As an international student, Cheuk Yin Wai is all too familiar with the highs and lows of living abroad.
The Chinese student, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Architectural Engineering) at Victoria University (VU), says cultural disparities and local employment barriers can oftentimes present challenges for international students.
But by studying at VU, he says these challenges have become opportunities.
“As an international student, one of the hardest things we have to overcome is not having any knowledge of the local culture,” Cheuk says.
“Thankfully, VU has given me lots of opportunities.”
“I joined VU Vollies [the University’s volunteering program] to gain more knowledge of the local culture and now I know how the team operates and organises events, I understand more about Australian culture.
“It’s not as hierarchical here. In China, people judge you a lot more, but here it’s more inspiring and you have more freedom.
“As an international student, it can also be hard to get a job in Australia but VU provides employment support and mentoring from people who work in the industry.
“Even if I don’t get a job, I’ve had opportunities to go to interviews which is really valuable.”
Now in his third year of the course, Cheuk says he chose VU for the course structure, and Australia for its connection to many leading architectural firms around the world.
“VU is one of the only universities to offer a bachelor degree that combines different streams of engineering in the first year so you can explore a variety of topics and find your strength.
“Australia is a great place to study engineering because it’s so globally connected, and I think I will find it easier to get a job when I return home because of Australia’s close ties with China.”