In a cold day, warm showers are the best. Even in hot days too actually. No one likes to have an ice cold feeling pulverising them. If you do, that is fine. You do you.

Exercise(ones that you enjoy)

Exercising means endorphin, and endorphin equals to a triumphal you! Then again if you do not want to work out just dance to your favourite music. Nothing is more happiness-inducing than letting yourself free and moving to a musical rhythm that makes you want to work those moves! Do the whip! Do the nae nae and dab so hard you get a headache(Don’t).


When exam periods or other testing times are over, you deserve this me-time. So take some time out for yourself to relax and calm down after such adrenaline inducing times.

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Is Australia a land of opportunity for international students?

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

An international education in Australia continuously attracts thousands and thousands of students every year from overseas, especially from Asian countries. Australia is one of the top 10 countries with a high standard of living and worth to live. Because of that, it is a land of hope and a land of opportunities for overseas students to explore themselves. There are several of international students, who have been successfully obtaining PR or citizenship and have already called Australia as their second home. However, the dark corners of international education are still being ignored.


Some students are still living in cramped and crowded illegally shared houses, where there are more than 15 tenants in a three-bedroom apartment in the city centre. Transforming bathrooms or study rooms into a 150-180 dollar single room per week or sharing 150 each for four in a tiny and stuffed room is still happening, to lessen their costs when studying in large cities. So simply a bed, a toilet, a kitchen and a washing machine could be enough to live for the rest of the 3-to-4-year-degree course.


Working underpaid sadly seems like a common fact for some international students, who lack confidence and lacking proficient speaking skills in English. They work completely hard in restaurants or fruit shops or farms just to save a penny to pay for expensive living lifestyle and also their institution fees. SO, HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF, HOW MUCH THEY GET PAID, WHEN DROPPING BY ANY DINE-IN RESTAURANTS?

giphy (1)

Cultural differences make it hard for international students could to adopt and get close to local friends. A simple, funny childhood cartoon or the name of the local footy club could be a brand new thing for an international student since these are not a part of their understanding. Local students living and studying within their neighbourhood tend to focus more on their career rather than making more friends. That is why sometimes international students just stay within their community to feel a small sense of belonging.

it gon be hard werk

A land of opportunity could be somehow a question without any articulate answers. When receiving an office number calling on your phone, the first question of “are you An Australian or NewZealand citizen? Or “do you have PR?” immediately disappoints all of the students, who have an HD qualification degree or loads of related industrial experience. What could these vulnerable students do to survive if these problems are unresolved, so they might end up with an unrelated career job and an underpaid position to survive?


Well, by acknowledging these challenges and hardships, if you give up, you might be unable to find a diamond mine like others international students. In order to make the right decision in your life when studying in overseas, you must conduct research and have a clear goal and mind about the ups and downs when living independently in Australia. Trusting yourself, working hard and being confident are the keys to overcoming the hardships.


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Travelling for the soul: When children are better teachers!

Written by Student Life

“I never saw life the same way.”

Personally, travelling has always held a sense of fascination for me. You can unlock your mind and think of different possibilities, just by physically moving yourself to another place, experiencing its culture, living in its pulse and movement.

It’s usually true for most people, and this change might be more divine than words can explain. However, listening to other people’s perspectives has given me a glimpse of what it might be like. I came across an individual who went through this particular transition – Griffith, an Education student who went to volunteer in India as a volunteer teacher.

Roof thing

“I never saw life the same way,” replies Griffith. I had asked him how the journey changed his mindset. Such an experience must have made him see the world in another light.

The children previously lived life in poverty, something that he found different to what he was used to. He found it hardest to turn away beggars. Even though he wanted to help, it would just cause more beggars to crowd around him. Being there in person, Griffith realized that poverty is more than hashtags and powerful photography. Poverty is very real, and it made him resentful of the injustices people faced. He began to think how spoiled and ungrateful people in developed countries could seem in comparison.

What really affected him were the conditions the children live in before they managed to get help. “They had a really slim chance of making it into the world. It really broke my heart,” Griffith said as he recalls the children’s stories – abusive parents, abandonment, neglect.

However, Griffith says he felt warmth and generosity from the community, even if they had less than he did, and it was the same in the academy he taught at. It made him really happy that the children were in better condition now that they had shelter and food.

