Student Life

Only Opal cards from 1st of August!

Written by News, Student Life

Opal smart cards have been introduced following the complete phase out of railway paper tickets on the 1st of August. However, in the next couple of months will there be another payment option available as well?

The Opal card was based on London’s Oyster and introduced due to fare evasion and misuse costing taxpayers $22 million AUD a year. NSW Government looks set to follow in London’s footsteps once more. According to, Sydney will trial the use of bank cards to pay for trips in 2017. This means that customers will be able to travel using their credit or debit cards while the use of personal bank accounts reduces the need to top up regularly.

For the moment, railway customers must buy an Opal card or Opal single-trip in order to travel throughout Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. Additionally, customers will not be able to continue using Pensioner Excursion Tickets or TravelTens from August 1st. They can, however, apply for a refund for unused trips before 30th October 2016 here. Tourists can also apply for an Opal card before arrival to NSW, or use the new single-trip tickets.

If you still have not used for an Opal card, using a single-trip Opal card may serve as a last resort. These can be bought on buses, and standard Opal cards can be purchased from 7-Eleven, Woolworths or online. However, some stations have not yet been installed with single-use Opal cards.  If you are caught without a valid ticket, transport officers will be able to fine you.

Twitter: The Opal Card User (TheOpalUser)

Twitter: The Opal Card User (TheOpalUser)

Other changes include the removal of free journeys after 8 trips. Now, customers will only receive a 50% discount if they take more than 8 journeys. Those who change transportation twice – a train to a bus, for example – in one trip (and within one hour) will also receive a $2 discount instead of needing to pay twice.

Due to the success in London 2014, the bank card system was exported to other cities. However, the technology will not reach regions outside of Sydney for some time. Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities will need to remain with smartcards due to their older technologies.

Even though the potential use of bank cards is an Australian first, Londoners are already using their smartphones to pay fares instead of bank cards. Will Sydney do the same in the next few years?

Featured Image:

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Things You Don’t Know About EID in Malaysia

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

Islam is a religion practised by over a billion people and Muslims are followers of the faith. The ninth month of the Muslim calendar is the holy time of Ramadan, when Muslims all around the world fast for a month. By avoiding food and water from dawn until dusk, Muslims look to fulfill one of the pillars of Islam. (The five pillars of Islam are five basic acts in Islam that are considered mandatory and are the foundations of Muslim life.) After resisting temptation and fighting inner demons, they are then rewarded with Eid (or Raya), a month filled with food, forgiveness and celebration. As it is a big occasion in countries all over the world, Eid is observed in tandem with the country’s specific culture.

In Malaysia, where I come from, the event is a huge deal. Preparations can even begin from the second week of Ramadan. It depends on how much money you’re willing to spend, but some families go all out and make their Eid clothes or kuih (koo-weh). Some even give their living room a makeover: new curtains, new cushions, new furniture, new paint, the whole she-bang. Others choose not to be too grand in their Eid preparations. 

What do we do during Eid in Malaysia?

The night before Eid, Muslims in Malaysia watch their TV sets and await the Eid announcement after Maghrib prayers (second last prayer of the day). Once it is announced, a takbeer is heard in the nearby mosques and various TV channels. It is a proclamation to prevent Muslims from becoming too prideful and to remind themselves that the month of Eid is a blessing and a reward from Allah (the Muslim god).

The takbeer is usually performed by men at various mosques

On the first day of Raya, Muslims go to the early Eid prayer at the nearest mosque. Then, they return home to the delicious home-cooked meals that have been prepared that morning or the night before. Raya is celebrated with immediate family members first, then with other relatives and/or friends.

After breakfast, we have a “forgiving session” where family members take turns apologising to each other for any mistakes made or harsh words spoken. Usually, the youngest will ask for forgiveness from the eldest and move down the age line. The reason we do this is because Eid is the time of forgiveness and renewal. A common phrase used during this period of the year is kosong-kosong which translates to “zero-zero”. It means that all past mistakes are forgotten, and we begin our relationship with each other fresh and new for the rest of the year.

As shown here, the oldest sibling is asking for forgiveness from their parents

Families usually go to each other’s houses to visit, reconnect and eat. So people who you haven’t seen in a long while or have never even met before may pop up at your home. But, in the spirit of forgiveness and Eid, you greet them with a smile and open arms. At the end of the visit, the adults may give out duit raya, money in individual packets, young children, students, the elderly and orphans.

