Life at Australia's Best Universities

Life at Australia's Best Universities

Life at Australia's Best Universities

Updated 23 April 2014, 16:21 AEST

Australia is a study destination for many from around the world, with 39 universities offering a world class education. Eight of these are considered a step ahead in terms of international reputation and research outcomes. So what are the benefits of studying at Australia's elite universities?

We spoke to a group of international students who are studying hard at institutions across Australia.

1. Joe Willie from Papua New Guinea, studying for a Masters of Construction Management at the University of Melbourne
Joe Willie (Papua New Guinea) studying for Masters of Construction Management at University of Melbourne
ABC: Bethany Keats
Joe Willie has settled into University of Melbourne life in a quest to further his construction qualifications.

"I graduated with a bachelor degree at the Papua New Guinea University of Technology and now I want to pursue further (study) to enhance my career in the construction industry. I've been involved in a couple of small community groups socialising and networking. In a typical day I try my best to network among anyone which I know, especially in my profession and also anyone who is a bit friendly, or in a way which you can know each other very well.

"The interesting part is that you meet other new students and because these students, some of them are local students, some of them are international students so in between whatever you do you have to know their culture, their lifestyle, their actions and the type of food they eat," he says.
2. Skolastika Grahita Kirana from Indonesia, studying for a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Western Australia
Skolastika Grahita Kirana (Indonesia) studying for Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering in Perth's University of Western Australia.
Supplied: Skolastika Kirana
Perth may be one of the most isolated cities in the world but it can still provide unique adventures and experiences according to engineering student Skolastika Kirana.

"UWA (University of Western Australia) has given me a very interesting life experience during my stay in Australia. Not only have I learnt about the technical knowledge related to my course, but I've also gained more social skills and expanded my network. Being in UWA is not as scary as people would think. Some high school kids often ask me if studying in UWA is as scary and as hard as they thought to be. The course I am doing is quite demanding in terms of the study load, but it doesn't mean I don't have a life outside uni.

"The engineering course is being taught on the main campus of UWA in Crawley. The campus is huge. What I like about it is that the campus is not mainly made out of concrete but has ovals and gardens. This is very refreshing since we need to walk quite a distance between classes every day," she says.
3. Andrew Htay Reh from Myanmar, studying Commerce and Aerospace Engineering at Melbourne's Monash University
Andrew Htay Reh (Myanmar) studying Commerce and Aero Space Engineering at Melbourne's Monash University.
Supplied: Andrew Htay Reh
Andrew Htay Reh is delicately balancing study with part-time employment as he works towards a five year double degree. 

"I actually got into Melbourne University to study science but I prefered the subjects offered at Monash University so I changed. I think it's important to do what course you want to. What uni you go doesn't really matter. In the end you are the one studying it. Your parents want you to do something but just do what you like to do. I know a lot of people went to Melbourne University because they just wanted to go. I personally think that's stupid. You are studying what you don't want to study. And at the end, you don't get motivated and you are going to fail.

"The double degree will take five years for me to complete. I am at the university (from) around 9 am to 6 pm every day. I also work at McDonalds so I finish school at 6 pm and start work at 7 pm and finish at 11 pm. So I usually get home around midnight. It can be quite full on," he says.
4. Guo Jia from China, studying for a Masters of Art at the University of New South Wales in Sydney
Guo Jia (China) studying for Masters of Art in University at University of New South Wales
Supplied: Guo Jia
The creative juices are flowing for Guo Jia, who is immersed in study in Australia's harbour city - Sydney.

"I am from the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at the University of New South Wales. I am finishing my Master of Art degree and I major in drawing. I thoroughly enjoy my student life in COFA. It is not on the main campus of UNSW, but the atmosphere here is even better. COFA campus is in one of Sydney's most trendy suburbs, Paddington, and it is walking distance to the busy Oxford St where you can shop and dine.

"I chose UNSW not only because it is one of Australia's best, but also that it is a melting pot of cultures. There are a lot of international students at UNSW, so even though you are getting an Australian education, what you absorb is from all over the world. Every Tuesday for me is the busiest and happiest day of the week. I would walk to the campus in the morning, buy some art supplies and go to the drawing room. Between classes I would go downstairs, buy a perfect cup of flat white, sit on the stairs of the sunken square, and just enjoy slowly before getting back to my drawing," she says.
5. Chandarany Oouch from Cambodia, studying for a PhD in Economics at Monash University in Melbourne
Chandarany Oouch (Cambodia) studying for PhD in Economics at Monash University in Melbourne
Supplied: Chandrarany Ouch
Chandarany Oouch is aiming to graduate from Monash University with a 'Dr.' in front of her name.

"The PhD program at Monash provides some advanced training beyond the research-only PhD, which enabled me to strengthen my economic background. Monash's seminars and distinguished visitor program also provide opportunities for students to meet and learn from the talented economists within the Department of Economics at Monash as well as from famous universities around the world. Most importantly, I have wide access to my supervisors and other lecturers and professors in the department to discuss my research.

"They have a strong commitment to share their knowledge and skills and provide financial support for my research. I also like the Monash library; I have access to the latest quality resources and I believe that it has a large collection about Cambodia. Moreover, the Monash green program inspires me to put in more effort to adopt a greener lifestyle," she says.
6. Sean Li from China, studying a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Sydney
Sean Li (China) studying Bachelor of Commerce at University of Sydney.
Supplie: Sean Li
For Sean Li the University of Sydney provides the perfect environment to focus on his studies. 

"What I like the most about the University of Sydney is its learning environment brought by Sydney's best students and the unique learning conditions provided by this university. You can see students studying at every corner of the campus, on the lawn, near their classrooms or against a low wall. Wherever they are spotted, they are always accompanied by books. Young and frivolous as I was, I vowed to become the hardest-working student in the whole university and planed to study in the 24-hour-open Study Room at Mereweather building every night. What I wasn't expecting was the Study Room at 10 pm was no less active and vibrant than the metropolitan nightlife, with students discussing, talking, and laughing as if they were cheering for each other's learning spirit. I realised then...there would always be someone who worked harder than me, more determined than me.

"Besides providing top educational resources, the University of Sydney also uses its various social networks to offer students job opportunities and platforms. The University of Sydney regularly provides internship opportunities and graduate employment projects at big companies in Australia, such as Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, the four major accounting firms, and supermarkets such as Woolworth and Coles," he says.
7. Nguyen Ngoc My Linh from Vietnam, studying a Bachelor of International Hotel and Tourism Management at the University of Queensland
Nguyen Ngoc My Linh (Vietnam) studying for Bachelor of International Hotel and Tourism Management at University of Queensland.
My Linh (middle) with her friends. Supplied: Nguyen Ngoc My Linh
In sunny Queensland, theories of hospitality sparked the interest of Nguyen Ngoc My Linh.

"University has become a significant and interesting part of my life. For me, the best thing in uni is learning about new knowledge. This once happened when I was taught about a completely different meaning of hospitality. It makes me realise that it is not only about how to manage a hotel or restaurant but also understanding the true meaning of hospitality through philosophical perspectives.
"It was really a mind opening experience, teaching me to see and understand things in various directions, which I was not able to do at my younger age. This also makes me become a more attentive person, always be open-minded to learn new things, even the smallest bits of knowledge. And I am very happy with myself today," she says.