for all new international students

Month: July, 2013

Blogger masterclass

Aleisha McCormack  ‘It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.’

As run by the Voices of 2013 and Kidspot (a part of Google)

Venue: Smartz Art gallery which was hard to find, but is near the 112 tram.

It was a great chance to meet up with other bloggers such as Nic from Sharking for fish and Chips and others.

There was an abundance of free food and coffee and tea. There was so much.

But we were here to learn. We got many hints and tips about blogging successfully from the experts like: Wendy Tuohy (Herald sun) as well as tips about increasing your stats and monetizing the blog.

“Success is hard work”. It doesn’t come overnight.

There are too many sponsored posts these days. Sponsored posts are fine but they may change your voice just a little bit. We still need to sit with them for a while and be polite.

The most of us including ourselves write a personal blog. But what we would like to see is our readership going up as well as earning money from Google Ad Sense.

The most important thing that anyone could tell us is networking and getting guest bloggers to write something. This way we can market the blog as well as help them to market their blog. At the end of the day whilst it is a competition we really are helping one another out. We’ll try if we can to write on other people’s blogs too to increase readership.  We have formed a few friendships on Facebook.

Use your own voice. I tend to love being professional, but if you want to be personal that is fine too. You need to be comfortable in your own skin. You can have many voices but your character should be the same

Research is a must. Plan your topics well in advance. For many shows you need to research it thoroughly. Read lots. Read public notices. Watch TV. You should know everything.

 Know what people wants. To do that you need to have a look at the traffic sources in your blogs stats. Keywords are what people use to search your blog so make sure that the keywords match the post. Good keywords gives your post the correct message to market your blog. Go for the buying phrases. Put yourself in your readers shoes. There is an audience for everyone and it depends on what your target audience is. Ours are International students and Local students who go to University in Australia.

Be assertive. Don’t be passive and just have one or two photos without explanation (unless it is a photo essay). I like blogs that explain what the pictures are about and what they think of the food.

Forget the critics. Who cares about what they think?

Editing was another key point of the seminar. If we don’t edit we drive away our readers and followers. Read each post aloud is one way of picking up on mistakes.

Market your blog on Twitter and on Facebook. We should do something with the Google + button. This button has many good interactions on many fronts.

We have lot of fun with our blog. But we too love to talk about issues that affect students as well as eats and places.

What drives us? We are go getters. We want to see happy students. We don’t want them to be kicked out of the country.

We also need a blogging schedule. For us we like to publish posts on Friday and Saturdays.

The thing to is to identify what problem you have and how to solve it. Our problem is that many International students struggle to survive in Melbourne and want low cost and affordable ideas. This is how our blog came into play two years ago.

Which brings us next to: goals. We have a few goals in mind. One of them is about reducing the need for special considerations at RMIT from 11000 to half the amount. The other one is reducing the workload of the Academic registrars group within six months. In six months we also want to see a lot more satisfied students and a lot less students who are stressed. The other is to start earning money.

The aim of the project is to educate students on life and study in Melbourne and the costs associated with it.

Use images and learn to Photoshop.

We also got given a goody bag full of surprises.

Many thanks to the organizers for putting this on. Thanks to Pip, Dave Jenyns of Melbourne SEO Services, Kate Ulman of Foxs Lane, Wendy Tuohy of The Perch. Writers Kate Forster, Karen Andrews and Lou Pardi for giving us lots of ideas on improving our blog.

We hope to see you next year


The clothing exchange

“Swap clothes you once loved for those you will treasure at events around the nation.” Quote courtesy of Image below also courtesy of the same site.

8th of July at 6:30pm. Clothes swapping starts at 7pm.
At Deakin Edge at Federation Square
It is $25 but you can swap up to six items of clothing

This event is run by the Clothing Exchange. the group founded in 2004 and are about sustainability.  They have won an award last year for green lifestyle. They are also featured in a lot of media such as the Financial review.

Clothes swapping is an environmentally sustainable practice. The clothes that you don’t want does not go to landfill. Instead someone else wears them and you get to wear someone else’s treasure for a fraction of the price. It is an alternative to buying clothes that you might not possibly want after some time.

So what are you waiting for? Embrace the change by booking your ticket to this fabulous event here.

Clothes mending workshop

When: Saturday 20th July 12pm – 4pm
Where: Ink & Spindle Studio Suite 206, 10 Elizabeth St Kensington VIC
Cost: $50
Students  want to know how to mend your clothes? Then this workshop is perfect for you. Run by the Handmakers factory this workshop will teach you how to mend clothes so that you don’t have to take this to the tailors.

image courtesy of the Handmakers factory
They have a supply of materials and sewing tools to assist you in your mending such as:
– Zips
– Buttons
– Fabric scraps
– Fusings
– Ribbons and trims
– Needles and threads
– Scissors
– Quick-un-picks
and more!