Duit raya in colourful packets

The amount will vary depending on each family and each person. The packets are either bought or received for free from various institutions like departmental stores or fashion boutiques. The more relatives you visit, the more delicious food you get to eat and the likelier it will be to get money as well!

What do we wear during Eid?

In Malaysia, we wear our traditional clothes during Raya. Women wear baju kurung or baju kebaya that can be ready-made or tailored.

Baju kebaya

Men wear baju melayu with sampin and songkok.

Though recently, women may be seen wearing long dresses known as Judah or abaya that can have a variety of designs and colours. However, it isn’t usually considered traditional Malay clothing, but Arab.

Since it is encouraged to dress nicely and wear new clothes on the first day of Raya, many people are eager to prepare in the days leading up to it. Some families may even decide to coordinate their Raya clothing. There’s a sudden surge of shoppers at various malls selling traditional materials, new designs pop up (ranging from affordable to expensive), discounts are offered and shoe sales increase. Needless to say, it can get pretty hectic!

However, after the fifth day of Raya, the excitement starts to die down a little bit. You can wear non-traditional clothes or stop serving Raya food to guests if you wish.

What do we eat?

The first day of Raya, we eat traditional Malay food such as ketupat (ke-too-pat), rendang (ruhn-dang), sambal kacang (sam-bal ka-chang) and ayam masak merah just to name a few. Each state will have variations, but it is the same all around Malaysia.

Ketupat or nasi impit are soft rice cakes that have been boiled for a few hours, with a hand-woven coconut leaf case. Because of the skill required to make the casing, ketupat takes longer to make. Therefore, many tend to buy versions ready-made from the market or use nasi impit instead. The skill is still practised in more rural areas of Malaysia though.


Ketupat or nasi impit is best eaten with rendang is a dark-coloured spicy meat dish that originated in Indonesia. The smell is one-of-a-kind and aromatic.

Sambal kacang is a spicy peanut sauce that’s usually eaten with satay during normal days. Ayam masak merah is another spicy dish, but it is red and uses chicken instead of meat or peanuts. (We do like our spicy food, eh?)

Seen here are rendang, ketupat, ayam masak merah, sambal kacang, and seronding.

To cool and sweeten our palate, we treat ourselves to various kuih (dessert/pastries) that have been homemade or store-bought in the days leading up to Raya. Desserts may include tart nenas, suji, Almond London, other cookies, cakes and kerepek. In this modern day and age, you have just got to know where to get the best kuih to impress your relatives and friends.

What do we listen to?

Raya-related songs can be heard everywhere you go during this month. Here are some classic selections:

Eid is a grand celebration for Muslims all over the world to mark the completion of Ramadan, regardless of culture and customs. Even so, Eid has its special identity within a culture. For example, in Malaysia, Eid is unique in such a way that it is identified by the food that is served, clothes that are worn, and most importantly, duit raya.

How does your culture uniquely celebrate Eid?

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4 Things New Students Dread

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

It is the start of a new semester. If you are like me, you are just starting your career in university. Moreover, also if you are anything like me, you most probably dread quite a few things about uni life. Moreover, on top of that, we realised international students! A new start in a new university in a new country. What could go wrong?


Credits: Wawasan Open University Malaysia

It is not much of a dreadful feeling but more of your insides doing a full gymnastic routine as the clock counts down the minutes until your orientation. Orientation is just sitting in a big hall while someone on the podium talks. So, in theory, it is nothing to worry. However, the thought of having to see so many people as well as being in an unfamiliar situation can be pretty overwhelming. Even though it is nerve-wracking, keep in mind that the orientation session is for you to understand how you can make the most out of your time in the university by using the resources available to you.

Making friends

If only making friends was as easy as when we were kids

If only making friends was as easy as when we were kids. In high school, it is easier to make friends – you are in a set classroom in your year, and you know those people. University, it is different. You would be pretty dang lucky to go to the same university as your best friend and even luckier if you are doing the same course! However, of course, not everybody can have that kind of luck. Mere mortals like you and I are thrown into the crowd of freshies feeling somewhat vulnerable. You are not entirely sure of other people’s intentions or how they are going to react to your unique personality. Some just ooze confidence and charisma, and that is the bomb dot com. Someone may strike a conversation with you, and it goes right. Moreover, sometimes it is only after the conversation ends do you realise how you could’ve added that extra spice. Then you are just waiting for the chance to use that witty comeback you had saved up. Certainly, trying to make friends can be a challenging task but with persistence (along with an open mind) can help you generate a spark with your peers.

