It all started 10 years ago when my parents gave me an air ticket and asked me to fly to Queensland to study. No one in my family had ever been to Australia and no one knew what Queensland looked like.

Similar to most of the international students who study away from their homeland, I started my new life here in Queensland by setting everything up by myself and I was forced to adapt to a new style of living and educational environment.

Seeing all my friends back home having so much fun and engaged in their university activities back in Hong Kong, I started to think that it would be a huge loss for me to not be engaged with anything that was being offered. I started with my strength – Dancing. I have a strong background in dancing which helps me to feel comfortable to socialise with people who are keen to dance as well. I got involved in my university dance society and joined the club and ran the club as an executive team member for two years.

 

qut bollywood

(QUT Dance Society Bollywood Dance Performance at QUT Ball 2015)

 

I then realised university education and living in a foreign country is an opportunity for me to explore who am I as an individual and there are so many ways for me to get connected. I started to connect to Study Brisbane and I was fortunate enough to be selected to be one of the Mayoral Student Ambassadors at the time to represent students in Brisbane back in 2016.

 

mayoral student

(Mayor Student Ambassador with Study Brisbane with the Former Lord Mayor of Brisbane Graham Quirk, 2016)

 

 

I got to secure my first job in Australia with QUT Careers and Employment through volunteering with them at first in 2017.

qut careers
(QUT Business Career Expo with QUT Careers and Employment and my supervisor, 2017)

 

And then I was fortunate to be selected to be one of the Student Advisory Panel members with Study Queensland to work closely with the Queensland Government in supporting the development of their International Education and Training strategy, contributing to projects increasing students’ overall employability skills, and addressing the key issues students face living and studying in Queensland in 2019.

 

study queensland

(Queensland International Student Advisory Panel 2019, with Hon Kate Jones MP, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games)

 

I was lucky to visit Toowoomba, Jandowae, and Chinchilla back in 2016 through a student association service-learning opportunity, and I could see that Darling Downs has the potential for me to develop my long-term career and to be a future place of residence. I relocated to Toowoomba in 2019 to undertake a Master of Social Work regional student placement.

Since relocation to Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, I have kept my philosophy of being curious, active and keep connecting and learning from various community members. I have worked in community services, business, education sectors, state government, industry peak bodies, and local government and I am thankful that through my study and work journey, I am able to apply my experience and knowledge to support migrants and shape the economic and community landscape of the region. I have met a lot of supportive mentors and community members throughout my time in Brisbane and in the Darling Downs, and I am grateful that I have been able to form strategic partnerships with businesses, community groups and service providers in creating projects to support our local community. I believe my diverse life and work experience have given me the opportunity to understand individual differences and different industries’ needs to develop mutual collaboration and genuine partnerships with various stakeholders to drive community change and put community interest first.

 

toowoomba chamber

(Engagement with Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce since 2019)

 

migrant students

(Migrant students’ graduation from Certificate II in Community Services, 2021)

 

carnival of flowers

(Carnival of Flowers, Grand Central Floral Parade with Multicultural Australia, 2021, leading 50 community members for the parade with the Minister of Child Safety, Youth Justice, and Multicultural Affairs Leanne Linard MP)

 

harmony

(Harmony Day 2021 in Toowoomba, in partnership with Toowoomba Regional Council Youth Connect and Toowoomba International Multicultural Society.)

 

study toowoomba

(Study Toowoomba Launch 2019)

 

As an ex-international student who has been recently appointed as a Member of the Multicultural Queensland Advisory Council by the Minister of Multicultural Affairs Queensland, I hope my appointment to the Council can set a precedent for migrant youth and continue to contribute back to supporting the multicultural community through advocating for the needs of migrants, particularly on regional settlement needs in the Darling Downs. International Education has offered me a new life and a new chapter in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs, I am grateful for having such a wonderful journey and I can’t wait to see where my education and experience will take me in the future.

 

western down

(Attended Dalby Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Award 2023 with the Western Downs Regional Council Team.)

 

 

unisq

(Photo taken at University of Southern Queensland by UniSQ photographer David Martinelli)

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