A return to Adelaide

profile-pic by Ary

Six years ago I studied accounting at the University of South Australia (UniSA). I lived in Adelaide with my family and it was such a good experience I decided to return for more.

But along my way to Adelaide, I felt like I was being plunged into a new world. I kept asking myself, am I ready for this? This is going to be my first long journey alone without my family.

After a 5.5 hours flight, I arrived at Adelaide at 6.30am. I stepped confidently onto the concourse at the airport and felt like I was coming home after 6 years. Adelaide is my second home.


To settle in Adelaide was not hard as it is not a big city and the people are friendly. With an excellent environment, Adelaide is a good place to study.  The government really supports students. For instance, the Lord Mayor invites new students to a welcoming party and they also provide concession tickets for students. With many various ethnic groups living in multicultural Adelaide, it is not surprising that Adelaide is well known as a City of Cultural Festivals.

I was so excited! At 3.30pm, the same day, I went to UniSA’s City West campus to meet my supervisors for the first time. They welcomed me and introduced me to all the lecturers and staff, then showed me around the building and arranged for my office. I thought, “Wow, I am going to have my own office, this is so cool!”

At first I had no idea how to deal with my PhD study. My mind was blurred. But, I believed, it was not the end of the world as UniSA has an excellent studying environment, a wide range of resources and not to mention, sophisticated buildings.

AryThe Research Degree Centre and the School of Commerce have played a big part in helping me settle in. They have given me valuable information, such as the orientation and a lot of workshops on embarking on this never-ending and challenging world (PhD). The people at UniSA are so warm and helpful. My supervisors are very supportive and always teaching me about their passions.  The weekly meeting set up by my supervisors pushes me to discipline myself and makes study (reading and writing) become a habit.

I remind myself of a quote from a fellow PhD student, Tracey, which encourages me to go along this journey “the university actually is there to support you”. This is very true, as even at the starting point, I am experiencing the support services.



Australian Summer Holidays – Adelaide to Gold Coast

60x57_Andy by Andy

Here we are in March – the main semester has already started – welcome back to uni! Assignments and essays are waiting for you haha! For the newcomers, a big and warm welcome to Adelaide and UniSA!

While lectures and school work return to our daily life, it still takes a bit of time to get rid of the holiday mood doesn’t it? How was your summer holiday? Guess where I went on mine?

Gold Coast!

Australia has many awesome coastlines and Gold Coast is definitely one of them. Sunshine and water sports are obviously the things you first think of when talking about Gold Coast and with 57km of coastline this is your paradise. Beaches include South Stradbroke Island, Main Beach, Palm Beach, Coolangatta and lots more.

Gold Coast is a city in Queensland, the second largest city in the state and the most populous non-capital city…. Okay okay, I know it is boring and sometimes photos are better than words – here you go!


pic3The skyscraper in the Southern Hemisphere

You may wonder how I took this photos? The answer is the Q1 building (Queensland Number One) which until  April 2011 was the tallest residential building in the world. With a ticket you can jump on the express elevator and it will bring you to the observation deck SkyPoint on level 77 in 43 seconds. If you are looking for something more exciting you can book a Skypoint Climb and climb even higher than the observation deck. It’s the highest external building walk in this country.

pic4I lived in an apartment in Surfers Paradise. This area is a fantastic place to stay – you are close to the beach, public transport, shops, restaurants, banks, you name it. There are lists of accommodation you can find from very affordable hostels to luxurious hotels.

One of the largest Gold Coast night markets, the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets, takes place every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night. There are over a hundred stalls and it is a nice place whether you are a treasure hunter or after-dinner walker.

If you want to shop big, Gold Coast has several large shopping malls and outlets like Pacific Shopping Fair, Australia Fair Shopping Centre in Southport and Robina Town Centre.

pic11Transportation is quite easy in Gold Coast. You can rent a car but if you don’t drive, don’t worry, the system in Queensland is similar to the one in South Australia (SA). GoCard, instead of Metro Card in SA, works exactly the same. You can purchase the card in any convenience store or tourist info centre. From my experience, SA students are not eligible for concession fares in Queensland.

