International at Griffith: Episode One
Wil Yeung is a 22-year-old student who hails from Hong Kong. She came to Australia in 2015 to pursue a degree in Public Relations and Event Management at Griffith University. She describes herself as someone who loves to travel and swears that she can ‘out dance’ anyone in the room.
Ola: Welcome Wil! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today.
Wil: You’re welcome Ola! My pleasure.
Ola: So I’m going to jump straight into it! Did you always know you wanted to come to Australia to study?
Wil: No. It was my family who suggested I study in Australia. They told me Australia had a lot of opportunities and the quality of life was better. I knew Australia would provide me with a better future, and I took their advice.
Ola: Australia is relatively big. You could’ve chosen to study in a big city like Melbourne or Sydney, so, why did you choose the Gold Coast, and more specifically Griffith University?
Wil: That’s right. Those two cities were definitely an option. However, I realised if I was going to study abroad, I wanted to go to a place completely unfamiliar. Hong Kong is very busy and crowded, and sometimes it can get overwhelming. I felt that would be the case with Sydney and Melbourne. Gold Coast is beautiful because it has a mix of both, as in it is peaceful and quiet but at the same time its lively.
Ola: Was it hard for you when you first came here?
Wil: It was difficult for me to make friends at the beginning. The language barrier is a big problem for me since English is not my first language. But soon enough, I met lots of nice people in my classes. Australian students were very understanding, they were patient with me, which felt nice. I was very conscious of my English skills, so knowing people were willing to slow down and be patient with me was a very comforting feeling.
Ola: That’s great! I’m glad you met good people. Did you join any special clubs or go to events on campus to meet people?
Wil: I joined the Griffith Christian Students club. Everyone there is so nice and they always invite me to join them in different activities. Not only the fellowship activities, but they also usually ask me to play ball games, go hiking or have BBQ nights with them. They usually come to me first to ask, “How are you?” “How was the assignment?” “Any difficulties with the Bible studies?” It is so warm! So yeah the clubs helped me meet lots of students different nationalities and backgrounds there and it was so much fun!
Ola: As you’re graduating very soon, would you say you enjoyed your time at university?
Wil: Yes, I really enjoyed my university life. It’s an amazing experience since I can meet people from different countries, have culture exchanges and test my limits. Due to the fact that Griffith is an international university, I made lots of friends during these three years. It’s difficult to have these experiences if you don’t study abroad. Many of my lecturers and tutors were nice to me, and always supported me and told me to just keep going when things got tough! They helped me get through the past three years.
Ola: Are you planning on staying here after graduation?
Wil: Yes! Hopefully I can get work after I graduate and eventually settle down here!
Ola: Finally, what advice would you give to someone who was considering studying in Australia or more specifically at Griffith?
Wil: Griffith is a university that welcomes international students. You’ll definitely face challenges but it’s worth it. You’ll meet new people, learn how to work with people from different backgrounds and discover your true abilities.
During your time at Griffith, you will learn things differently and explore yourself more! So don’t be afraid to come!
The series aims to amplify the voices of the international students at Griffith University. Providing us with the opportunity to gain an in depth insight into the international student experience. This will be achieved by helping us catch sight of the dreams, aspirations and expectations of these young adults who left their home country behind in search of a new adventure.
If you want to read more stories from international students, or students who are engaged with the global community, you can visit Griffith International’s blog, Explore. You can also get involved by joining Griffith Mates – applications are open now!
A little information about the author:
My name is Ola Khalil, I’m 21 years old and I came to Australia two years ago, to commence a degree in PR & Communications at Griffith. I would call myself a rap music enthusiast and someone who loves adventure.
It would be an understatement to say that these past two and a half years were a whirlwind, so it’s definitely been a wild ride. Through this series, I want to bring you the stories of those who have left home and familiarity, in pursuit of a new adventure in Australia. I hope you enjoy the series!