International Students 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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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.

Featured image credit:

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University of Sydney Art School merges with UNSW

Written by Editor’s Picks, News

Recent changes have occured for students at the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA), University of Sydney’s visual art faculty.

Students taking art courses and degrees at SCA will be transferred to the University of New South Wales, starting first semester of 2017. The consultation and communication process on this agreement is ongoing with SCA Staff.


Undergraduate students at SCA were informed about this change on Tuesday. The students can choose between continuing the degree with SCA until graduation or transfer to a UNSW degree/course (UNSW’s Art & Design school), which will be run by UNSW.

However, for SCA Master’s and PhD students, there has been no confirmation as of yet regarding whether UNSW or SCA will supervise their theses and projects.


If this agreement with UNSW does not proceed, the University is planning to transfer SCA to the main campus under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, according to Deputy Vice-Chancellor Tyrone Carlin.



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Changes in Student Visa from 1st July 2016

Written by Editor’s Picks, News

Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection has announced a new change for student visa application, starting from 1st July 2016.

There will be only one student visa when studying in Australia as visa subclass 500 no matter the differences of your study field.

So after 1st July 2016, when you apply for student visa for your Master degree, you will hold student visa subclass 500. If someone was to apply for a Bachelor degree, they will also have the same visa subclass as yours.

Your family members, who may want to join you in Australia during your study period, will also hold the visa subclass 500 after the 1st July 2016.

Students, holding a current visa subclass from 570 to 576, will remain valid and the change will not impact on the conditions and rights of the current visa status.

For more information please check BORDER.GOV.AU or email VOIS for assistance.

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10 short funny English Jokes

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

1/A: Doctor, how can I live longer than 100 years?

Do you smoke?
Do you eat too much?

Do you go to bed late?

Do you have affairs with promiscuous women?

Then why would you want to live more than 100 years?


2/How can I open a Banana

With a Monkey!


3/What’s the best place to hide a body?

Page two of Google!

4/A man noticed his credit card has been stolen  but he never reported it. The thief was still spending less than his wife



Teacher: “Kids, what does the fluffy chicken give you?”

Students: “Eggs!”

Teacher: “Very good! Now what does the pink pig give you?”

Students: “Bacon!”

Teacher: “Great! And what does the fat cow give you?”

Students: “Homework!”


6/When your mom sits on an iPhone it becomes an Ipad

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7/What does ‘IDK’ means?

I don’t know

OMG, no one knows!

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8/Don’t break anybody’s ear, they only have one.

Break their bones, they have 206

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9/”One day our country will be corruption free”. Which tense we should use in English?


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10/Waiter: Would you like your coffee black?
Customer: What other colors do you have?

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Chicken dumpling snack: Steamed Momos

Written by Entertainment, Student Life

This dish I absolutely love. Why? Well because it looks great, it’s convenient to eat and tastes oh so good. This dish isn’t hard to make. Just a little bit of practice and we all can be professional cooks of Momos ! However, they do take some time to make, so ensure that you have a good couple of hours to complete this dish. These snacks are great for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They’re also a great picnic snack, party food and really convenient for people who work a lot and have only short breaks in their workplaces.


A little history on Momos:
They originated from Nepal and Tibet but are a very common fast food in Nepal, North and Northeastern India, Sikkim and Darjeeling. You could say Momos are like dumplings with a Nepalese twist.

So without further ado, I shall tell you how you can make these little packages of delight.

For the skin of the Momos:


4 cups flour

1 to 1 1/2 cup of water (approximate)


  1. Put the flour into a large bowl and make a pit in its center like a well.
  2. Add water slowly and gradually and mix it until the dough can hold itself together.
  3. Knead the dough until it is firm and supple (kneading it for a couple of minutes gives better results)
  4. Flatten the dough completely into a thin yet firm layer.
  5. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out equal shaped wrappers.

For the filling of the Momos:


1 lb minced chicken

I chopped small onion

2 stalk spring onion

small pinch of cilantro

1 tablespoon oil

2 table spoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon oyster sauce

salt and pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients into a bowl using your hands and add teaspoons of water to keep the mixture wet.
  2. Lay the wrappers flat and moisten the edges with water.
  3. Place the filling onto the centre of the wrapper so that there is a 1 or 2 cm border
  4. Pinch the edges of the wrapper together to make a fringe
  5. Put the momos into steamer and wait until they seem dry. If they feel sticky, they need a little more steaming.

Keep practicing and trying and one day you’ll get the perfect plate of Momos.

