Student blog: 4 ways to overcome challenges and become a STAR achiever - Choose Brisbane


Student blog: 4 ways to overcome challenges and become a STAR achiever

Simon Wattanatum

By Simon Wattanatum

Simon is from Bangkok, Thailand. He is studying Human Resources Management at Queensland University of Technology.

Having a goal is one thing, but actually achieving it? That’s something else entirely. No goal is ever completely out of our reach. I try to remind myself of this when I face difficult situations while studying in Australia. I was once overwhelmed by difficulties, but I eventually overcame those challenges.

How did I do it? Four keywords. S - Self-confidence, T – Target, A – Ability, R – Reliability.


Your first big challenge as an international student is probably the lack of language fluency. A lot of international students end up shy and fearful, too afraid to ever leave their comfort zone.

Just a quick reminder, we are here to learn. Getting out of your comfort zone is the point. 

Simon Sittipong Wattanatum

I came to Brisbane with limited English language skills and first started in a pre-intermediate level at Shafston International College. It was stressful because I had to deal with many difficult situations, including new learning styles, new foreign friends, and cultural diversity. I overcame those challenges through self-confidence. This can be adopted and applied in any situation, such as in your studies, work and in everyday life. When we have more self-confidence, we are less focused on our flaws and less worried about comparing ourselves to others. 

I practiced with my classmates, teachers and people around me with no fear, shyness or anxiety, even though I could not speak very well. I also taught Thai to friends and co-workers for free, which was a great way to practice English. For work experience, I attended all kinds of job interviews. One handy tip is to demonstrate self-confidence by maintaining eye contact. 


Target-setting is the first step for every journey - you gotta pick the destination before you can plan how to get there. Target-setting helps us stay focused and measure our performance along the way. 

When I first came here, my target was simply to improve my English for better test results. I put a lot of effort into my study and tried to find suitable ways to learn English. As a result of clear target-setting, I was able to enroll in QUT Business School with an academic scholarship. Additionally, target-setting let me move beyond what I thought were my limitations. I actively sought out platforms and opportunities that allowed me to utilise my knowledge and skills. Eventually, I was selected to be one of the Brisbane International Student Ambassadors and I was part of the Student Employability Accelerator Program.

Simon Sittipong Wattanatum


Many International students are concerned about their work-life balance in Australia in their new environment.

I truly believe that everyone has the ability to learn, absorb and adapt to new surroundings. We must be open-minded learners, willing to give any opportunity a go. We might eventually find extraordinary talents that we never realised we had. I worked as a waiter, a barista, and a florist, in every case I had no prior work experience in that area. However, I gave it a try and always did my best to be a good learner. I always reminded myself that only through passion and determination can we turn our dream into reality. Our abilities can always be built and developed, but we need to be willing to try. 

Simon Sittipong Wattanatum

Right now, I am working as a migration agent assistant. Again, I did not have this background when I started. Despite my lack of experience, when this opportunity came, I seized it. I continuously acquire more knowledge to enhance my qualifications and perform better. 


Reliability is the essence of trustworthiness. You need it to build healthy relationships with other people. There are various ways you can be reliable - getting things done on time, doing what you promised, or always delivering a high standard of work, even just being willing to take on extra jobs. Being a reliable person requires us to be engaged and to take responsibility. 

Simon Sittipong Wattanatum

To do well in Australia, you need to understand what people here respect. From my experience, most people here value those who are punctual, respectful, polite, friendly, straight-forward and genuine. If you’re that kind of person, you will be a star.

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