One semester in at The University of Queensland and Bachelor of Commerce student Tiffany (Wen Hui) Tan feels right at home.
Ms Tan is the recipient of a one-off $10,000 bursary funded by UQ for a promising student from HELP University in Malaysia.
The “30th Anniversary HELP-UQ Bursary in honour of Datuk Dr Paul Chan and Datin Dr Kam Yoke Chan-Low” commemorates 30 years of excellence at HELP University and the long-standing HELP-UQ partnership.
As its first and only recipient Ms Tan said she was “honoured and privileged” to be selected.
“This will definitely be one of my greatest achievements in life and it inspires me to accomplish even more,” she said.
“I’m deeply grateful as it has lightened so much of my parents’ financial burden.”
Ms Tan first visited Australia as a child, taking in tourist attractions such as the Gold Coast’s world- famous theme parks and enjoying encounters with wild dolphins at Tangalooma Island – but she said she views the country with fresh eyes as an international student.
“So far it has been really exciting for me, especially because this is my first time leaving home,” she said.
“My initial worries of adapting to the new environment are vanishing and I feel part of the community. I’m more settled now and eager to explore and appreciate this new place.”
Experiencing student life on the iconic St Lucia campus was one of the main drawcards for Ms Tan.
“When I first visited the UQ campus I was stunned by the beautiful lakes, sandstone structures and the lush greenery,” she said.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of the scenery on my way to classes.
“It also feels great to have the opportunity to meet up and interact with students from diverse cultures and backgrounds.
“Besides that, I find the staff here very approachable and helpful, and everything is so convenient for students – from public transport to food options.”
A driven and diligent student, Ms Tan knew she wanted to study overseas from a young age.
“I was partly influenced by my cousins who pursued their dreams abroad,” she said.
“UQ is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. I focused on being eligible for the HELP-UQ bursary because I believe that an Australian degree qualification will put me in a better position to compete with many other graduates in the workforce.”
After graduation, Ms Tan hopes to stay on in Australia and fulfil her career dream of becoming a professional management consultant.
"I hope to find a job or an internship here to enrich myself and get some work experience in the local business community,” she said.
“International exposure will really help develop my competence, confidence and other skills so I can face challenges and take advantage of opportunities in my career.
Ms Tan said she would recommend UQ to fellow Malaysian students “without a second thought”.
“My advice is just to follow your dream and grab the first opportunity open to you,” she said.
“I’m glad I made this decision because I’m experiencing what I couldn’t back home, which is the chance to be more independent and adventurous.”
Ms Tan will finish her degree at UQ at the end of Semester 1, 2017. The bursary will continue to help with her living expenses in Australia.