international student in Australia
Kai Qin Huan basking in the sun at Moreton Island in Queensland. Source: Kai Qin Huan

Many reasons compel students from all corners of the globe flock to Australia. A globally-recognised qualification, stunning landscapes, a high standard of living — these draw scores of international students to brave the journey of several thousand miles to Australia every year. But for those who are interested in studying in the Land Down Under, some might wonder what it’s like to be an international student in Brisbane?

That’s one question Kai Qin Huan is well poised to answer. 

It wasn’t long after landing in Australia that she quickly discovered all that’s been said about the country is true.

The 22-year-old Malaysian is studying at the Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. The capital of Queensland hosts the third-largest number of international students among all Australian states.

So, what’s it like to be an international student in Brisbane? Here’s what Huan has to say:

Tell us about yourself. Why did you choose to study abroad?

I wasn’t planning to leave to study abroad but because I studied in Singapore since primary school, and I thought I wouldn’t be offered a university place in Singapore, so I chose to apply for an overseas university that is relatively easier to get in, haha!   

international student in Australia

Huan studies at Queensland University of Technology, which is located in Brisbane, Queensland. Source: Kai Qin Huan

Why did you choose to study in Brisbane? What do you like most about studying here?

I chose to come to Australia because it is closer to home as compared to the UK, and Brisbane’s weather is not too extreme like in Sydney and Melbourne. 

What I like most about studying here is that I was able to become more independent as compared to when I was back home/when I studied in Singapore as I cross the border to go home [to Malaysia] everyday, and I also learn a lot more Malay [Malaysia’s national language] when I made Muslim friends here and joined the Malaysian Student Association and became one of the committee members afterwards. 

Overall, I feel that coming over here to study [has] made me a better person holistically. 

international student in Australia

Studying abroad gives students an opportunity to explore the tourist attractions in their new ‘home’. Huan is pictured in Montville. Source: Kai Qin Huan

What are you studying and why? 

I am doing a double major in accounting and finance. 

I am interested in the field of business and how the financial market works, hence I took up finance as my first major. 

I took accounting as my second major afterwards because I feel that it is a skill that many employers look for in the job market.

Tell us about your most memorable time at Queensland University of Technology?

My most memorable time at QUT would be when I was doing the last unit of my finance major, also known as the Financial Capstone. 

It is one of the most abstract subjects and I was meeting with my groupmates almost every single day and having heated debates over our points to pick the best points to include in our presentation. 

We forged tight bonds after the group project and met up for movie dates and meals from time to time! But it was the time when we were having debates, supporting and encouraging each other that was the most memorable as we had been through the hard times together and celebrated our fruit of labour together at the end of the semester. 

international student in Australia

As an international student in Brisbane, Huan gets to step out of her comfort zone and try new things. Source: Kai Qin Huan

What are your top recommendations or advice to others who are planning to study abroad in Australia? 

I would say, do consider the city you want to study at carefully. 

Some of the cities here are really interesting and are always holding events. It is good, and definitely attractive to students like us. 

It is also important for us to always remember our priority, which is to study well here in Australia. Some of my friends in other cities seem to forget their purpose here and lost themselves, only to regret when they were to their graduation that they did not put in the effort that they should in their studies and spent too much time and energy endorsing themselves into the entertaining lives here. 

Also, I would recommend anyone who is coming to Australia to further their studies to research the courses offered in universities thoroughly, to make sure that it is something you really want to learn, as you will be paying for the school fees and you want to learn something from it. 

Lastly, consider your study plans wisely and plan early!! You do not want to find out that you cannot enrol into a particular unit because it wasn’t offered in your last semester and have to defer your graduation! 

What are your plans for the future?

I would stay here and apply for a graduate visa first to earn some overseas working experience before heading back home.

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