Theme parks

Gold Coast is well-known for having many fantastic theme parks: Warner Bros. Movie World, Dreamworld, Sea World and Magic Mountain. There are fascinating amusement rides and awesome shows (To be honest, the roller coaster is way too much for me. I’ll watch some shows instead…). Tickets can be purchased online before departure or  you can easily get tickets from travel agents and tourist centres when you arrive. Sometimes you may find discounts and good deals.

There is a tiger show in Dreamworld.  Tigers like milk! And you may not know it but tigers can climb! 

How about eating? It is an important part of any travel! Okay, this time I found two restaurants which are really awesome. One is called Amimoto Japanese restaurant in Surfers Paradise. The owner is Japanese and the foods are so fresh and tasty with really affordable prices. This place is fairly difficult to notice as it is located in a small cross lane. The other one is in Southport called DaeBark Korean restaurant Amazing food and not expensive. Many local Koreans go there as well. Yet the location of this restaurant on google map is wrong. It is at the location around 55 Nerang St. Better call to confirm before you go.

One more restaurant apart from Asian food is Hurricane’s Grill wihch has very nice steak and rib. It is in Surfers Paradise as well.

In Surfers Paradise you can find many other good restaurants and shops in different styles. Even though you may not be keen on night life like me, it is very relaxing and enjoyable getting nice food, shopping, watching street shows or anything you want to do. This is what I find attractive in a city.

Every trip has imperfection. It has to be, so there is a reason for me to go again. Travel means a lot – a relaxing time, a lovely memory, seeing a new place, a new friend or even a new self.

I enjoy walking when I am travelling so I can have direct contact with the place and I can have a look at how the local people live. This is the way I can feel the city – the real side of a place. I am not a traveller, but I do enjoy travel. At the end of every trip I am excited to plan the next. Because it is the moment I can feel how big this world is, how real and incredibly beautiful it is.

pic25All photos and videos by iPhone 5S.


Adelaide’s Beaches

60x57_Haruka  by Haruka

It’s already February of 2016!! Time sure flies, and soon, a new semester will start! Things will get busy and stressful again…

The beach is one of the most popular places to go for relaxation, and so, below are a few beaches in South Australia that you might like to visit when you feel stressed.



Due to its location, Glenelg has always been the beach that I go to whenever I want to relax. It is a home to many specialty shops, cafes and restaurants. Not only that, there are galleries and museums which display the history of Glenelg! Glenelg is only 10 km or 25 minutes tram ride from CBD with access to trams, trains and buses, so it is easy to visit! You can even take a short nap on the way!

Brighton Beach


Brighton BeachBrighton beach is located south of Glenelg, and it is a great spot if you are looking for a place to just lie on the beach and chill. There are shops and cafes, but these are located along the Jetty Road further from the beach. Also, I have noticed that Brighton beach is popular for families with a caravan park due to its peacefulness.

Henley Beach


Henley Beach BicycleHenley Beach is another beach that I would describe as ‘quiet and peaceful.’ Unlike Glenelg that is buzzing with people and tourists, Henley Beach provides a place for people to sit back and compose oneself. There are nine restaurants with a variety of cuisines such as Thai, Greek, Italian and fish and chips. Additionally, there is the first surf life saving club in South Australia, Henley Surf Life Saving Club, which provides a restaurant and bar from Thursday to Sunday and is open to the public. Henley Beach has always been my favourite spot to do some deep thinking as well as to take a breather.

 Marino Rocks

marino rocksAlthough I have been to Marino Rocks only once, I still remember the nice scenery that I witnessed as I hiked the Marino Rocks Boardwalk Trail. Not only can this be considered as light exercise, I was able to enjoy the breath taking view of the sunset as well! At Marino Rocks, there is also Marino Rocks Lighthouse where the city skyline of Adelaide can be seen.



Seacliff is 30-minute drive from Adelaide CBD, and though I have not visited personally, I hear that it is one of the top swimming spots where it is generally safe and consistent. Additionally, there are many people that check in to surf and fish.

West Beach

west beach

West Beach is just north of Glenelg. This place possesses broad areas of parkland which stretches for 1.2 km. This is a great place for family with caravans to go for a family trip! Additionally, there are many resorts and cabins which can be rented if you don’t have a caravan. It has a great opening to the beach where you can enjoy both the sunset and sunrise if you do stay overnight!

