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.
“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