internationalstudents Tag Archive

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)

This was how Facebook was done back in the day (

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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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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.

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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


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

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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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“I Don’t Like It” – English Tips

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

When someone offer you something or share with you an idea about a particular thing, but you “don’t like it”. How could you express it to them verbally without hurting their feeling or showing a disrespectful manner? Using the wrong English expression or phrases might damage your relationship with other international friends, who you can only use English to communicate with them. You may even cause serious consequences when replying to strangers.


So, instead of saying “NO, I DON’T LIKE IT,” here are some other phrases in English that you may want to note.

“That’s not for me.”

“I’ll give this a pass.”

“Thanks for your offer, I am afraid that I am not a big fan of it.”

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“I’m not interested in that.”

“I might take it into consideration”

“Let me have a think about it.”


“I appreciate your thought, but…….”

“That’s a fascinating idea, however……”

“I might give it as a rain check.”

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“No, thank you.”

“I’m alright, thanks.”

“That’s very lovely, but thank you.”


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Youth Leadership Conference 2016

Written by Editor’s Picks, News, Student Life

Australia is ranked in the top 10 places for entrepreneurship and opportunities due to a multicultural living environment and the open migration policy of the government.  According to international rankings released last week, Australia is the second best place in the world to be for female entrepreneurs.


More and more young local and international university or high-school students are starting to establish their own start-up business and are taking leadership positions in numerous clubs, societies or non-profit organizations in Australia.

However, many people have given up their dreams and passion for taking a lead because they are struggling to find the right person to ask for help when facing hardships and challenges during their journey.

Especially with international students, some of them have great time-management and problem-solving abilities to help them become amazing and charismatic leaders; but they are lacking confidence and are shy because of their backgrounds; even with “fluent” and “proficient” English speaking capability.  They might miss out on the chance to find themselves and enjoy their time while studying in Australia.


The Youth Leadership Conference 2016 hosted by the City of Sydney and ISLA (International Student Leadership Ambassadors) is a great chance for young leaders within New South Wales to seek professional and mental support,  with millions of dollars worth of advice and unexpected networks.

At the conference, participants have the chance to ask many questions to the panel (such as Nicole Lamb from Owlkeyme, Phil White from Fundamental, Simon Jankelson from The Human Sound Project, Thea Soutar from Youth Food Movement and Pola Fanous from Insert Title or Organization).

There will be a fun dance performance from Owlkeyme and lots of free workshops to enhance your leadership skills.  Participants also receive a great lunch and sweet treats from the City Council.



More information about Youth Leadership Conference 2016:
When: 9:30am registration for 10am start and 5pm close
Lunch will be provided
Cost: Free – bookings essential!


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Study In Australia: Dann Nguyen

Written by Your Story

Meet The An Huy Nguyen, otherwise known as Dann Nguyen. He is a Vietnamese international student, the main singer of “The Calligraphers” band and an adviser of VIET Youth Australia. Here’s what he had to say about his experiences:

Why did you choose Australia? 

Choosing a place oversea to follow your dream is hard, but I am always eager to learn about Western cultures, new knowledge and techniques in a course related to music industry. Apart from looking for a high-quality school/institution, you will have to see if the place you are going to is safe and saving enough or not. After taking ages to conduct my personal research, I decided to go to Australia instead of the America because:

1/ Australia is a safe country.
2/ I can work part-time legally.

So I landed in Australia and well, this is an “open-minded society”. I mean it because it is where people do not care about your appearances, abilities and the way you behaves, as well as there is no gossip and creating a network for business is easier.

“You are not a tree to stay in a place” 


Tell us a bit about your academic experiences:

I finished high school back in Vietnam and right after that moved to Australia with my passion for acoustic music in February 2015. Since I was under 18 years old at the time, I started with a Foundation program in UTS: Insearch, and graduated with quite a high grade. Honestly, I found Foundation very easy. Future students not to be apprehensive about it. Some tips to survive:

  • You just need to work very carefully and notice the details about English —> It is ALL about English!
  • Try to be financially stable! —> Learn to cook, home-cooked food is good and cheaper!
  • Take more risks and be open!
  • Do not skip many classes

After the Foundation program, I then took one semester of ‘Bachelor of Sound and Music Design’ in the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), skipping all the core subjects and theory classes because I was so excited to learn about what I could do. However, I felt as though I needed a more hands-on experience and so transferred to SAE Institute, majoring in Audio Engineering to save time and money on the way to reaching my dream.

“Do not care about haters. Because you have your values”


How would you describe yourself?

I am a bold, daring, optimistic and confident person! I am not afraid of taking risks and doing what I am keen on. I defined it as my pros and cons, as it helped me to ignore public opinion and focus on myself and what I love. However, it also makes myself become quite a bit hurry and hasty when handling problems that I always think it has nothing to worry about.

