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3 unconventional things I wish I knew before getting into Monash University as a Chinese student


what is this blog post about ?


Studying in a foreign country is a rollercoaster of emotions—exciting, yet sometimes downright scary.



I'm Gary, a 21-year-old final year student from Hong Kong majoring in Business Analytics at Monash University.



Over the years, I've picked up some valuable insights that I wish someone had told me before I started my journey here. So, let's dive in!



1. Mindset Shift


Language Barriers


Ah, the dreaded language barrier. If you're like me and many other Gen-Z folks, studying abroad might be your first taste of true independence. And it's not all fun and games.



Ever walked into a local bank to open an account and realized that your high school language classes didn't prepare you for this? Yep, been there.



Quick Tip: Don't sweat the small stuff. I'm sure you can't recall anyone who messed up grammar in your native language, right?



That's because you probably forgot about it in no time. Whether you're worried about your accent or making a mistake, remember that Melbourne is an inclusive environment.



You'll get that bank card, and when you do, take a moment to appreciate how far you've come. Remember, progression > perfection



Cultural Barriers


Culture shock is real, folks. You might find locals being "over-friendly" or saying "no worries" more times than you can count. It's different, but it's not bad—just different.



Reality Check: avoid Judging people, Embrace the culture. Understand that what you might perceive as "over-talking" is often just friendliness and realized your perception of reality is resulted from your values and cultures.


Pro Tip: Identify your fears—whether it's speaking with an accent, making mistakes, or looking dumb. Once you acknowledge them, you'll realize they're not as big a deal as you thought. Plus, you'll find that Melbourne is a pretty accepting place.


2. University is not designed to land you a job, however, it is usually a requirement for internships/ entry level jobs


First off, let's get one thing straight: university is excellent at preparing you for an academic career. But when it comes to real-world jobs? Not so much. You'll learn theories and concepts, but practical skills? Those are often left for you to figure out.



Take advantage of Uni, not relying on them



I studied Business Analytics at Monash, and they offered me a research intern position.


It made me realize that I needed more than just academic knowledge to succeed in the job market and uni do not guarantee a jobs related to your degree/ field of study.


Golden Advice: Don't solely rely on universities to find you a job. Use your time at uni wisely. Networking and talking to professionals in your field can be the most effective way to get what you need.


The Stats Don't Lie


Now, if you're an international student, the stakes are even higher.


Statistics show that international graduates often find themselves at a disadvantage in the workplace compared to local grads.


It's a tough pill to swallow, but it's the reality.


Quick Tip: You don't have to know exactly what job you want, but it's beneficial to decide early on if academia is your endgame.

What now ?

PHASE 0 : knowing which path you after and related requirements
  • work as Academics or professionals ?

  • do you intend to stay in Australia or returning to your home country ?

  • making these decisions early on would be beneficial


PHASE 1 : Invest your time in assets ( english speaking, latest technical skills, learn how to create your resume etc. )


Identify and develop "real skills." Digital Platforms like Coursera, Linkedin learning, and Forage (my personal favorite) offer courses that teach you real-life tasks and skills that employers actually value. alternatively, there are training programs and agencies available to develop industry skills, ICG groups for examples.



My Two Cents: Don't just rely on your university to prepare you for your career. Take the initiative to learn practical skills on your own.


3. Extra-Curriculars: Your Secret Weapon in Standing Out


let's talk about how extra-curricular activities can be your secret sauce in setting you apart from the competition. Imagine this: you're one of the 600,000 students in Australia. If education certificates are your only advantage, guess what? You're in the same boat as everyone else.



It's no surprise that 60% of applicants for entry-level jobs hold master's degrees.


Golden Advice : How do you separate yourself from the crowd? The answer is simple—find ways to make yourself different and provide unique value.

Engaging in extra-curricular activities not only enriches your skill set but also gives you a unique story to tell.



Whether it's a club you started, a community service project, or even a blog like this one, these experiences can be the differentiating factor that sets you apart in a sea of equally qualified candidates.



wrapping up


So there you have it, Grades, skills, and experience are all important, but never underestimate the power of extra-curricular activities to make you stand out in a crowded field.


Until next time, keep striving for greatness! 🌟


later,

Gary


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