Nanna Wang - International Student
Nan Wang (Nanna) graduated in 2021 as an Education Queensland International (EQI) Student studying at Queensland Academies Creative Industries (QACI) Campus. She shares her experience with us about transitioning from school in China to discovering high school, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and life in Queensland, Australia.
"I always knew I was destined for further academic opportunities and with limited prospects in China, my family recognised that a Queensland government high school would be most beneficial to my long-term goals.
Making the move from Shenzhen, a large city only an hour from Hong Kong was made easy as my mum was by my side supporting me on the journey – and still is.
Upon arrival in Queensland, I completed Year 8 and 9 at Bundaberg State High School and then transferred to QACI to complete the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
The pressure for students can be overwhelming but in Queensland, the teachers encourage and nurture you to be your very best with remarkable outcomes.
Choosing a Queensland school made a lot of sense as it is so much closer by plane to Hong Kong. The climate is also similar to China.
Although I was the only Chinese student in Bundaberg, I never felt different.
The community and school embraced my mum and I as locals and I found the Queenslanders so friendly helping me with my English.
On my first day at school, I learnt to say G'day and when introduced to the class, everyone put their hand up and wanted to be my buddy. The welcome and enthusiasm to look after me was overwhelming.
I quickly made friends-for-life and any concerns I may have had quickly vanished as my new life became the best life.
My hobbies now include playing handball as well as knitting and crocheting, skills I had never experienced in China.
My mum has been by my side for two years already and has been very excited by the large Chinese population here and all her favourite Chinese food and ingredients are available. I have fallen for the Aussie meat pie and sausages with onion and tomato sauce.!
Now a student at the Queensland Academies my career ambitions are set in motion. The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a challenging program but it will provide opportunities to study around the world and then allow me to complete my medical degree back in Australia.
My Regional Queensland experience will forever stay in my heart as the true Australian experience.
My advice for anyone thinking about studying in a Queensland state high school is to be brave and explore the world."
Diana Lee - International Student
[Diana Lee - pictured right]
I am Hyunsoo (Diana) Lee, an international student who graduated from Queensland Academies Creative Industries (QACI) in November 2021. Living in South Korea most of my life, I decided to study abroad in anticipation of personal development from experiencing different cultural backgrounds. Having lived in Brisbane when I was young, I wanted to revisit the delightful memories. While looking for schools that undertake the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) within Queensland, an internationally recognised qualification, I came across QACI, which seemed like a perfect match as I had a particular interest in the Arts.
In my opinion, the biggest advantage of the IBDP is the wide range of subjects it provides, and the fact that students can choose their own subject combinations. For example, I was able to expand my knowledge in the fields of maths, sciences, language, humanities, and the arts. Such variety of disciplines opened several pathways for my future. Taking Visual Arts Higher Level at QACI was a truly unique experience. I was given the opportunity to regularly exhibit my artwork in the school’s art gallery and participate in workshops led by local artists. I also found Business Management intriguing as it is a subject not normally taught in high school. The process of applying Business Management theories to examine and analyse real-life cases has enabled me to develop critical thinking skills. As I progressed through the IBDP journey full of learning experiences, I was able to shape my future goals and career ambitions. I envision myself creating value in society by designing solutions for real-world projects, perhaps in an e-commerce business.
Apart from studies, Enrichment activities in Year 10 and 11 and house events such as AquaFest allowed me to discover new hobbies, as well as helping me construct my CAS portfolio. QACI’s exclusive programs added colour to my life.
To help international students settle in to the QACI community, our International Coordinator, Ms Govender, ensured our safety and wellbeing by organising regular parties and luncheons where diverse students and teachers could share conversations. Ms Govender did not only provide moral support, but also academic support, by holding English Language and Literature help sessions based on the IB curriculum. She was the go-to person whenever I had queries or needed help with preparing documents for my university application. She has been of tremendous help.
Carmen Yip - International Student
Carmen Yip arrived in Queensland from Singapore in 2012 with her family and graduated from Queensland Academies Creative Industries Campus (QACI), Brisbane in 2019 as the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme Dux. Carmen is now studying Medicine at the University of New South Wales, pursuing her aspiration to become a neurosurgeon.
Carmen’s commitment to learning and discovery was evident throughout her entire QACI journey as she worked diligently across not only her subjects, but also in her research with the Queensland University of Technology’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (QUT IHBI) in the field of regenerative medicine.
Her impressive array of academic accolades includes Subjects Awards in English Literature SL in 2018, as well as English Literature SL, Chinese Language B SL, Business Management HL, Chemistry HL and Mathematics SL in 2019. Additionally, Carmen received the Artistic Excellence Award, Inspired Learner Award, and Academic Student of the Year in 2019, and Academic Excellent Awards in both 2018 and 2019.
Her inspiring story about her migration to Australia and her time studying at QACI) in Brisbane can be seen below.
Tell us about yourself, why did you decide to come to Brisbane?
I chose to come to Queensland because I had relatives residing here and heard that the lifestyle was conducive for learning, creativity and development. Queensland was ideal for our family, as it allowed me to still feel at home in the presence of my relatives yet challenged me in terms of adapting to a new land, culture and social conventions. I also considered Canada however, ultimately settled on Queensland as it was more culturally diverse here.
How did you choose the school you wanted to study at?
I selected QACI as my preferred school due to the school culture and the subjects aligned with my aspirations and who I was. QACI was one of the few schools that offered the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. As a passionate learner, this programme stood out to me as a prestigious programme known to be academically rigorous and challenging, which I knew would prepare me well and give me a competitive edge to gain entry into my preferred University course.