I have an endless love with acoustic music and guitar. And my dream is to be able to create an acoustic guitar brand. Therefore, I chose to study the “Bachelor of Sound and Music Design” at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). This subject and major are pretty hard to find in Vietnam, so with a passion for acoustic music and guitar, I came to Australia, enroled in the top university in this major to pursue my ultimate goal of my life.

Remember: “You are you! Do not be fake!”


You mentioned that you were in a band, how did your passion for music start?

Since I was in high school, I joined many music clubs, set up Phu Nhuan Acoustic Club. I also recently won first place in “VIET Youth Has Talents 2015” with my band “The Calligraphers”. After I came to Sydney, I also joined all Vietnamese student music events such as “VDS Gala” and “VietYouth got talents” (I call it ‘enthusiasm’), and am currently an adviser for the organisation of “Viet Youth Australia”. I also still keep in touch with my team in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) despite the distance and different time zones. I mainly write their training contents with the knowledge I gained from reading books or by asking famous international Vietnamese students, and create useful projects for the students about things such as the ‘Mindset’ and being an ‘Entrepreneur’.


What is some advice you can give to other international students?

“Do not wait for an opportunity. Find it or create it yourself.” I like this quote because it can be applied to anyone, in any situation and think it is especially inspirational to artists. Although I love Vietnam, I still wanted to leave and find an opportunity to bring new air to my homeland’s music industry. I love my country’s music and desire to do something new, to proofread the acoustic music. The music industry in Australia is all filled up; even Westerners cannot get a job. In Vietnam, the music taste of young people is westernised.

At the moment, I am having a three-month holiday before the new semester starts at SAE. I took a chance during this long holiday to come back Vietnam and prepare for my treasured event as a director of “Ngan Ngo – The Concert”. This concert, in the form of musical theatre, is to orient new thinking about arts to young people and enhance their knowledge of humanities. All music clubs from every high school in Ho Chi Minh City will be able to contribute to this enormous project and perform at Hoa Binh Theatre which can fit up to 2000 people.

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“There are 7 billion people so why don’t you be confident?

It is not about who you are; it is about you.

Because you are different!”

– Dann Nguyen

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Yes and No with a Dishwasher

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

When I first came to Australia and lived with an Australian host family, there is one thing that I have only heard and seen the American movies. The dishwasher. Honestly, I don’t know to use it. What can or can I not put in? Here’s a list of things that can save your dishwasher and other kitchen utensils from improper use. 

Never put these in:

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1/ Chopping boards, cutlery or cooking tools made of wood/bamboo

The hot water and dry cycle of the dishwasher will cause the wood to swell and crack. Scrub your wooden utensils and chopping boards with a mixture of bleach and cold water to kill the bacteria. 

2/ Kitchen and steak knives
Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive on the sharp edge. During a cycle of washing, they might bang to each other to cause scratches and nicks on the blade. Just quickly hand wash it and put it on the rack to dry (it will take only 2 minutes or less)

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3/ Plastic containers or utensils
Heat from the hot water and the dry cycle can possibly warp your plastic bottles out of shape. Moreover, it’s quite expensive to pay for plastic containers in Australia.

4/ Any labelled bottles or jars
The dishwashing detergent can pull off any labels on your bottles or jars. This little rubbish might clog your drain during its disposal flow. You might ignore this small thing but the trash can build up. In the end, you might have to call and pay a technician to repair your dishwasher.

5/ Disposable Aluminum

This just might be the biggest never of the list. A dishwasher works like cookware, such as a microwave. What happens if you put disposable aluminium in there? Black marks. Yes, it leaves black marks.

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 Put these in at your-own-risk:

1/ Nonstick pots or pans
The surface of some nonstick pans or pots might be damaged as it bangs on others during the washing process. You may risk its nonstick quality in the long term. 

2/ Vintage Plates/ Bowls/ Mugs
Hot water, water pressure and detergents can eat away its hand-painted decorated details. A majority of these are quite expensive to repurchase.

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3/ Cheese Grater
You might find your cheese still stuck in the holes after finishing its washing cycle. So don’t waste time with the dishwasher, since you have to hand-wash it later on. Simply hand washing it with soap. Easy and Quick!
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Finally, I have decided to follow my mum and the traditional style…handwash!! If your skin is sensitive, please remember to wear gloves when washing and dry your hands immediately once you finish. You don’t want to spend heaps of money to buy expensive hand lotion or to visit your PG.