(Also, I find that if you go to orientation without your parents, it is much easier for you to make friends.)

Group assignments

I was looking through my subject outline, and I noticed for a few of my courses, there would be a group assignment. Oh no. My head was already spinning at the thought of having to talk strangers, but I was also anticipating I would have to do a lot of the work too. It is pretty unreasonable to think so negatively of my peers since I have not even met them yet. However, I have had some bad experiences working in groups in the past. To avoid doing all the work yourself, be sure to communicate clearly and thoroughly with each other. Work out what is expected of the assignment and from each of you. Delegate the work equally among everybody and help check each others’ work.

Looking for your classroom/lecture halls

Directions and I do not mix too well. Having to search for my classes, in particular on a large campus, is a nightmare. I also hate being late. When you walk into class after trekking 50 kilometres just to find it, people will stare at you like you have murdered someone. Lateness also shows that you are unprepared for work, and that does not give the greatest first impression. In order to avoid such situations, it is best to explore the campus beforehand to locate key locations – lecture halls, tutorial rooms, cafes, bookshop, and other important places.

University life is pretty much like in Monsters University

However, the university is bound to be a great experience. Here you will meet people with colourful personalities from all over the world, network with your peers, and perhaps make lifelong friends. So take a deep breath, chin up, and do your best.

There are many more things that can shake up newbies so share your experiences in the comments down below! How did you overcome your nerves during your first few weeks at uni?


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10 Reasons to Return to Uni

Written by Student Life

Semester 2 is just around the corner and if you are expecting to return to the same old uni – think again. A few universities had makeovers while you were gone. Here’s what’s new:

  • I know, starting off the list with ways to get out of uni instead of in seems a little unconventional. However, you know what’s extraordinary? These EnergyPods at USYD’s Fisher Library. The University has introduced a new sleep zone back in February and the world’s first chairs designed just for napping. It has a privacy shield (goodbye, Spotted: USYD), peaceful soundtracks and gentle lights to accompany your much-needed rest. If you have not seen them yet, check them out for a few minutes…or twenty.

Spend all my time here? Don’t mind if I do

  • When it comes to studying, USYD students might head off to the library at Bosch, Camden or Badham. Not anymore. USYD has renamed their libraries to the Bosch Burrows, Camden Burrows and The Quarter. Pretty fancy. Not to mention appropriate as we “burrow” our faces into books when it is exam time.
Maybe we need to update the map too

Maybe we need to update the map too

  • NSW Premier Mike Baird has just opened the Hilmer Building at UNSW on the 20th of July. It is the new home of Materials Science and Engineering Innovation, containing leading labs and collaborative spaces. This will allow research students and teams to reach creative solutions for businesses and governments.
Thank you John Gollings (photo credit), it's beautiful

Thank you John Gollings (photo credit), it is mesmerising

  • On the 3rd of September, UNSW will hold Open Day again, so come along and see what this university has to offer! Alternatively, just to visit our grounds and your friends (or maybe just for something that might be better – freebies).
Where to next?

Where to next?

  • World-class nursing and midwifery labs have been proudly opened at UTS by the Secretary of the NSW Ministry of Health, Elizabeth Koff. The recreation of hospital wards will provide realistic clinical experiences for these students. In doing so, a smoother transition from study to work will be gained. So…it is like we are acting as if we are on a movie set? Rad.
The patient looks to be in terrible condition

The patient appears to be a bit unwell

  • UTS is also holding their Open Day on the 27th of August from 9 am to 4 pm. Navigate your way around the city for more than 200 info sessions. If you are there, gaze up at the buildings’ weird and wonderful architecture. However, they are probably more commonly known by us as the ‘Paper Bag’ or the ‘Jenga Tower’ or, my personal favourite, the ‘Cheese Grater’.
Now just imagine a really large block of cheese (photo credit:

Now just imagine a huge block of cheese (photo credit:

  • Over at Macquarie Uni, two new buildings are being built – the next stage of expansion in the university’s Campus Master Plan. They will connect community and businesses as they are conveniently placed next to the new Library, but are also a short distance from MQ’s train station and the shopping centre. It will definitely be easier for some snacking post/pre/during lectures and study sessions.
The plan for University 8 and 10 Ave (credit: Kannfinch and Sissons)