 Semaphore Beach


If you keep traveling north of West Beach, you will reach Semaphore Beach. I have visited Semaphore Beach for the Adelaide International Kite Festival. During this festival, the sky is filled with many colours and shapes which looked like gems as everyone puts up their own kites. There are kites on sale on spot as well if you have not prepared your own! Not only that, there is a Twilight Market, which offers handmade jewellery, gifts, arts and crafts, clothes, food, coffee and so much more! This market is available on February 19 and 26.


More information of different beaches in Adelaide is available on sites below🙂



Learning to lead

60x57_Andy  by Andy

HELLO to everyone. I am Andy. Here comes my first ever blog for UniSA international, as well as the end of my second year studying. I am always excited about sharing and listening to stories. Feel free to share with me!

Experience ↔ Learning

I strongly recommend people look for different activities, especially outside of study. Apart from the textbooks, I believe in and enjoy ‘learning from experience’. I was on a leadership position in secondary school and also joined several leadership programs in Hong Kong. Those experiences have really benefitted me, in terms of personal growth, communication skills, time management and self-awareness.

This year I joined the UniSA leadership program which included an awesome event to end this year and it happened right here in Adelaide – TEDx Adelaide 2015.

What is TEDx?

TEDx crew

Volunteers TEDx Adelaide 2015

TED was created by an American architect and graphic designer, Richard Saul Wurman, in 1984, which was a convergence conference of the fields of technology, entertainment and design (that’s TED). Until today it covers almost all topics – science, music, business, health, culture, societyand global issues, you name it. The slogan tells accurately of what the
value and the mission of TED is: ‘Ideas worth spreading’. TEDx are events, which can be organised by individuals who obtain a license from TED.


TEDx Salon

TEDx volunteers

Volunteers, crews and one of the speakers, Damien Shen (second row, second from left) at TEDx Salon Adelaide2015

TEDx Salon event is a smaller event that keeps the TEDx community engaged between the main TEDx event. At the salon event, participants watch TED Talk videos together and it is a platform for everyone discussing what they think. This year it happened in the South Australian Museum on 1st October. Two speakers were invited as well on that day: Dr Diego Garcia-Bellido, an Honorary Research Associate at the SA Museum working on Cambrain Emu Bay Shale fossils and the Ediacara Biota, and, Damien Shen, artist and finalist in the 2015 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award.


UniSA Leadership Program

leadership1In the UniSA leadership program there are, in total, three stages: INSPIRE*, UNITE  and LEAD. I am in UNITE and our group first met each other in March. For the last ten months there have been a series of workshops and inspire seminars and  a three-day live in camp in Belair. It is a lovely place with a country park. Many activities were involved and facilitated by professional consultants and LEAD students. There were a lot of opportunities to think about what is leadership, reflect about myself and learn how to be the leader of myself.

TEDx Adelaide 2015 was the final big project of this year program. I was so grateful we could have being a part of the organising team. We were divided into five teams which were responsible for different parts of this year’s TEDx event in Adelaide. We worked closely with the event director, Robin Freeth, and many other clients and professionals and TEDx Adelaide team members who gave a lot of pertinent support and guidance to us. There were many tasks and challenges along the journey, about the team forming, onward progress and achievement and communication. It was a real event happening in the society so everything had to be taken very seriously. The people we were working with were real professional people in this city. Here is the best thing, that it was an excellent opportunity for a student getting contact to the real work and relationship network. They were not asking us to produce a great work all by our own. There was a team of people continuously helping and supporting us. Therefore we were given a fabulous learning experience and were able to make an impact on the real event, like there was one activity on the TEDx Adelaide 2015 which was initiated by one of our team. Although at times there were difficult parts to go through, the feeling of thrill and joy was unbeatable when we saw the event was really happening.


TEDx quote leadership2

Cherish your time in the university. If you don’t put one step outward, you will never know what more can you get, and your potential power. In a simple way, make good use of the resources of the university, as it provides many opportunities and activities. For example the leadership program mentioned above, is offered by the university to students at no cost, yet if you paid for it in the market it would cost thousands of dollars. Being a student, we are still young to try and experience everything. Don’t let yourself have regrets.