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Connecting with Parents when studying overseas

Written by Student Life

When you first arrive to a new country, you tend to feel homesick. In the first few months you might call your parents every single day. Or you might be the type to forget to pick up a call from your parents, being so excited to be away from them for the first time in your life. But then you starts to call them more as you will miss them at some point.

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Once you get busy with your assignments, part-time jobs and voluntary activities, you might call parents less and less. So parents sometimes complain: “Why don’t you call me anymore?” Or they might become every worried. So here are a few tips and tricks to not only reassure them that you are alright but also to express your love and care to them.

1.Setting up a date schedule with your parents:

Time differences make it so hard for you to connect with parents. When you are about to sleep, parents start having their dinner or when you are free parents are busy working.


“Normally, I call them every fortnight around dinner time, and mom shares with me all of her amazing food.” Make a specific time and date with your parents might lessen the hassle for both sides. Or use mobile phone apps for a quick and easy way to  connect. “I do viber with my parents everyday before heading to bed.”

2.Seeking for a new topic to talk about:

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Whenever picking up the phone, a common topic between you and mom would be about food and study; “What did you have for dinner tonight?”, “What did you cook?”, “How’s your study so far” and then a moment of quietness might come in when all the questions have been answered.

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So the conversation might getting bored. Why don’t you open up and tell them about different things such as your first voluntary work in university societies, your cute or hot lecturer or even one of the events that you attend in Sydney, such as Film it and Show it, Moonlight outdoor cinema or Vivid Sydney (these might be once in a lifetime event). These small little things simply makes parents feel more secure as you are safe and sound as well as enjoying your life.

3.Use multiple online communication applications

The advanced technology era introduces a number of free communication applications to maintain our long distance relationship with our friends, partners and importantly with our parents/our beloved family. These days, you might find comment notifications on twitter, facebook or wechat from your parents.

“I snapchat to my mom everyday and it’s quite funny when exchanging our icon.”

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All you need is your phone and free wifi (from the university or from any free public wifi spot) to connect with them. Showing them the street that you are walking by or the food that you are cooking. These helps you to shorten the distance with parents.

4.Getting good phone or mobile deals:

My mom always said: “Don’t call me by phone, just text or call me through skype/ viber, it’s cheaper” –  “Don’t worry mom I have around 500 dollars credit for calling,” I replied.giphy (3)

In Australia, there are so many mobile providers with good deals for consumers, especially for students. Mobile plans with provided data on 3G or 4G and unlimited international/national call paid monthly around 30 or 50 dollars lessen your financial stress. You don’t have to watch out the time while speaking with your parents on the phone. “It costs only 7 cent per minute to call my parents.”

5.Sending postcards, handwritten letters or card:

Going back to the older style when our ancestors didn’t have access to the internet or social media – using birds to send letters, notifications or news to others. Well, you don’t have to train your bird now that the post office exists, internationally and nationally. Although, posting is quite expensive in Australia compared to other countries, for only 2 or 3 dollars stamps, you can send a small card to parents internationally.

“Instead of calling parents to give my wish on their wedding celebration, I and my sister did a homemade card and posted it to them.”

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“My dad said when mom received a card on mother’s day, she shed her tears.”  So sometimes, written words can speak for themselves.

6.Don’t forget to tell them “I LOVE YOU”:

Regardless of your nationality, your family’s wealth or your parents’ social status, as international students, we all understand that our parents have to work hard and tighten their budget or trade of their dream to financially support each individual dream to be here in studying in Australia. Saying “I LOVE YOU” not only displays our appreciation but also shows them your love, care and maturity.



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No English or Work Requirements for SA’s International Graduates?

Written by Editor’s Picks, News

Yesterday, Tuesday, 1st March 2016, the Government of South Australia has updated a new waiving rule to help International Graduates in South Australia easily get State Nomination 190 or General Skilled Migration Visa 489.

Firstly, you must be an international graduate of South Australia, your South Australian qualification must be in the same field as your nominated occupation (Supplementary Skilled List Occupations or Special Conditions apply occupation), you must meet all the requirements.


No English and Work Experience Requirement?

“Immigration SA’s work experience and English language requirements” could be waived if you have satisfied section 9.4 of the new obligation for Work Experience waiver and exemptions in South Australia for International Graduate in HIGH PERFORMING GRADUATE:

9.4 You can access a work experience waiver for both occupation lists if you meet one of the following high performing graduate categories. You will need to be currently residing in South Australia and have completed one of the following qualifications from a South Australian public university (within the last two years) with the required Grade Point Average (GPA) listed below:

  • Completed a PhD or Masters by Research
  • GPA of 6.0 or above in a Bachelor Degree
  • First Class Honours in a dedicated Honours year (following completion of a Bachelor degree in South Australia)
  • GPA of 6.0 or above in Masters by Coursework degree (following completion of a Bachelor degree in South Australia).