Good luck!

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Expectations vs Reality for International Students

Written by Editor’s Picks, Student Life

Before passing through the customs gate and lining up to get your seat on a plane, maybe you thought studying overseas would be all in pink, red and yellow colors. But, once you step out of the airport, challenges and hardships are ahead because you are living on your own now. Accommodation, jobs, making friends and finding love are four obstacles that you will have to seriously face despite all the colors.

1/ Shares Houses or Shared Rooms?

Expectations: You move to a share house or a shared apartment with other friends in order to save on living cost

Reality: You realise that your room is as big as Harry Potter’s room under the stairs.

My life studying in Australia

My life studying in Australia

Expectations: It’s going to be fun, since everyone will always share cooking, cleaning and party time fairly with each other

Reality: The next day you might find your bacon, your eggs or your leftover meal missing from the fridge


Or even your shampoo runs out quickly2310170442_4ed8ba26c2
2/ Getting a dream job?

Expectations: When watching television about studying overseas, university students tend to have part-time jobs in fast food restaurants, coffee shops or bars. giphy (16)

Reality: However, you need to pay a decent amount of money to be certified when working in bars, clubs or even cafes. Despite getting the certificate, you are required to have previous experience almost everywhere. And fast food restaurants turn out to be a good workplace only for international students under 18 years old.

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Expectations: You thought that getting a part time job within 40 hours of a fortnight restriction could pay for all of your expenses.

Reality: However, you might work even more than 40 hours every fortnight to get cash in hand. You might even be underpaid, but you don’t know it. Or you quietly acknowledge that you work underpaid without fighting for your rights because of misleading threats to your visa status from your boss or your agent. Because of your silence, instant noodles or cheap chicken drumsticks are your daily meals.

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3/ Making lots of local and international friends?

Expectations: You are so in love with Hollywood movies and imagine that when studying overseas, you will have lots of close friends from different countries.10429827_882734098408840_148202098892270080_n

Reality: There might be 20 different nationalities in one tutorial but people prefer to connect with those from the same background. University campuses are massive and the hustle speed moving from different lectures to tutorials is fast. Yet another barrier to your friend target.

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Then, you have to spend extra effort participating in different clubs and societies to get more friends. But you share more hardships, struggles and time together.


In the end, facebook, wechat, whatsup, viber or twitter are the platforms for you to meet new friends virtually or to reconnect with your old friends back home.

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4/Looking for MR.RIGHT or MRS.RIGHT?

Expectations: When you live overseas, you might suddenly fall in love with a stranger at the club, in a bar, in the park or even on the bus

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Reality: Entry to clubs and bars might cost you a fortune, and this is excluding the price of drinks and food. So you might just want to skip this option to meet your charming prince or hot queen.

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If your loved one is still in your hometown, the time differences or unbalanced lifestyle between love, study and work might causes stress. giphy (12)


Even though there are challenges, movies only show a small part of the picture. It is a story with an end. You, on the other hand, are still writing your story. It is always changing; that’s part of the excitement.

A belief in love will beat anything. Life is what you make of it.

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My International Students BBQ Story

Written by Student Life

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Friends renuion

Friends renuion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Case for Airline Ticket Scam Postponed

Written by News, Student Life

A woman under the alias of “Vi Tran” has been accused of dishonest retrieval of finances totaling almost 360 000 AUD. Approximately 300 international students from Sydney and Melbourne were scammed over Facebook, having been promised cheap flight tickets to Vietnam. However, once the fees were transferred, she provided them with an invalid code and disappeared. The victims could no longer get in contact with either “Vi Tran” or their money.


The court opened at 9:30 AM at the Downing Center today (03/02/16) for the initial mention. Among fifty other court cases was “Vi Tran’s”, outlining the allegations and claims made against her. However, her case has been adjourned for another two weeks as per her request so she can seek further legal advice.

At present, the court will continue to gather more evidence until  24/02/16. By that date she must plead guilty or not guilty so preparations for a formal trial can begin.


Some of the student victims who had been anxiously waiting outside the room for news were disappointed upon hearing that the date has been postponed. They could only glimpse “Vi Tran” as she left the court room along with presumably her family and lawyer.


If you are one of the victims or have any further information, please report and contact the Police to assist the investigation.

  1. Contact Sydney City Detectives on (02)92656499
  2. or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000
  3. or Crime Stoppers online reporting page

All the information you provided will be treated in the strictest confidence and translators from all different languages are provided. Police advise to not report crimes via social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.

photos: Thi Tran

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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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