TEDx links:

Photo credits:

  • TEDxAdeliade OfficialUniversity of South Australia
  • University of South Australia facebook
  • Olivia Ting, Rifqi Adhyasa, Chris Ghan, members of UNITE leadership program 2015
  • … and myselfJ

*INSPIRE will be absorbed by the new student recognition award program launched in 2016. For more detail: UniSA leadership program


4 things i realised, 4 months after graduation …

60x57_Dale  by Dale

Just when you thought going through exams was antagonising, things will only get more interesting and challenging after graduation !

  1. Competition
    What jobs should i apply for ? How am i going to find that answer? Where can i search for those answers? This are the 3 fundamental questions that most students would ask themselves upon graduation (unless of course, one already know what career path that they would like to embark on). This process is more of a self-discovery process in which you search within yourself for those answers – “What are the things you like or you excel in?” and “Would you mind doing that as a career?”.Subsequently, after getting past the first stage, you would reach stage 2 – Competition! I have now found the job that i would love to be in, but how am i going to compete with those who are applying for the similar position?  Job application process can be rather exhaustive and demoralising, given that job opportunities in most countries and cities are rather limited.

    Advices: For those of you who are currently at Stage 1 and have yet to find your answers, you could invest your time in a wide-range of activities. Anything would do, just join something! The purpose of that would be through the experiences of those activities, you would be able to discovery more about yourself – your interest, your dislikes, your fortes, etc etc …  . Through this self-discovery process, even if you are not offered the job of your choice, it would not be hard for you to transit to other choices.

  2. Excelling in your job
    It can be a rather daunting when you’re in your first job. The job scope seems endless and one would always feel that their skills and knowledge are inadequate, especially so for those who have great aspirations and want to climb higher up the corporate ladder, they would want to “upgrade themselves” in the quickest time possible.Advices: Use your time while at University to hone your skill sets. That could be in the form of internship or job placement. If you are unable to get into those, having a part-time job or participating in extra-curriculum activities would be equally beneficial. One of the hardest challenge i faced was social skills, a skill set that was paramount in my job.


  3. Further improving oneself
    For those who are already working part-time, you would know how exhaustive it is after work and the last thing you would ever want to do is to do something mentally exhaustive, I.E reading. All you would want is to have a nice warm bath and then rest on your comfortable bed.Advices: It might seem a long time from now till your graduation, but time really does flies. My sincere recommendation would be to start cultivating the habit of reading and improving oneself – be it knowledge or skill wise. Little by little, those improvements would contribute greatly to your later stages of life.

    ” Life is an endless journey that would stop only on the day you die. Therefore wouldn’t it be wise if you could start preparing for this endless journey today” – Dale 

  4. The importance of network
    One of my biggest “regrets” was not having forge more meaningful friendships. Receiving a “How have you been” message from someone you met while at Uni can be really nostalgic -the memories we shared and the connection we established. From a business viewpoint, you won’t know when this connections would come in handy someday too😀Advices: Although some of us might find it awkward in social settings or that making friends is not something you are comfortable with, you could always start by participating at activities such as ‘Your culture My culture’, where the first activity would be a ‘ice-breaking’ session. You would not have to do all the talking. There would definitely be chirpier teammates who would do all the talking. All you need to do is just smile and trying your best to interact (within your comfort zone). 



Meet our winners

Recently three UniSA international students won awards at the 2015 Study Adelaide International Student Awards.

We asked two of them to blog about their experience attending the ceremony at the prestigious Government House as well as what it was like to hear their names called out as winners in their categories. Read their stories below or find out more about their achievement via UniSA News.




Relief and happiness

60x57_Huda  by Huda

I like having something to look forward to. Whether an assessment, decision on an application, competitions… I was looking forward to the Governor’s awards since last year. I was hopeful but certainly not sure about my qualification for an award. I did have a GPA of 6.7 but I had looked through the previous years’ winners and they were all high achievers, some with straight HDs and a GPA of 7. I am now so glad I had went on with my application; it only took a few minutes to fill out!