The plan for University 8 and 10 Ave (credit: Kannfinch and Sissons)

  • MQ’s two commercial buildings are not the only things that are new. Operations for a new Cyber Security Hub will soon be under way between Optus Business and Macquarie Uni. The multi-disciplinary partnership draws upon Science and IT, Business and Economics, as well as Security Studies and Criminology. The Hub’s creation is a response to organisations seeking to better their management of cybercrime. Most of us are on the Internet anyway what with Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter…and Instagram and Google and Pokemon Go and…
John Paitaridis, Managing Director, Optus Business and Professor David Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Engagement and Advancement) (credit: Paul Wright)

John Paitaridis, Managing Director, Optus Business and Professor David Wilkinson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Corporate Engagement and Advancement) (credit: Paul Wright)

  • From Semester 2, you can listen up for the relaunch of ACU’s very own Radio Station – ACU Wired – over “hear“. The team of 6 have trained and developed the program that will broadcast at stations such as Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Ballarat, North Sydney and Strathfield. If you are an ACU student, and you have always wanted a chance to DJ, work in radio production or be a news presenter, now you can!
There are too many button-knob-things

There are too many button-knob-things

  • ACU also shares their Open Day with UNSW. If you are at the North Sydney campus you can have freebies from two universe- I mean, you can find out what’s happening on campus, meet known and unknown students and rub shoulders with staff. If you are on the Strathfield side, Open Day is just a week later on the 10th of September!


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International Student suicides due to Permanent Residence Visa

Written by News, Student Life

According to SBS Australia, an Indian international student – Deepark Singh, committed suicide in his apartment last week Sunday. From close sources, Singe felt pressured by an inability to gain Permanent Resident Visa in Australia because of the updated Skilled Occupations List.

Pinterest: Émilie Asselin

Pinterest: Émilie Asselin

Deepark Singh had a dream to settle down in Australia. An education agent in India advised that studying would be a pathway to pursue his dream. Once Singe finished his diploma degree in Community Welfare he hoped to gain Permanent Residence in Australia after his education. Unfortunately, the new Skilled Occupations List changed annually and his major was removed from the list, rendering him ineligible to meet the PR requirement application.


Later on, Deepark got married to an Australia woman and received a de-facto visa status. He could then apply for PR and Citizenship in Australia. However, the Immigration Department denied his application and this led to an intense sense of frustration and depression. Deepark’s experience is just one of the stories of people who are struggling to seek a better life in Australia.

What is Permanent Residency in Australia?

An Australian Permanent Resident Visa allows an individual to work, live and study without any restrictions in Australia for 5 years. The person gains an automatic right of entry to the country at any time. However, after the time period ends, the PR visa holder must leave or apply to re-enter Australia. But, one can apply for Australian Citizenship certificate in advance one year after holding a PR visa.


Australia is considered one of the top countries to live in due to the many benefits that a PR holder can gain. The individual not only has a right to vote in the Australian election, but also gain benefits such healthcare, education, employment and other social securities in Australia.


How to apply for Permanent Resident Visa in Australia?

There are several of ways to apply for PR in Australia. Some options include options such as SkillSelect, Regional Employment, Bringing family with you, Sponsored or nominated work visa options, etc. However, you should always conduct in-depth research or seek professional advice and follow the steps accurately. For more information, please visit the Australian Government – Department of Immigration and Border Protection.


If you’re experiencing any struggles, or know someone who is, be sure to contact your university counselor (sessions are free and confidential). Or, you can call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 or contact international suicide hotlines here.

Living in wealthy countries and having a good life is everyone’s dream.

But keep moving forward and never give up when chasing after your vision, your goals. Remember that everyone chose different paths, so don’t stress out or compare with each other. 

Great things take time to come, be tough and be patient! Every life is worth it.

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Eat Like A Refugee for One Week: Ration Challenge

Written by News, Student Life

My name is Sumaiyah Tasneem, and I have attempted the Act for Peace Ration Challenge of 2016. If I were to write this article talking about every minute of my experience, I could go on writing forever. But, let’s start with:

What is the Ration Challenge?

From the 19th until the 25th of June, contestants are challenged to eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee for a week and raise donations for them. In doing so, the participants will experience a small part of a refugee’s struggle and contribute awareness about refugee life. Through the power of compassion, we can show refugees that “we are with them, not against them”.