The three South Australian public universities are: Flinders University, University of Adelaide and University of South Australia.

If you are a high performing graduate from a private higher education provider in South Australia, further information is available.

However, the requirement to meet English and work experience for your skills assessment and registration should be met before applying for State Nomination or Skilled Migration Visa.

If you are unfamiliar with the GPA calculator in South Australia universities and colleges,  GPA 6.0 stands for Distinction rate on your qualification under the nominated occupation. The calculator of GPA is here.


BUT, why do you need a State Nomination?

The benefits of state nominations are:

  • Priority visa processing with the Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP).
  • You’ll receive 5 points for a 190 – Skilled Nominated visa towards the DIBP points test.
  • You’ll receive 10 points for a 489- Skilled Regional Provisional visa towards the DIBP points test.
  • Access to a more extensive occupation list.
  • An opportunity to live and work in a city ranked the 5th most liveable in the world.
  • Information and services from the State Government to help you settle in South Australia and find employment.

Source: From Migration South Australia

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Study in Australia: Serena Dong

Written by Your Story

Serena Dong is currently a writer in VOIS Magazine as an editorial intern. This amazing girl is taking a Bachelor of Communications and Journalism at University of New South Wales in Sydney. She described her identity as “mixed”, different from what most people would call themselves. She concluded: “I can not identify myself with one specific place because I don’t have just one home”.

Serena was born in China but studied primary school in New Zealand for 4 years before moving back to China to study at an American Private school, absorbing a mixture of American and British culture. Now, she is here in Australia for her bachelor degree since February 2015. As a result of her background, she can speak Chinese and English fluently.

Although Serena enjoyed her years in New Zealand and China, she craved for a new environment to establish a vibrant university life. Upon a trip to Australia in September 2014, Serena fell in love with the people and most importantly, the University of New South Wales. After living in different countries for so many years, Serena freely shares her perspectives on the differences between China and New Zealand:

  • New Zealand is so clean that you can walk on bare feet and the people living here are well-mannered
  • China is not clean and you will have to wear shoes, the people are pretty rude (e.g: aggressive drivers go forwards at the same time).

Overall, Serena she loves the life she has now in Australia with her new friends and of course, her boyfriend.

How has studying overseas changed yourself?

In Australia, Serena started to live all by herself for the first time without her family. It is hard, but it has taught her how to get used to things, learn skills to explore many places and to be independent. Many first times such as cooking, washing the dishes, dealing with bad manners and problems, contacting for help when something in the house needs to be fixed.

And, unexpectedly, studying in Australia is a lot harder than Serena thought. It is due to her high academic success in primary school in New Zealand that she believed in would be similar the university. However, failing her first uni assignment at UNSW woke her up to become more motivated and focused. Serena’s thinking changed eventually. She knows that she has to try harder due to the advantages of receiving financial support. In short, Serena took every opportunity that she came across.

Talking inspiringly about Journalism

  • If you are starting to hate this major, remember that practice will make it better
  • Write with passion because writing is a way to express yourself
  • Being a part of the news industry helps you keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the world

If you are a UNSW student, why don’t you try to join Blitz magazine like Serena? It will help you to get to know more people even celebrities. Serena said that she had an awesome experience with Blitz where she was fortunate enough to interview and write articles of Jane Saville (Australian Olympian in race walking), Greg Behrendt (American comedian, actor, and writer). “You’ll love it,” said Serena. “It was pretty cool!”

Overcoming homesickness and choosing your way:

  • Make good friends with different backgrounds to go through hard times, to hang out and share cultures
  • Call parents whenever you feel like you need to.
  • Keep in touch with high school mates. They will give advice and be there for you.
  • A partner can comfort and mentally support you as well
  • Experience life – go for beaches (e.g: Bondi, Coogee), tasty cuisine, cool coffee shops, amusement parks, zoos, picnics and barbecues in the park.

What is your next step in the next few years?

“I do not want to be so sure about the future.”

Serena has plans to live in the moment right now, but also has plans to stay and work in Australia for a few years after graduating. She’s excited for the days when she add more countries to her list of travels which already include Hawaii, Las Vegas, Yellowstone National Park and various cities around China. America or London are other potential work destinations since the publication industry is well-developed there. Time management skills, film industry, and public relations knowledge are also other areas Serena intends to improve on in the future.

What is your new year’s resolution?

“Drink more water, be healthy. Get a job and save money. Work hard in university.”

What would you say to inspire international students?

“Do not be shy. Interact with locals. Branch out. Make new friends. Learn different cultures and languages.”

“Brace yourself before starting anything.”

– Serena Dong



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