Grounds at the Governor’s House

We had the perfect weather on the day of the awards. It was sunny but not too hot. I was excited to go to the Governor’s house. I have never been there. No wonder about that as it is only open to the public twice a year. The house was conveniently located at the heart of the city, only a few minutes’ walk from the train station. The garden was spacious, colourful and lively, with cloth-covered tables and smartly-dressed people, straight out of a fairy tale.

Group photo with my Indonesian friends

At the ceremony with my family and friends

My husband and my daughter came with me. My daughter was excited to see the mansion, and happy dancing around the garden and pretending to be a princess! I had also invited the program director for my study program (Masters of Telecommunication Engineering), Dr. Arek Dadej, and he kindly accepted the invitation.

The ceremony was held in a big tent that was set in the garden for this purpose. It was buzzing with lots of students chatting and drinking. Drinks and snacks were being served as part of the event. As a finalist, I was advised to position myself closer to the front at the beginning of the ceremony, so I can proceed and receive my award in case my name is called, and so I did.

The ceremony started with a welcome from the MC of the ceremony, Education Adelaide Chief Executive, Karyn Kent.  His Excellency, the governor of South Australia, his wife, and the chair of Education Adelaide, Mr Bill Spurr, then came in and the national anthem was played in the background.

Governor's speech

The Governor, the Honourable Hieu Van Le, AO, delivering his speech

This was followed by an interesting speech by his Excellency, where he explained the difficulties he had experienced studying as an international student in Adelaide when he first came here. I was impressed to learn he came in a boat as a refugee! He is truly inspirational and unique.

Of course during all this, the finalists were excited waiting for the award presentation. Mrs. Karyn Kent introduced the winners by category, name, country of origin, and a short description of their achievements. There was in general one winner, and one highly commended awardee for each category.


Receiving my award

When I heard my name, I could not feel anything but relief and happiness. My family back home (and wherever else they have had to take refuge following the recent events in Mosul) were really looking forward to good news. It was enough for me to hear my name (which included the names of my father and my grandfather as in my passport) and country of origin, Iraq, to have my brain wander in another world. Next thing I remember was that I was on stage (thankfully), with the award, taking photos with the Governor of South Australia and Mr Bill Spurr!  There was loud applause apparently, because Mr Bill Spurr and Mrs. Karyn Kent both commented I was a popular winner. I really couldn’t be happier.


How I felt the moment I won

60x57_Bhaba  by Bhaba

It was really a fantastic feeling to be the winner of the 2015 Study Adelaide International Student Awards [Academic Excellence, Postgraduate Research].

photo 1

Me (in the middle) with my UniSA friend, my wife and my little mate!

I appeared as a finalist in the open crowd in the yard of Governor’s house of South Australia. It was a diverse crowd of school, college and university students and their family and friends. I had my friend, my wife and little mate (my 3 year old boy) too!

At parties I usually miss something important – at least my partner strongly believes so. I’ve got a very good excuse that I’m a sincere and active PhD student who cooks his brain always, so little mistakes are acceptable for me. On this occasion, I missed the memo to wear full sleeve suit-coat-tie although casual neat attire was instructed. My friend made fun of me about this because he was confident that I would receive the award on the stage from the Honourable Governor Mr Hieu Van Le. Ignoring his confidence I said “I am happy to be a finalist here with one Pale Ale, one South Australian red wine, many nibbles and this fantastic crowd.”

Photo 2

Receiving the award from the Honourable Governor of SA

It was then such a surprise when I had to find someone else to hold my beer! I got to be on the stage to receive the winning award of 2015 Study Adelaide International Student [Postgraduate Research Excellence]. I was dumbfounded but honoured to receive an award from His Excellency the Honourable Governor, South Australia.


All award recipients from different categories

I find that higher research studies needs more than a dedication to research and study. Rather it needs inspiration from the voluntary involvement with community and culture, which is exactly what the judges acknowledged me for. I want to see myself as a little part of the new horizon of multidisciplinary research at University of South Australia linking to environment, industry and community people, to deliver an excellent benefit for all of us.

Thanks UniSA for providing such an excellent research platform and thanks Study Adelaide for inspiring me.