The idea of the Ration Challenge is an initiative of The ACT Alliance, a network of 140 organisations and 130 countries. This foundation works to help communities threatened by conflict and disaster. Together with the Act for Peace, they hope to achieve easier lives for Syrian refugees. Act for Peace is an agency focusing on international aid which belongs to and is governed by the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) which consists of 19 member churches.



My experiences before the Challenge:

Initially, the primary focus for me were donations. As soon as I opened my fundraising page, I told friends, family, acquaintances, cat and dogs, anyone who would give a donation. Personally, the page had felt like direct access to help to the refugees, so I considered this challenge as one of the easiest ways to help people in need. I was busy encouraging everyone to donate to the cause in general, but I didn’t really sit down to think about what the Challenge would be like. I hadn’t fully comprehended how hard it would actually be. Logically, I knew that it would be painful as my Challenge Kit contained basic rice, flour, lentils, and oil. However, I didn’t know how painful exactly. I never knew food had such a significant impact in my life, and that hunger could change so many things. 


During the Challenge:

So, how does it feel doing the Challenge? To put it frankly, there is solid hunger involved. Usually, you only think about physical pain. You’re trying not to get side tracked and lose your focus (which is against the challenge’s rules of course). 

Whenever it was time to eat, I was baffled by the satisfaction I felt after simply having bread or lentils. I also found it extremely hard to sleep in such a state. On the first night, I slept on my stomach, but woke up numerous times because I felt my torso twist and turn painfully. 


Apart from the physical pain, there are many other obstacles involved when it comes to battling hunger. My mood was never fixed. I was always either happy or sad, angry or hungry, but mostly dull and sullen. Focusing on work or study was almost impossible. My mind was all over the place. One thought led to another, and at some point I realised that it could have been a refugee. This is what life is like for a refugee. It was terrifying to imagine their life in a war-zone additionally, constantly threatened by the potential loss of friends and family. It was almost too surreal even to consider. 


After the Challenge:

I have realised that before doing the Challenge, there was a certain extent of ignorance about the experiences of refugees. But, if I hadn’t done this challenge, I wouldn’t have known how hard it is for them to live on such small rations. Residing in Australia, a developed country, I had the chance to live their hunger and a little part of the pain that comes with it.

tears of joy

Now, I see that life is incredibly complex when hunger is involved. And it’s not just food or physical hunger. It’s also the emotional suffering when having to bear these tribulations all at once. Not only do they have minimal food and no security of a home, but must also cope with the trauma of a war zone. These people are facing their lives now with raw vulnerability and an impending sense of doom. Being completely in the shoes of refugees is a lot harder than we could ever understand. I wasn’t acutely aware of the reality of the refugees. Perhaps no one truly can be until they have experienced it themselves.

The power of humanity is winning

I would encourage everyone to try this Challenge at least once as I believe we can ultimately help one of the most marginalised groups in the world. By understanding the experiences of the refugees, we can use our power as a society to change laws and sway governments in their favour. In participating in the Challenge, you can also help the organisations who can provide them with more food rations. If we don’t help, then who will?


As of now, the current statistics on the Ration Challenge page show that $2,023,952 has been raised. That is enough to feed 7,254 refugees for a whole year! You can view the changing numbers here. If you wish to donate to the cause, you can sponsor some of the participants of the Challenge. Or, if you wish to attempt it in 2017, you can pre-register here.


Photo credit: Sumaiyah Tasneem & ChiPheo & Huu Trong Nguyen

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How do you make money from your study notes?

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

Some students do not know that attending all the lectures, all the tutorials and writing heaps of notes with tips and tricks for assignments or exams during the semester could help them to buy a flight ticket and pay for other expenses for their overseas or domestic trips during winter or summer break. Thousands of university and college students around Australia have been cashing out by selling and exchanging their lecture notes, exam notes, exam materials or tutorial notes from 35 dollars to more than 1200 dollars, depending on their quality through a few platforms.


