Taking it easy in Queensland

Overseas-education | Crystal Wu 26 Oct 2021

Student globetrotter of the week Nerissa Chow has been studying abroad in Brisbane ever since secondary school.

"My mathematics was really bad at the time when I was in a Hong Kong secondary school," she said. "Then I went to Australia. I felt: 'Wow, math is really easy.' What you were learning in Year Eight was taught in Primary Six, I think. But English in Australia was difficult."

She was required to take an additional English course for international students, where she had to pass examinations in reading, writing, speaking and listening to continue her studies with local students.

Another difference that Chow noted was the breadth of subjects that she could study in Australia compared to Hong Kong. It is also the reason why she chose to major in Hospitality.

Studying at a Brisbane high school meant that she could use her Overall Position score to apply for university.

She applied to both the University of Queensland and the Queensland University of Technology before ultimately deciding to go to the former as it has a good world ranking.

The Overall Position rank in Queensland was replaced by the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank in 2020, making Queensland one of the most recent states to make the switch.

"Our high school helped us a lot in applying to universities," said Chow, adding she did not have to send in her OP results by herself.

Chow received the offer via e-mail: "They gave me the direction of paying school fees and applying for a student visa. I had to pay a deposit to be able to reserve my spot.

"My university expects all international students to study at least four courses in one semester. Each course can earn two credits," said Chow.

"My bachelor's requires me to study for three years and to earn 48 credits to graduate. Other bachelor's such as dentistry and pharmacy require you to study for a longer period."

Some students take more credits at a time to shorten their studies.

One of the characteristics of the UQ curriculum is a hurdle requirement for courses - which means that students have to pass a particular threshold for their final examinations to pass a course, even though they may have already done well enough in their course assessment.

To put it simply, if you fail your final exam, you cannot pass that course.

As for the student globetrotter's advice to students who are looking to study abroad?

"In my opinion, to choose the university that best suits you, you need to check whether they offer the subject that you want to study the most. And whether your high school or IELTS results allow you to apply for particular subjects offered by the universities," she said.


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