A community and industry linking multidisciplinary research can deliver a sustainable green environment



How to survive exams

190x180_Nabil1  by Bill

“Never too late” is a motto I strongly adhere to. Even if it’s one hour before my assignment’s due, I still hold true to that saying. The same thing goes with my exam prep; it’s never too late till you step into the exam hall.

Being a last minute crammer, I think I can safely say that I’m qualified to pass on some wisdom to the young, aspiring last minute study-goers. Please note that I’m not advocating procrastination but I think it’s a bit too late right now to advise you to change your behaviour (hopefully you’ll adapt a less last minute approach next year).


New Year’s resolution, don’t procrastinate!

So here goes, my tips to help you survive this exam period:

Tip 1: If there’s a consultation hour or PASS revision session, go for it

PASS revision sessions can be a lifesaver if you’re fortunate enough to be taking the courses that have PASS sessions dedicated for them like business subjects. The PASS sessions are free and are conducted by students who achieved a ‘Distinction’ or ‘High Distinction’ in the subject. The PASS Peer Leaders also provide exam tips, so this should be your number one stop for revision.

However, if your course doesn’t offer PASS, your lecturer/tutor may be your next safe bet. If they’ve kindly organised some time off for a consult, try and use them since they may be willing to hand over some tips for the exams since you’ve made the effort to try and see them. Not that this is a sure fire way of getting exam tips but even if they don’t give you what you seek, at least try and ask them to explain some of the core concepts of the course that are likely to come up in the exam, which brings me to tip no. 2.

Tip 2: The weekly tutorials with the most questions/longest answers are highly likely to be the ones in the exam

This one may not be applicable to courses like engineering but here’s the general gist: if the lecturer has spent a lot of time going through a particular week or emphasised a set of questions, that’s your cue. If you’re desperate and short on time, focusing your efforts to try and master these topics could be a potential lifesaver. Of course, this only applies if you’ve regularly attended the tutorials. Which brings me to the last stand: tip 3.

Tip 3: Find a private tutor

Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. You can search the Golden Key tutors online (for business subjects) and hopefully find a tutor. Be warned though, that you have to pay for their services and it can be around $30 per hour at such late notice but I think that amount pales in comparison to having to pay and re-take the entire course again next year.

studying-groupTip 4: Group study

The tried and trusted method when all else fails – group study is definitely better than going solo. Some may argue that you don’t get anything much from group study but I’ll say that a little something is better than nothing at all. Someone in your circle of friends may know a topic that everyone else doesn’t so let the discussion flow from there. Or at least, brainstorming to try and understand a particular topic is more fun/productive than trying to motivate yourself alone so go groupie!!

Tip 5: Pray hard

Not really a tip but if there ever was time to pray hard or to quote a friend of mine, “find your religion”, exams are pretty much top of the list.

And don’t forget to check out the Languages, Literacies and Learning website (L3) for more tips on how to prepare for your exams.

All the best for your exams and in true last minute fashion, as much as I’d like to stick around and chat, I have to go and finish my assignment that’s due tomorrow.

Gracias muchas senors & senoritas!

Make the most of your uni summer break

190x180_Arthur  by Arthur

Time is passing so fast and SP5 is almost over. I want to recommend to you guys five different ways on how to effectively spend your summer holidays.

  • Find temporary work (part time work)
  • Seek an internship
  • Rest and relaxation
  • Take a holiday road trip
  • Volunteer work
Me working part time

Me working part time

In my own opinion, I recommend you find temporary work and have a short road trip during the holiday.

For those who need some pocket money for the next year, or those who simply have nothing to do during the break, it is an opportunity to seek a part time job. It will help you to gain working experience which is something we are not able to learn from the text books and you will get paid too. So you can earn as you learn. 

On holiday visiting the Sydney Opera House on their Open Day

On holiday visiting the Sydney Opera House on their Open Day

And once we get back into the university study, vacation time is scarce. Adapting to a four or five day a week study grind with little time off can be extremely tough.

Therefore, it is important to seize vacation opportunities when you can. A quick road trip with friends or even your family can generate memories to treasure for the rest of your life. It is also a great chance to recharge batteries.

So make the decision for a colourful summer holiday.