Moreover, prior to enrolment, I was given a personal tour by the Principal who showed me around the school and the facilities available to students. Being interested in studying film I was impressed with the industry standard green room and recording studio available for students to use. I remember personally choosing this school myself as I was sure this was the place that would allow me to grow academically and creatively.
What did you enjoy the most about QACI?
The culture that underpins the school is what I enjoyed the most. The IB programme definitely contributed to this culture. Unlike many curriculums that other schools adopt, the IB assesses students solely based on their own ability and does not rank students against one another. This creates a loving and compassionate community in our school where students help one another study the rigorous IB Diploma programme. We are a close community that resembles a family – the culture is difficult to qualify; I think one has to experience it to understand it.
The IB Diploma Programme is inherently challenging. It stretches high school students to think critically. It is a program that academically set us up to be receptive to any challenges in future.
How have the experiences you had at QACI and in Australia changed you?
I have developed into a more resilient person and I am definitely a life-long learner. I faced many challenges ranging from not understanding a particular topic in class, to finding it difficult to assimilate into a new culture, to missing my family in Singapore. These challenges, however, were life lessons that facilitated my personal growth and shaped me into the stronger and more resilient individual that I am today.
What were some of the more enjoyable experiences you had at QACI?
One of the most enjoyable experiences I have had included filmmaking with my peers for an assignment we had to complete. The time spent planning, storyboarding, shooting and editing our film, though time consuming and challenging, were the most fruitful and enjoyable moments in my time here at QACI. It featured collaboration with my peers as we worked towards a common goal. In retrospect, this was one of the major takeaways too – I have gained filmmaking skills, learnt to appreciate the intricate art of film and made lifelong friends through this process I will never forget.
What will you remember most about your time in Australia?
I will remember my school, the lifelong friends I have made and the experiences I have gained. My top 5 highlights include SongFest, an annual event in QACI whereby the whole school engages in music making, getaways to the beaches in Noosa and Surfers Paradise, a research placement opportunity at QUT IHBI where I did a project in the field of regenerative medicine, a performance I did with my peers at Brisbane Convention Centre and lastly my school Graduation, where we celebrated the years of hard work, friendship and gratitude to our teachers and parents.
What are your career ambitions now? Have they changed from when you first arrived in Queensland?
When I first arrived in Queensland, I was 12, oblivious to the endless possibilities and was clueless as to what I wanted to become. As time passed and I started senior school at the age of 16, I found myself passionate about STEM, taking part in countless STEM-focused activities at school - I knew I wanted to do something relating to Science. Today, I am 18, I have graduated school with an accumulation of more life experience. I realise I want to pursue a challenging career that will give back to society with an humanitarian aspect to it. I am now studying a Bachelor of Medical Studies and Doctor of Medicine at UNSW to fulfil my aspiration of becoming a Neurosurgeon in the near future.
Please finish this sentence for prospective students.
If you are choosing to study overseas, I would recommend a Queensland state high school because...
It has intrinsically motivated me to be a better version of myself, it has offered me countless opportunities and has paved the road for wherever I want to go.
Bunny Phetmunee - International Student
Where is your home city, country and the school you go to? What are your favourite hobbies and activities at home?
I lived in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam. I went to the Saigon South International School before I came to QACI. It was the only school I had ever been, so moving here meant that I had to leave the tiny bubble I was in. At home, I enjoy a lot of hobbies like playing musical instruments, drawing, painting, knitting. I’ve always enjoyed hands-on activities more than sitting at a desk all day.
How did you choose QACI?
I actually went to another school before I came to QACI. I chose it because it had a good reputation as an IB school, and back then I was dead set on becoming a doctor. I’m still going into the STEM field, but I realised shortly after I started school that I needed to give myself an opportunity to create and be myself. I’ve always needed a little bit of freedom in my learning environment to let me do things the way I like to. When I learned that there was a school that offered IB courses in the creative arts, I felt myself being pulled in that direction.
What do you enjoy the most at QACI?
I honestly really appreciate the QACI culture. Everyone here is really friendly and inviting, and each person is unique and talented in their own way. It’s the first time in a while that I can say that I love every single one of my teachers. There’s not as much pressure to have a perfect performance academically, and since I already put a lot of pressure on myself anyway, being at QACI helps me relax. I chose to do the IB because my old school back in Vietnam offered IB courses and I already knew what the IB was. I was already familiar with the system and I knew that it was known for its academic rigor. I figured that this would open more doors for me in the future.
How have you changed personally from the experiences you had at your school? What life lessons did you learn?
I’ve changed a lot in the past few years. Being at QACI did reignite my love for the arts. I learned that it’s important to be yourself and go after what you’re passionate about. As long as you’re doing what you love, there will be people who will support you.
What are some of the most enjoyable experiences you have had at QACI? Did you make friends you will stay in contact with?
I never thought I would say this before I came here, but I really like school assemblies. There haven’t been many this year, but at a normal assembly people would get up to sing and dance and it was always a lot of fun.I’ve made some really valuable friendships at QACI.
Do you have new favourite hobbies and activities that you started in Australia?
I did start rock-climbing regularly for CAS, and I really enjoy that.
What are your career ambitions now? Have they changed from when you first arrived in Queensland? What do you want to do after you finish high school/college?
Right now, I am planning to go into software engineering. I applied to a handful of universities in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne for a double major in computer science and software engineering. They’ve changed a lot. At first, I came here wanting to become a doctor, then I wanted to become a biomedical engineer. When I came to QACI, I wanted to become an animator. Right now, I’m going into engineering, but I’m not entirely sure.
Please finish this sentence for prospective students.
“If you are choosing to study overseas, I would recommend QACI because... you’ll find like-minded people with creative passions.”