Cute Kid

Despite the children’s traumatic histories, there was a sense of happiness and peace. He didn’t feel distant even if he used hand gestures and sign language to help and interact with them. Even being able to buy the children gifts was another moment of happiness for him. It was something special regardless. And, after a while, they became a part of his world.

“They loved it. It was a chance for me to show them my world after they showed me theirs.” It was then that Griffith realized happiness really is in the smaller things. The children showed him the true meaning of “less is more”. Their laughter and delight was the simple joy he shared with them.


However, with joy comes sadness as he also came to a realization. Realistically, Griffith knows that there are more children in such terrible situations. What troubles him most is that time and life will continue. The stories of these children in pain will be left behind and forgotten. “I believe, as a teacher, education should go towards everyone. But, these kids couldn’t get it. And what really saddened me was life will move on. These kids will be a memory one day and…I cannot play another role in their future. That’s how life works.”

Although Griffith had the opportunity to teach, it was the children who had taught him an important lesson. When he returned home, he realized how much better it was for him to live simply and without luxurious materials. There were the little things to be grateful about and seek happiness from.

I found that his realisation really hit a nerve for me. It is so true that daily there are many children who suffer. Once in a while, an image of a child crying or starving might get media attention and cause an uproar. Maybe it’s an iconic symbol of their pain. But, eventually it becomes something of the past. It’s forgotten that such images are real people with names, dreams and aspirations. They cannot walk away from it like we can. Unfortunately, deciding which image to publicize does not get these children the help they need. But being able to help in any little way that we can will.

Despite all that has happened, they still smile

Despite all that has happened, they still smile

After listening to his story, as another local student experiencing life in another country, it encourages me to one day travel and venture out on my own too. It seems like there are so many lessons to learn from other people, like appreciating what you already have.

Where would you want to go next?



“I’m grateful for the experience. I highly recommend people to travel, outside your mama’s love.

It’s food for the soul.”

Photo credit: Griffith

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4 lessons for First Years at University

Written by Student Life

You’re in the last year of school. Everyone’s thinking the same thing: you’re about to leave a place that has spoon-fed you for the last 6 years. And now, you’ve been told to “go face the real world”. Yes, the transition is quite dramatic. Yes, it might be the most strange and daunting but most meaningful experience. Yes, it might force you to think differently. However, you’ve made it through semester one, and finally got a taste of the awaited “university life”. Now, it’s time to reflect and apply the lessons we’ve learnt.

Lesson 1: Constant effort is required

University is not someplace where you show up for lectures “just because”, procrastinate and nick off your lecturer’s notes. That’s called “slipping through the cracks” and that only works in high school when our teachers were always there to push us. However, in University, around ninety percent of studying is done by individual research and note taking. It’s almost impossible to earn a decent mark through our high school ways.

UNSW EDSOC President Emma Tang phrases her advice as “University is not a place where things are given to you on a silver platter. It is challenging and requires a plethora of critical thinking, and if you want to make the most out of it, you have to carve out your own opportunities.”

it gon be hard werk

Lesson 2: Making friendship circles are important

In high school, did you ever have a friend who was just your friend because you saw them five times a day? Well, that’s only because you had an easy way to get into contact. In high school, class times and break times were fixed, allowing you to bond with your friends without much effort. However, it’s different in university. It’s so important to make friends in university and keep in touch with the high school friends you truly love. In times of hardships or trouble, your friends are your pillars of support who know what you’re going through.


Lesson 3: Having a balance through time management is so so important

If you are one of those students who balanced school life with work and extracurricular activities, this might be a bit easier for you. However, for most people, it’s crucial to know that university is not all about placing your mind, body and soul into study. Working, socializing and time management are essential and important. They are the center of your university life. Unlike school, you’ll now need to handle more “adult stuff” which could range from more work shifts or trying to find financial stability, moving out and so on.


Lesson 4: University broadens your outlook of the world

Even though you’re one in an ocean of students, it’s less restrictive than school. It allows you to expand and grow your mindset. It’s all up to you to spread your boundaries and explore what is beyond your comfort zones. It’s all about moving forward even if you don’t necessarily want to, but need to in order to grow.

Many times in my high school years and from current high schoolers, I regularly hear “Will I be good enough?” “What if I can’t cope?” “What if it’s too hard for me?” Students always worry about not being able to put up with the pace because of constant assurances of people claiming that “University is much harder” or “After high school, get ready for ‘the real world'”.