In order to upload and sell your records, you need to register your personal details on the platform. Your notes could be in English or other languages, depending on the buyers’ interest, some students could receive between 160 to 220 dollars for a 1000 word note written in Chinese. So, being international students or students speaking more than two languages could help you to increase your notes financial value.HOMER

Note purchasers can also give a rating and rank your note’s quality, which you could use as a reference for the future. The higher the ranking, the more trusted and valuable your notes, as more students are willing to purchase or download your notes.

giphy (27)


Trading records does not mean selling your property or cheating; it is just another useful method of helping each other to study, as some students are unable to attend lectures because of unexpected circumstances. It is a good way that you can help others to have a glance at the subjects that other or prospective students are interested in or intend to enroll in for the next semester.This exchanging and selling are very popular among other universities around Australia, so you can easily find the notes that you want.

Here are some of the platforms where you can freely sell your notes and inject some pocket money directly into your bank account:

1/Sell Study Notes – Stuvia

2/Buy and sell great uni notes​ –StudentVIP Notes


3/Nexus Notes


giphy (20)

Study hard and receive HD’s and also unlimited dollar figures in your bank account.

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Sweet Treats for Winter in Sydney?

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

It might be ‘common’ that some of your friends do not like chocolate, but for sure they would never say no to any sugary and yummy desserts. Sydney is getting colder and colder, wrapping yourself in a cosy bed with heaps of thermo layers is the best idea ever to avoid the night cold. However, you should think twice when seeing some of the mouth-watering sweet treats posted on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat by your friends on a Friday night out.


It is the hardest job ever researching and selecting the yummiest dessert places in Sydney. However, I can finally share a few of my favourite ones, where you can chit-chat and enjoy the sweet- affairs:

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Doughnuts @ Doughnut time

Coming all the way from Brisbane, all of the doughnuts are cute overloaded with a decent, colourful and creative modern look. No matter how much I am afraid of gaining weight, the temptation just keeps you returning time and time again.

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Watermelon cake @ Black Star Pastry

A light, soft and creamy slice of watermelon cake with a rose essence at Black Star Pastry is the reason why people keep travelling back and forward to one of the most livable, young and energetic towns in Sydney, Newtown. You can grab a cup of hot chocolate or tea to balance its taste.


Matcha Crossaint @ Topimpressionbakery

Top Impression Bakery is located in Wolli Creek, just outside the train station. This new establishment has lots of interesting pastries such as apple and rhubarb danishes or salted caramel croissants. The Matcha Crossaint is the top seller as well as my favourite!! It has a crispy outer and a strong matcha custard. I end up with lots of tissues on the table just to finish one matcha, because of the yummy runny custard.

wallphoto (1)

Chocolate Truffle @The Choc Pot

Right in the centre of Sydney, a well-deserved queue is common at the Choc Pot. The Secret Garden, rich dark chocolate layers, fluffy white chocolate, crispy goodness on the top, is a taste of heaven. The signature Choc Pot and Mr Souff are rich, chocolaty and moist with salted caramel and ice-cream on the side. You should also get a pot of tea to elevate and balance its sweetness.

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@KOI Dessert Bar

A busy and beautiful alley in Chippendale, next to the Central Park building, called Spice Alley, you can find a modern sculpture-looking and delicious sweet treat for any sweet-lovers at KOI Dessert Bar, owned by Reynold – a very talented dessert lover of Masterchef Australia 2015. You can make a booking with 2 or 3-course desserts or simply grab one of the treats such as vanilla yoghurt pannacotta, nomtella, espresso mousse or coconut mousse.

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Winter is here now, so screen-shot it, save it or share it, so you will not waste time searching for sweet places. Keep yourself warm and indulge in these sugary and rich desserts.


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Why International Students should Travel around Australia?

Written by Student Life

Australia is in the top 10 countries worth to live and to travel, apart from the significant economic growth. You would be surprised to know that Australian and New Zealand are always the two final destinations of most European backpackers after exploring the rich cultures and authentic vibe of Southeast Asia countries. The spectacular beauty of nature, red-earthed desert, sunny beaches, rugged national parks and the vibrant multicultural cities have made Australia becoming one of the most popular destinations for backpacker and budget travellers.


As an international student, it’s pretty amzing to spend 3-4 years of your degree in Australia, so why not grab the chance to explore it? Travelling can also help understand the culture since  Australians young and old love backpacking, hiking and the outdoors. Sounds like a typical Hollywood movie, but it’s entirely accurate.

