International students welcomed back to campus

International students welcomed back to campus

On 15 December 2021, after almost two years, Australia re-opened its borders to international students.

Since then, some of the more than 6000 RMIT students who've been unable to travel to Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic have been arriving in Melbourne to commence or continue their studies on-campus with RMIT.

RMIT's international students are a vital part of our University, making a significant contribution to our diverse and inclusive community, and we've been so excited to welcome some of them to Melbourne, kicking off with a vibrant event to celebrate Lunar New Year.

We spoke to some students who've recently arrived, to hear about their experiences of travelling in the time of COVID and their first impressions of Melbourne and what they're looking forward to most about being here.

Calvin Fernando, India – Master of Architecture

What was your first impression of Melbourne?

I wanted to come to Melbourne, because it’s a vibrant city with lots of different, multicultural people. I arrived at midnight on Christmas eve, so I saw the city in lights. The first thing I did when I finished quarantine was that I went on a long walk! I started at Flinders Street Station and Federation Square and walked all the way to RMIT’ Design Hub. I wanted to walk and experience the city. I saw the fireworks at Federation Square on New Year's Eve, and all the people that came out. I was really excited to see the city come alive and be among it.

What are you looking forward to about coming to campus?

I like that RMIT does a lot of experimental architecture, we won’t be designing a simple block or house. And with everything we do, we question and challenge ourselves, and I like that.

Your tips for other international students who’re planning to travel to Melbourne for study? 

Follow the rules, whatever they ask you to do, and you’ll be fine in the airport. And pack less! Don’t take all the clothes, because after arriving I realised you can buy anything you need here. 

Calvin Fernando International student Calvin Fernando

Gurmeen Kaur, India – Bachelor of Fashion (Enterprise)

What was your first impression of Melbourne?

I feel I’m the one of the luckiest people who have travelled in times of the pandemic to study and build a bright future. So far, Melbourne is such a beautiful place, I love it. Melbourne’s winding alleyways are magical which makes me feel as though I’ve stepped into a real-life Wonderland. 

How do you feel about studying at RMIT?  

The day I joined the RMIT family, I was in my home country and since then RMIT makes me feel secure like a bodyguard, guided like a parent at each step and supportive like a teacher. Before coming to Australia RMIT sent me coupons for $200, so that I can shop for anything I like. Being a part of the creative industry I’m lucky to have so much talent in the state where I’m going to study and research.

Your tips for other international students who’re planning to travel to Melbourne for study?

One very important tip which I could have done while I was in my home country, please do proper research and attend seminars arranged online by the university and government to have as much information as possible.

Xinh Dinh, Vietnam - Master of Science (Computer Science)

What has been your experience of Melbourne been like so far?

Life in Melbourne is so interesting, there’s so much to discover in Melbourne for international students, and Melbourne always welcomes international students.

Why did you choose to study at RMIT?  

I chose to study with RMIT because of my supervisor and his project’s focus in applications of advanced mathematics. When I work with him, I can see his professional working style – he’s really enthusiastic, always ready to answer my questions.

I received a lot of support from RMIT. If I had a question or needed help, firstly I asked my supervisor and if he knew the answers, he would tell me what I needed to know/prepare. If he didn’t know, he would tell me who to ask. 

Your tips for other international students who’re planning to travel to Melbourne for study?

Read the documents from RMIT and the government. The rules always change, and they make it easier for us to follow the new changes. Prepare all the documents the government requires; it will make your journey easier. 

Alt Text is not present for this image, Taking dc:title 'International student Xinh Dinh' International student Xinh Dinh

Alysha Binti Mohd Nizuaisham, Malaysia - Bachelor of Design (Games)

What has been your experience of Melbourne been like so far?

Melbourne is one of the most suitable cities for students, [especially] for international students. It's very friendly. It's very multicultural. To my surprise there’s a lot of halal food range. Melbourne helped a lot in factoring that decision [to study at RMIT]. 

Why did you choose to study at RMIT? 

Because I am under a scholarship, I needed to choose the university. [I looked at] the top-ranking universities within the world for this subject and RMIT is well known for design, if I'm not mistaken RMIT ranks number one in the Southern hemisphere. RMIT has this visually interesting space to study at [and is] well known for its architecture. And then after doing more extensive research on RMIT itself, I am so very glad and thankful that I chose RMIT.

Your tips for other international students who’re planning to travel to Melbourne for study?

I like do my research on all of the accommodation [options]. Because [to me] that's the most important factor. I had to sift through about almost 800 accommodation places, and I put them in a spreadsheet. I divided it through their address, how much the rent is and what they provide. If you have that spreadsheet, it gives you a very easy way to compare between what they give and where the locations are. 

Hot tip, spreadsheets are very sexy whenever you want to find accommodation! 

Three young students wearing masks posing for the camera in pink retail store International student Alysha Binti Mohd Nizuaisham

Shaimaa Alkabi, United Arab Emirates – PhD (Electrical and Electronic Engineering)

Why did you choose to study at RMIT?

I earned my Master’s degree from the US and was looking for a new experience in a different country. My scholarship supervisor and my old professors suggested that I do my PhD in Australia, at RMIT. They highly recommended RMIT for its global ranking and scientific research. My professors said, "All these creative projects will help you to do great research and outcomes". It is very interesting that RMIT has world-class facilities, and the school of Engineering is very well known for innovations and creativity.

What do you like about Melbourne?  

To be honest with you? First time I came here, I was like, this looks like a mix of New York and Boston! I loved this combination of historical buildings and modern architectures in the city, and yet so much to discover!

International student supports

While we know not all international students can join us in Melbourne just yet, we continue to support international students both on campus and overseas. If you're an international student studying in Melbourne or overseas, check out the opportunities below:

  • Kirrip program: The RMIT Kirrip community helps you connect with other students, explore Melbourne and talk about the things that matter to you. Students who are overseas can connect with the community and make friends online, by joining the Kirrip Discord channel. Find out more
  • How2Melbourne: Presented by current RMIT students, this session will help you get your head around life, study and work at RMIT as an international student. Students who are overseas can join the sessions online. Find out more.
  • Job Club for international students: International students studying in Australia can attend this Job Club to learn about finding part time, casual or graduate work, share experiences with others, and as a group discuss solutions to identified barriers. Find out more.
21 February 2022


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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.