What is “the real world”, anyway? It has a very broad definition and that’s for you to decide. Of course, in university you’re required to be self-sufficient and independent. However, after experiencing a semester, is the “real world” that terrifying? Not really. It may be harder, but that’s what makes you stronger. University brings on many challenges foreign to you. But, stay in your lane and keep pushing forward. It may be hard, but it’s not impossible.

Bruce the legend Lee

Everything falls into your own two hands after graduation. It’s up to you to take control of your situation since no one else is held responsible for it neither will they take responsibility for it. Don’t get paranoid or afraid. Make an effort to reach out to as many opportunities as you can, stay on top of your game and when things get hard take it one step at a time and you will be fine.

Believe in yourself!

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ISLA 2015/2016 Program Completion Ceremony

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

On Tuesday, August 2nd, the International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) group held a completion ceremony in the grand Reception Room located in Town Hall. This reception was held to mark the successful completion of ISLA’s 2015/2016 program. The immaculate room was filled with people such as the international student ambassadors in the program, their friends and family, the students’ institution representatives, the police, Consulate Corp, international education sector key stakeholders, and NGOs. Guests were served delicious finger food as they socialized. Though the weather was damp, guests and student ambassadors didn’t let that dampen their mood and spirits.


Selected student ambassadors were given the chance to speak about their journey in this program. Mi Lainmar Oo, one of the student ambassadors, acknowledged in her speech that when she first arrived in Sydney, she struggled. She was nervous, homesick, and struggled to keep track of her life in university, just like any other international student. “If you get scared of doing something, are you going to end your life without doing anything?” is a question Mi Lainmar asked herself after a few months of studying here. She had realized that life within her comfort zones was not beneficial in any way and sought out a way to explore and push herself. That’s when she joined ISLA. She has found out who she is through the various self-development programs that ISLA offers. She’s greatly improved her confidence and found various ways to help the community.


Another noted speaker was Zaki Haidari. Even though Sydney was chilly, his speech warmed the hearts of everyone in the room. He spoke of how his father was the first in his family to be educated, a doctor. Because Afghanistan is a developing country, the medicine had to be imported from overseas and so, everything had to be written in English. His father would travel regularly to Kabul to collect medicine but one day, one journey back from Kabul in 2011, changed Zaki’s life. His father was stopped by the Taliban. His van searched. The Taliban found documents in English and accused his father of helping international organisations like NATO. Zaki has never heard from his father since. After that fateful day, he was targeted by the Taliban and spent 5 months traveling, seeking asylum.


The final part of his journey was the most frightening, Zaki was traveling from Jakarta to Christmas Island but instead of the trip taking 24 hours, he spent 5 days at sea. Zaki came to Australia to seek asylum and to seek peace. With only $100, limited English, no access to education or work rights, Zaki was isolated and stumped. But with the support from the Australian community, he was given a 3 year scholarship from Martin College. His education dream was becoming true, something that was impossible back in Afghanistan. When he first started at Martin College, he had only a few international students so he was really keen on meeting other international folks. In 2015, he was given the opportunity to join ISLA.


That was the first group that made him feel part of the community, through the events and workshops provided. He can clearly see the changes when comparing when he first started out and where he is now — he was shy and cannot speak in public. But through ISLA, he has been given many opportunities to step out of his comfort zone and talk about his experiences in front of crowds. And through his involvement with ISLA, he’s been awarded the NSW International Student Of The Year Award.

IMG_4020At the end of the speeches, the audience was treated to an original song written by one of the ambassadors. “You Are My World” was a heartfelt song written by Tian Qin. She reflects on the adventures she had over the past 18 months with her fellow ISLA student ambassadors. Everyone was attentive while Tian Qin and her friend, Joanita Wubowo, along with two guitarists performed the original. “I am strong when you’re with me…I’m home when I’m with ISLA…Forever I wish I could stay,” sang Tian Qin and her friend. The song made me realize how tight of a bond they’ve created with each other at ISLA and I found myself itching to join and establishing connections with other international students.