Participants will need to bring the following on the day:
– Sewing machine (we will have a few available on the day but if a lot of your mending requires the use of a machine we recommend bringing your own)
– Your mending pile!
– Any particular sewing tools or materials you may need (i.e. pins, scissors, thread, fabric, trims, chalk, quick-un-pick etc)

There will be some refreshments and tea and coffee.

Book now as spaces do fill up.

Big Mama

Big Mama is a well respected Korean place which has been around for a few years. It has been popular with many local and International students. It is a cheap eat after all with their big meals.

I study nearby at RMIT and have passed the place a few times but have never been in. Here this place was pretty at lunchtime with all the Asian students so that was a good sign. Another good sign too was that the wait staff were very friendly.  They must have been paid a lot of money.

It is a cash only place.

I loved all the decor on the walls. It reminds me of home. I think that is what they wanted to do.

The food was homely. I had the vegetable tempura with rice, miso soup and salad ($11.50) as well as the Agedashi tofu ($7.50- by the way I read some really great reviews about it).

I love getting the free condiments. What a nice way to start the meal. I loved the seaweed and the sweet potato. Not too sure about the pork one though. I think it needed a little bit more spice.

The tempura was cooked really nicely which I loved. It wasn’t too heavy or too oily. But there was too much rice and I couldn’t finish it all.

But I loved the sauce on the Agedashi tofu and in fact this was the best tofu I have ever had. I loved the moving bonito flakes which danced right in front of my eyes.

I would love to try the yummy bentos and hot pots next time I come. And I would love to bring Meld Magazine next time.

Big Mama on Urbanspoon

So Good’s almond milk

So good is a soy milk product by Sanitarium. Here they are high in protein and calcium to help nourish your bones. They have no animal fat, no cholesterol and no lactose.
Sanitarium is a health food company.

In the last few months So Good have released a new product called Almond milk. Almond milk has been the talk of the health food professionals as well Realfoods for a few years now. And they say that almond milk is good for you. In fact it is. It is meant to be slightly nutty.

It was really sweet. It had a little bit of chocolate in there. But it wasn’t as nutty as the real almond milk.

But its good for things like porridge and oats where you don’t want to add too much sugar to this.

It is about $2 in the supermarket for one litre.

Celebrating Independence day at PATS the Philly Way by Katherine

Independence day is an American holiday. It is widely celebrated at the many American restaurants in Melbourne.

So yesterday Sally and I went to PATS for dinner as we both had to work during the day.  By the time we got there it was 6:15PM. Strangely enough, it was not busy at the time. We had expected live music and partying seeing as it was Independence Day. Unlike TGI Friday(it is a chain, and its very expensive) this is a real Amercian place in Melbourne.

The place is on Bridge road at the side where all the eateries are. It is next to Fritz gelato. The tram stop is about a one minute walk from there

About five other people reviewed the place. It had opened at the beginning of last year.

There was a younger lady that was friendly towards us, having just started. But the older person seemed a bit sullen.

The bathrooms are out the back and behind a door.

They have great WI-FI ( I don’t know if its for free as we didn’t try this).
Here they have the most authentic cheesesteaks (see cultural notes below) that I have ever tried. Sally and I both ordered cheesesteaks ($14.95 each). There was an Independence day special where you can add the extra Jalapeno poppers (see cultural notes) and drink for a mere $3. We did that and we also shared some cajun fries (about $5 for a large serve).

The cheesesteaks were so cheesy and they were massive. Now if you are allergic to cheese and dairy probably not a good idea to have this (there are other non cheesy options on the menu, even vegetarian). There is just so much meat in there. I thought the bread was a little on the sweet side. Sally thought that it was just ok.

The jalapeno poppers were so good. But they too were cheesy.

We loved the chips a lot. They were nicely flavored. You can choose your seasoning such as spicy, Cajun and there’s a few others.

Cultural notes:
Jalapeno poppers- they are a deep fried canape in America. They are popular with Americans. The Jalapenos are stuffed with lots of cheese and herbs. Jalapenos are the green, mild peppers.

Cheesesteak- this is like a hotdog except it has sliced or diced steak or chicken inside the roll. There is melted cheese in there. Some people like to have this with onion. This is very popular in Philadelphia.