Here are some destinations in Australia that you should visit during your summer and winter holidays or even during your mid-semester break:

Great Ocean Road, Victoria

Great Ocean Road is listed as an Australian National Heritage, ab243 kilometres stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. It might take around 3-4 hours drive from the city centre of Melbourne, and the view is spectacular. Hiring a car is the best solution so you can drop by some small town around the coast for a cup of coffee, take photos or just for fresh air. Embrace yourself when driving along the coastal road, it is an unforgettable, thrilling and almost endless ride.

Kangaroo Island, South Australia

Sometimes you are wondering why you cannot see people ride kangaroos to schools or the offices in the CBD. Well, visiting Kangaroo Island with its diverse wildlife of kangaroos, koalas, wallabies and bird life could make your dream come true. It’s only a few hours drive from Adelaide to the South, but you also need to catch a ferry to get there.

Imagine: Fishing at noon for dinner, camping at night under the stars and waking up with kangaroos hopping outside of your tent, what more could you ask for?

Uluru, Northern Territory

Uluru is a massive sandstone in the heart of Northern Territory’s Red Centre desert so you can take a 4 hour flight from Sydney to Alice Springs then another 2 hour drive to the destination. If you have heard the story about the famous DINGO CASE in Australia, you should visit here to see the dingos with your very own eyes. Booking a tour is suggested, where full accommodation, camel riding, foods, drinks and other hiking facilities are prepared for you (it’s a bit unsafe sleeping alone in the middle of a massive desert).

Daintree National Park

Daintree National Park is a national park in Far North Queensland, which you can easily drive from CBD Queensland. Trekking and hiking are the most common activities in the national park, which gives you more insight about the various plants and beauties of nature. Kayaking is also another option if you have a steady hand to paddle and if you know how to swim. It is suggested to book a camping site where it is safe from Australia’s dangerous wildlife such as crocodiles, spiders and snakes, rather than individually camping without permission.


So plan ahead, pack your bags and set off to see the sights alone or with your friends! Make sure to stay safe and have fun! What are you waiting for?


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Simple Steps To Apply For Your Tax Return

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life, Tips & Tricks

30th June and 1st July are coming, it is a splendid time for you to lodge your tax return. But should you lodge your tax return and how do you lodge it? Well, here are some steps to help you lessen the hassle.

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Why do you need to submit your tax?

During the financial year, your casual/part-time/full-time income has been reduced a small amount by tax, depending on your income status. If you do not know whether you should lodge a tax return, check these selection criteria:

For example, you are an international student with a tax file number, working casually at a bar. Before starting the job, you are required to sign a few documents including a tax file paper. So every time you receive a payment transferred to your bank account, there is a section of tax deduction in your pay slips. So at the end of the financial year, you are eligible to proceed with a tax return.

If you earn less than 18,200 AUD dollars a year, and you paid tax during the financial year, you likely to get all of the tax back.

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However, if you are an international student with a tax file number, working part time in a coffee shop, no papers had been signed between both sides, and you receive cash in hand every week for your payment; you are not eligible to lodge a tax return. This is because the tax department does not have any tax record of your income.

So if you earn less than 18,2000 AUD dollars a year, and you have had no tax withheld from your income, you might not be able to lodge your tax return. However, you still need to notify the ATO with the Non-lodgment advice

How do you lodge your tax return?

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a/You need these documents:

Identity documents (passport or birth certificate or citizenship certificate)

Employment and income documents

b/You need myDeductions:

This is the ATO’s app to keep track of your income and expenditure, checking the tax return that you could claim.


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Lodge Online

  1. In order to lodge your tax return, you should have a tax file number with some identity and income documents
  2. Visit ATO.GOV.AU and create myGov account
  3. Sign into myGov and follow the instructions 

If you have any trouble lodging your tax return online, you can make an appointment by calling 13 28 61 for TAX HELP, running across the country from July to October. (However, you should check your income status). If you need help with translation and interpretation, please phone 13 14 50 for further assistance.

The online system, myTax, is available  24 hours and only takes 2 weeks to receive the refund.

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Lodge a paper tax return

  1.  Order a paper tax return through Publication Ordering Service or call 1300 720 092
  2.  Fill in your required information (personal identification and income documents)
  3.  Post to Australian Taxation Office ( GPO Box 9845 IN YOUR CAPITAL CITY)

This method takes 50 business days for the refund.

Lodge with a registered tax agent

You can also lodge your tax return through an agent. You are required to pay an administration fee for application preparation and the lodgement process.

Once you submit your tax, just wait and check your bank account later and then you can indulge yourself (like that dessert you were thinking of getting)

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