Through ISLA and the City of Sydney, student ambassadors have been able to meet new friends, get to know more about the city, and build leadership skills of youth leaders in the communities. Examples of events coordinated by ISLA and the City of Sydney include Journey to the Center of Sydney tours for newly-arrived international students, international student networking events, employment panel to provide advice and support to other international students, and a Youth Leadership Conference for both local and international students to develop their leadership skills.


To conclude, Susana Ng, the Senior Community Program Officer, gave a short and sweet speech congratulating the ambassadors. “Standing here today, I can’t help but feel like a proud parent, attending my kids’ graduation ceremony,” remarked Susana as the audience chuckled. She recollects the purpose of ISLA and how each and every one of the ambassadors have achieved their goals to aid and build strong international youth leaders. She then congratulated all those that made the ISLA program possible, the Mayor, Councillor Kok, the City of Sydney and their interns, international education partners, government and non government organisations.

“In the next few weeks, we will start our new round of ISLA recruitment,” Susana informs.

“So please encourage your students to apply and promote the ISLA program to your network.” Concluding her speech, Susana quotes an ancient Chinese proverb on friendship and urges the student ambassadors to stay connected to each other, Sydney, and Australia no matter how close or far away they may be

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but it would never break.”

The night ends with some more socializing before everyone is ushered out by security. Waiters continued serving food to the guests as they finished up their round of networking. We say our thanks to Susana for inviting the VOIS team to this prestigious event that certainly opened my eyes to such an amazing opportunity as an international student. To quote Zaki’s friend Fabian, “If you live in Sydney, you don’t need to travel the world because you have the world in Sydney.”

13350259_1033595023394196_508655237142271836_oWhat’s it like for you to study in Sydney as an international student? Use the hashtag #myfuturesydney to read about other students’ stories or to publish your own!

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International students and a fine of 180 AUD for not completing the Census?

Written by News, Student Life

What is Census?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will hold the Census of Population and Housing again this year. In 2016 Census will be held on Tuesday, the 9th of August. It is a legal form that must be completed by every individual living in Australia on the night. The information collected creates an extensive database of details such as marriage status, religion (the only question that is optional), racial background and income. This helps determine where taxpayer money will be best spent – in health, transport and infrastructure, education and so on.

That’s a lot of numbers. (

How does this affect me as an international student?

The Census aims to understand how many people are in Australia at one particular time – a “snapshot” of the population. Therefore, regardless of whether you are a citizen or not, if you are in Australia you must complete the form. This includes tourists, international students or those on working visas. By participating, you are helping the government and businesses have a better idea of what services to provide international students. Essentially, you help shape Australia’s future.

So what happens?

On August 1st, a letter from ABS may have been mailed to your household. It contains a 12-digit code unique to your address and allows you to complete the Census online. If you wish to complete a paper form, call ABS to request one or visit the website using the 12-digit code you have received. Simply complete the document and send it back using the provided envelope.

This was how Facebook was done back in the day (

Snail mail – how Facebook messenger was done back in the day. (

But I’m not at home on Census night…

If you live in a:

  • Shared-house includes everyone living there on the form. Or you can call 1300 214 531 to ask for a personal login.
  • Residence you will be provided with a personal form with login details.

If you are:

  • Staying at another house on Tuesday, make sure you’ve been included on their Census as part of their household. Similarly, if you have guests staying over, include them on your form.
  • At an accommodation service – hotel serviced apartment, hostel or caravan park – you will be provided with one once you arrive.
  • In more remote areas ABS Field Officers will be posted at various locations or visit your home to provide paper forms or answer any questions.
  • Overseas on Tuesday the 9th of August, there is no need to complete it.

What if I don’t complete the form?

Since the Census form is a legal document if you miss the date, ABS will remind you of your obligation. If you still do not send the form to you will be fined $180 AUD per day until you do. If you provide the misleading information, you will be fined $1800.

I don't know about you but I don't have $180 lying around...unless it's for photos like this one ( [AAP Image/Joel Carrett])

I don’t know about you but I don’t have a spare $1800 lying around…unless it’s for photos like this one.( [AAP Image/Joel Carrett])

 Changes for 2016: 

Details such as names and addresses will be kept in the database for 48 months now instead of 18 months. Some might be concerned about this decision, but ABS assures that identification will be a “very low” risk. Data will be “anonymised” as names will be stored separately.