We’ll be back for more American food I’m sure. That is when we don’t feel like expensive crap from TGI. And I hope they get featured in Meld Magazine’s discounts for next year.

PATS The Philly Way on Urbanspoon

Pho 102 Saigon

In the block arcade is a tiny little Vietnamese cafe by the name of Pho 102 Saigon.

Here it is run Vietnamese and its a cute little kitchy cafe in the heart of the city.

It is a self service place. You order and you pay and then they call your number when the food is ready.

There are no bathrooms here . You have to go across the road to David Jones or Australia on Collins.

Here I ordered a spring rolls with vermicelli ($8.90) and an iced coffee ($3.50). The iced coffee had so much ice in it and little coffee in it. I would have liked less ice and more coffee.

The spring rolls and vermicelli looked like there was just only a tiny bit but there was a lot. And it was moreish for the price paid. But I would have loved to see more spring rolls in there though

Hmm if I was to pick one Vietnamese cafe in the city. I’d pick this one as this one is better than the others.

Pho 102 Saigon on Urbanspoon

Navitas information session

Kickstarting your career

Students do you want to find out about how to find work in Australia? If so read on.

I was invited by Anna at Navitas to attend an information session yesterday. The seminar started at 2:30pm and finished at 4pm. It was held at the Navitas office at 206 Bourke st, Melbourne.There was free food and drink.

The one thing I learnt was to be on time.

Challenges faced by International students
* Lack of communication
* Not having relevant experience
* Cultural difference between Australia and in the home countries. In Australia people often have after work networking drinks with their boss.
* Lack of understanding about Australian workplace environment.
* Companies don’t like to hire people without PR. It can be a real barrier

There was a panel consisting of:
John Drennan from Navitas
Hari Pasad from Softball Aus. He works in Finance
Margery Neoh from Navitas
Nasir Uddin who is an IT analyst.

The things that they emphasized on are
* Know what you want to do in the next five to ten years time. Where do you see yourself? If you want to work in a big firm, get a list of the companies and then go to their website. More often than not they will have a lot of jobs on offer and the list changes from time to time.
* Know what you are good at and apply for things that you are good in. Go for the medium sized companies. Accountants can work anywhere and everywhere. Your skills are transferable
* Networking is a must. About 70% of jobs are advertised through your networks. Always follow up with your networks. Go to networking events within your industry- there are bound to be some. At networking events, have some business cards ready. They only $20 to print.
* Being able to speak more than one language is a must for most big firms as some of them do require you to go overseas.
* Doing extra circular activities is also a must as it shows that you are a team player.
* Working in fast food chains and restaurants is also another must as it shows that you follow procedure and that you are a team player.
* The first six months working in a new firm are always tricky.
* Look for jobs on you uni’s website as they always have new jobs every two days
* start looking for part time jobs before you graduate. Put yourself out there. You are bound to get numerous rejections so do keep applying. You gain more experiences by going to interviews.
* You have to be willing to learn and soft (people skills) are a must.
 * Volunteer- Rotary clubs are always looking for volunteers in every field. You should volunteer for a not for profit organisation
* Proofread your resume. If English is your second language, get a native English speaker/local person to do it. Don’t have spelling and grammar mistakes in there as it will just go in the bin.
* Don’t apply for a job through a recruitment agency as they will only target the most successful people.

The perfect candidate is someone:
* With the right attitude that wants to work for the comapny/business
*Has done their research
*Personality- it has to fit with the team. If you extra circular activities on your resume it shows just that.

Masters vs Bachelor
Do you think its better to do your Masters straight after your bachelor?

No. Get some work experience first. You struggle to get jobs after your Masters.

Good luck with your hunt and you can find Navitas on Facebook

The Couch Welcomes International and Local students

The amount of International students has grown over the past two years. But also the local students have come as well to mingle with others and have fun.
 The Couch is now a place where anyone can hang out in.

Also the services has increased. Now there are language classes as well as salsa classes where students have a chance to mingle with each other. There are still the free meals and drinks for all and the piano and Internet.

They have regular outings for students which has become more frequent.

This is a great way to make friends

They are located at: 69 Bourke St Melbourne 3000.

The best times to come are on Sundays-Thursdays 5:30pm-9:30pm (hours subject to change)

Photo essay: Bourke st at night

Students here is another photo essay. This time it is about Melbourne at night in particular Bourke st. Bourke st is one of Melbourne’s busiest and biggest streets and it is a wonderful hive of activity at night. We wanted to take lots of photos of this and so we did.

%d bloggers like this: