Australia Tag Archive

Study in Australia: Amy Sumin Wong

Written by Your Story

Have you ever heard the word “Ubuntu”?

According to Amy Sumin Wong, it is an ancient African word that means “I am, because you are” and highlights the interconnectedness of everyone and everything. As an only child, Amy can be quite independent and used to be doing things by myself. But this word reminds her that she is a part of a bigger picture and that no matter what country, background, status, job or anything.

We are all in this together and have profound effects on one another whether it is indirect or not. Amy also relates this to charity work. “As sometimes we can care so much about Australia and forget the issues of the rest of the world. But we are ultimately one humanity! It is not us versus them, but us AND them!”, Amy said.

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“Hi, I am Amy Sumin Wong, a World Vision Youth Ambassador and Committee Member of MASSA (Malaysian and Singaporean Society Association) at UTS. I am from New Zealand, but both of my parents are Malaysians. Hence, I did not need to learn a new language and the culture is more similar than moving to, for instance, China! I am recently on a gap year and thinking of continuing Engineering combined with Creative Intelligence and Innovation at UTS next year”.

In 2012, I came to Australia to complete my high school and it definitely was a massive change for me and a pivotal moment in my life. I was incredibly homesick for 2 years as everyone who knows me well knows that I am an extremely patriotic kiwi! Apart from that, I love how Australian universities rank so highly in the world and especially how UTS have access to such great resources and facilities! It is such a blessing that this is one of the first countries have them and we often take for granted.


This first time really widened my experiences and view of the world. It made me a lot more aware of different issues, cultures, worldviews and lifestyles! I love how diverse and multicultural it is in Australia, since it was less so back in Auckland. Although starting high school was definitely a challenge as I felt as the whole environment was quite different. I came from a high school where most people were quite nerdy in the fact that we all cared about doing well in our studies. However, my high-school in Australia was much more casual about it. Also, it was interesting trying to feel like I “belonged” in a place that was so different and foreign in culture to me.

Besides studying, I have part-time worked at Boost Juice and Nadia’s Café. These taught me efficiency, team-work and customer service skills that can be applied to all areas of life! I am currently a World Vision Youth Ambassador which is absolutely amazing. This is where I learnt public speaking skills, social media awareness skills, fundraising skills, networking skills and much more! All of these skills will be absolutely valuable in the workplace.


What is the best experience have you had in university?

I am a Committee Member on the MASSA group which is for Malaysian and Singaporean students! We host events such as parties, eating social gatherings and Malaysian-movie-nights and so on! It is super fun and I am so glad to be a part of such a great community within UTS. I highly suggest you all, newies or odies in a university, to join a group such as MASSA and get connected and involved in student societies and voluntary programs! This will be one of the best times of your life! And I have no regrets since I started university life.


What do you do to reduce stress or enjoy studying?

I need a clean room and space for studying! Also, I make sure I go out with friends and live a balanced life because that helps me to focus more when it comes to actual “study time”.

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

Right now, you might feel like you don’t belong or that Australia is not home. But Sydney is actually incredibly multi-cultural and welcoming of different cultures! Find a community of friends or society that you can plug into. There are so many amazing opportunities here, so get involved and the sky is the limit! I am from New Zealand and never thought I could be an ambassador for Sydney.


What would you say to inspire international students to get better in the future?
I would say: “Find something that makes you passionate and run with it! Keep a positive can-do attitude and don’t be afraid of failure! Be the best you that you can be!”

If I can do it, so can you!”

– Amy Wong

Photo credit: Amy Sumin Wong

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UPDATE: No Fines For Late Census form Submission

Written by Editor’s Picks, News

Last night around 5:00 pm Sydney time, the website stopped responding and the phone lines were down because millions of people who are living, working and studying in Australia were trying to submit their Census form before its due date.


And at 8:00 pm, the website completely crashed because it was overloaded. The system breakdown had left behind numbers of confused and terrified living inhabitants, and the census issue was all over social media platforms last night across Australia with the hashtag #censusfail. Some international students gave up after continually logging and refreshing the Internet server and seeking friends’ assistance.


So is there a fine after all?

After acknowledging the problem, the Census Australia Facebook page has continuously updated their situation and announced “There will be no penalties for completing the Census after August 9. There’s still plenty of time to complete the Census.”


According to Chris Libreri, general manager of the Census and Statistical Network division from “No one has ever been fined for being late with their Census form, the fines are only if you eyes-open refuse to a Census collector.”

ABS has informed people that the final date for completing the Census form is 23rd September 2016. So there is still plenty of time to fill in your accurate information and submit it without a 180 AUD per day fine.

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What if I accidentally threw the letter in the bin or I haven’t received the form or the code?

1/ A Census collector could knock on your door to ask you to complete the form.

2/You can contact the Census Inquiry Service 1300 214 531 (you might have to wait another two days for a call back)

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3/ You can revisit the website to order the form and code online

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

 What exactly is the Census?

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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.

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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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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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Study in Australia: Anupriya Sharma

Written by Your Story

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


Childhood inspiration is always essential

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

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


What are the differences between studying in Australia and India?

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

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


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

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

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


Beaches and wines, please!

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

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


Last Xmas 2015, what did you do?

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

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

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


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

– Anupriya Sharma

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Happy Australia Day

Written by Student Life, Uncategorized

What is Australia Day?

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


Why do we celebrate?

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

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

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

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

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


People are a-historical

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

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


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

It’s all of these things.

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



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The 6 Best Tips to Make New Friends

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Attend volunteer work outside university or college

Look for a community outside of your university or college area. This makes you become more engage in the surrounding community. You will also get more contact with not only local friends of the same age but also from different age groups. For instance, participating in ISLA’s events is a fantastic way to be exposed to Australian cultures, enhancing your skills and knowledge for future careers.

Participate into clubs and societies 

Sign your name for membership in the clubs or societies that you love during O-week and start participating in their activities. Universities and Colleges have various numbers of clubs and societies and hold weekly or monthly events, such as parties, lunches, trips and tours over the course of a semester. Australian love sun and the beach, so joining Australian sports clubs is an excellent way to meet Australian students and learn more about the sporting culture of tennis, rugby, cricket or swimming. Playing sports is also a part of Australian culture, and you will get to hang out after every section to encourage bonding team spirit.

Because of the multicultural community, you can find some societies created for a specific culture such as Malaysian student association or Indonesian Association. This will allow you to feel more confident and comfortable in getting to know more local and international students, who can understand and speak you native language.

Get a part-time job or internship position

Landing a part-time job or internship position can help you to expand your connection outside the campus area. You will experience the working environment as it is in Australia. You might engage with many of local colleagues from different backgrounds, and they could originally have a same background as yourself. Even if you are working in a well-known firm or local coffees shop, you will be able to earn extra cash for spending and also find new friendships.

Speak to your housemates or roommates

Australian students sometimes have to move out and live independently in a new area or city to pursue their dream. They eventually live away from their family so you could find local students living in a shared house, a dorm, a student accommodation. When sharing the same roof, a random talk or a simple greeting such as “Hi” or “How are you going today?”, is essentially a great starting point for friendship.

Make friends with other international students

Exchanging cultures and cuisines from other internationals students with different backgrounds is an alternative to understanding the Australian culture. So do not only focuses on your native but also meet other students from different countries also. Befriending with other international students might be easier since you are in the same boat and have a willingness to explore and enhance your knowledge about the new country.

Be proactive, stay positive, smile, be confident and JUST DO IT.

Be confident about yourself

It can be just a little harder to connect with Australian students, but do not give up. You might be surprised to learn that local student might also feel the same way about befriending with international students. Everyone needs to learn new cultures, find and make new friends. So you are never alone. There is no difference between international and local students.

Source: from ISLA city of sydney / Police NSW/Cao Tim/ Danny/ and Khoa Tran

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