Annette Kelly, Victorian Census Director, explains that ABS is required by law to keep all information strictly confidential. This means they are not allowed to share data with third parties such as “other government agency, court or tribunal” or even between the Department of Immigration or the Australian Taxation Office.

Additionally, by 2020 all collected information will be destroyed.

So that means I'll hid out until 2020 ( [ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images])

So that just means I’ll be in hiding until 2020. (

 Where can I find out more? 

Visit the official website here to read more about the National Census or the detailed privacy statement in your language.

If you would like help filling out the form, give the Translation and Interpreter Service a call on 131 450.

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Pokemon Go: what’s good, what’s not and what’s ugly

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

2016 is a year that will leave its footprint in history. Our future generations will look back at our legacies and think “They had nothing to do, did they?” All jokes aside, this year has fulfilled the dreams and wishes of every Pokemon trainer in the world.

Pokemon been a major part of our childhoods and each of us has wished to have their own unique Poke-squad to challenge and venture with. Thanks to technology we can now do exactly that! Niantic has made a fantastic game which allows players to live a fictional virtual world where we can play as our fictional characters.

The Good:

It forces people to exercise. For real, has there ever in history, existed a game so good that it accidentally makes players exercise? (Emphasis on the unexpectedly).

Tom Yates, a researcher at the University of Leicester, suggests that the new game can ‘ease type 2 diabetes burden.’ He further says that the risk of type 2 diabetes is “widely associated with physical inactivity obesity” and that Pokemon Go “could be an innovative solution for rising obesity levels”. Click here to read more about their findings.


Photo credit: Sumaiyah Tasneem

Pokemon Go is not a game that you can play walking around your house. (Unless you use a drone, that is some next level stuff). A player must walk to Poke Stops to collect Poke balls, potions and step outside to catch Pokemon. This results in lots of exercises. Walking is one of the best ways to get healthy. Additionally, people get the chance to explore new places and areas too. Families have found a good way to bond with each other through the game, proving that both the younger and older generation can enjoy it. In fact, a nursing home in Florida is using the game to unite and connect their senior citizens. It helps them maintain physical activeness and freshen their minds. 

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On a Facebook page titled “Pokemon Go Stories” many people posted stories both positive and negative regarding the game, however, the positive experiences posted by individuals is noticeably larger in number.

Apart from all the benefits listed above, many people happen to find mental health benefits from the game. Many people feel a sense of community while playing, finding an easier way to socialise with people and expand friendships. In an article by Nathan Grayson,the author speaks extensively on how Pokemon Go has assisted him in dealing with his social anxiety. However, it is important to note that Pokemon Go is not a substitute for mental health treatment but just a tool of assistance in dealing with it.

One more thing, as silly and fairy-tale like it may sound, it unites people in a world where division threatens unity. This game has made people more united, created a community where people feel a sense of belonging. It is the most fun way to put aside differences and just be friends enjoying the same things.

However, hold it right there. As wonderful as the game is, nothing is perfect. We must know that with incredible technological advances, we have some people who may be careless or use the advancement for harm rather than good. Although Pokemon Go has provided many benefits, it has also attracted some negativity due to various reasons.

The Bad:

The possibility of accidents while playing are very high, many people have reported injuries, car road hazards, trespassing and more dangerous situations, examples ranging from car crashing into a cop carsomeone being shot at for trespassing, and even a man getting threatened at knife point while playing the game. What’s worse about robberies is, the game has the perfect device to lure in unsuspecting players and find themselves victims. The game has a certain feature where setting an “incense” can attract players and Pokemon. However, robbers have invited players into isolated areas and robbed them while they look for that rare Pikachu.  


The Ugly:

Moreover, finally, what’s the most strange and odd thing about this game is the privacy policy. Pokemon Go has access to your entire Google account. Yes. On top of that, they have the right to provide your information to government officials at any given time and place.

The ugly abt Pokemon GoOne can argue that they collect information for statistical purposes. However, to have access to information of many many people and to have the right to provide whatever information to third parties, one cannot help but wonder why exactly they hold onto the information and if they truly use it only for statistical purposes. I’m not a conspiracy theorist! I just find this something to get suspicious over. I cannot be the only one worried and slightly paranoid by this piece of information.

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So finally after reading on about that, do enjoy this game! Be the best Pokemon adventure destiny calls you to be. However, please do be careful! Happy hunting!


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