Wenyi Olivia Zhang
Where is your home country?
What do you study?
Master of Teaching
Where do you study?
Western Sydney University
What languages do you speak?
Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Japanese, French
I love collecting postcards from different places. Every time I travel, instead of getting other souvenirs, I always send my friends and myself postcards. A postcard does not cost much, and I can write or draw something on it, either some inspirational words or just my little thoughts at that time. Postcards might be a bit old-fashioned, but to me it is more meaningful. The pictures and stamps on the postcards also remind me of those unique memories from the places I have been to. This is why it has become one of my little habits.
What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?
NSW is colourful, dynamic and inclusive. Through different events in Sydney, I have had the opportunity to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, and now I have friends from all over the world, such as Korea, Italy, India, Brazil and so on. Building friendships with people in Sydney makes me feel welcome, connected and gives me a sense of belonging. My friends share a lot of values and experiences with me, which has deepened and broadened my understanding of different cultures. Previously, I felt that studying overseas was very intimidating, but now I feel I am more open to new ideas and perspectives, as well as more confident to develop my cultural competence and form new friendships.
Furthermore, I had the chance to receive training opportunities from my university and local councils which empowered my personal professional development. Studying in this inclusive state has been a life-changing experience; I have become more independent, confident in maintaining resilience and improved my health and well-being. Studying in NSW has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and now I can call this place my second home!
What advice do you have for other international students?
Take good care of yourself as your well-being is always the priority. You can get through everything when you are healthy. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Mistakes can empower your personal development. Life is not about right or wrong, however, it is about how you learn from past experiences and develop into the person you want to be in the future. You have made it this far so believe in yourself that you will get through it, and always stay bright and shine.
What has been your favourite experience in NSW?
Volunteering in this beautiful state has been one of my favourite experiences while studying in NSW. I have been volunteering at the Australian Red Cross, Starlight Children’s Foundation, my university and the City of Sydney International Student Leadership and Ambassador program. Through these experiences, I stepped out of the study bubble and got the chance to see the world through a different lens. By supporting others, it has also helped me to find meaning in life and know my own values. Through my volunteering experiences, I have learnt so much more than I thought was possible. I am grateful that I can support others with my knowledge and skills. At the same time, volunteering has become the motivation for me to do well in my studies and to continue contributing to society.