Student blog: What it's like to study in a multicultural city like Brisbane
A Brisbane resident since 2016, Celeste is originally from Ypacarai, Paraguay, and is currently a student at the University of Queensland undertaking her Masters in Environmental Management. In 2017, Celeste was appointed a Brisbane International Student Ambassador and has shared her experience as an international student in Brisbane, which you can follow here.
As you will discover below, Celeste adores living and studying in Brisbane. Read on to hear her thoughts on what studying in Brisbane will teach you.
Apart from perfect, there is no better way to describe Brisbane as a welcoming multicultural destination!
Brisbane is a genuine multicultural paradise that permanently shapes people daily lives. Indeed, as international students, our practices and experiences are totally infused throughout every facet of the engaging multicultural richness of the city and I am positive that this unique and unmissable multicultural opportunity leads to many more benefits than you can imagine.
When you are in Brisbane, be ready to open your eyes to a new reality and immerse yourself in an endless cycle of learning about the way you see the world. Believe me, Brisbane’s multiculturalism will be represented in your professional success, as your highly in-demanded interpersonal skills are going to be colossally boosted.
What will studying in Brisbane teach you?
1. Cultural awareness and tolerance
With such diversity of people around the world, with different backgrounds, ideas, experiences and beliefs, studying in an international environment like Brisbane is an amazing way to understand and appreciate a different culture from your own.
The multicultural community in Brisbane opens you up to a lot of new and exciting adventures of knowing others’ culture and lifestyles, so that you can easily avoid just to stick with what you know and not try to meet people who culturally live with other choices or in another way.
Beyond getting to know each other’s culture, living and studying in Brisbane will truly intensify your cultural awareness. Being aware of others’ cultural backgrounds is the foundation of communication, which becomes central when people interact. This is essential not only for establishing relationships in our increasingly globalised society but also to get a job and succeed at work. With more than 70000 international students and a high level of multiculturalism, Brisbane gives you the chance to grow this greater perspective of diverse cultures and the ability to comprehend new values very fast, which at the end just brings tolerance among us.
Who couldn’t agree that tolerance is fundamental for the development of a peaceful and respectful diverse society? That’s what Brisbane is about.
My time here so far has allowed me to rediscover the sense of tolerance at wonderful multicultural levels by feeling it daily whether on the street, the supermarket, the park or at university. Incredibly, because of this positive atmosphere, I’ve become a multicultural model with an organisation that promotes multiculturalism and peace through the exhibition of typical costumes in fashion parades. How cool is that?!
2. Ability to develop international networks
Multiculturalism is extremely powerful to take us out of our comfort zone by giving us the encouragement to create relationships and professional connections. Undoubtedly, Brisbane’s multicultural dynamics have been a catalyst for my abilities to interact with people of diverse beliefs and ways of thinking.
This has allowed me to be blessed with the incredible opportunity of being selected as one of the Brisbane International Student Ambassadors. The program treasures multiculturalism among the local community and the international student collective in Brisbane. This was just the starting point of amazing experiences on developing international networking which today is a mandatory skill when it comes to managing diverse workplaces and dealing with international markets.
The multicultural community of Brisbane has also taught me that the more you openly and consciously engage with people of varied cultures, the more developed your soft skills in international networking will become.
I experienced this as a Brisbane International Student Ambassador when I suddenly found myself collaborating and getting involved in many university clubs, societies and events as well as in volunteering activities in different community organisations. Plus, who could forget language? I promise you that your English will dramatically improve, and you may pick up a few new languages, which is a key asset for effective communication across cultures, so take advantage!
3. Adaptability and resilience
Adaptability and resilience are also fundamental skills to face the constant and unpredictable changing winds at work, university or just in everyday life. My daily life with friends and classmates from different countries influenced me to become someone fully capable to not only adapt to different realities but also to be stronger and flexible in tough situations.
Being away from family sometimes may cause us to struggle and consequently feel falling apart, however, as soon as you embrace Brisbane as your home away from home, you will learn how to manage difficulties, figure out how to still have a good time and make your time here a success!
When living in a multicultural city, your ability to adapt and be more resilient increases. Our exposure to different ideologies broadens our minds and understanding, allowing us to adapt more freely to any situation, or to easily recover when things do not go as expected or when a problem requires a solution.
As we are surrounded by individuals with an immense variety of cultural identities, our understanding of the global audience and what it entails along with our ability to get recovered from complex issues are enormously boosted. Anyway, in Brisbane you will always find support and counselling, just check or visit the amazing Brisbane Student Hub.
4. Confidence and leadership skills
Living and studying in Brisbane gives an opportunity to develop more self-confidence as you are exposed to different cultures that consistently pushes out your extroverted side and increases your emotional stability.
In my case, skills such as active listening, empathising, collaboration, and taking personal responsibility were reinforced through experience and practice in classrooms and public spaces and their dominant diversity. If it’s not something you’d usually do, studying somewhere like Brisbane with a diverse international student community, you will find you’re more open to question and comment on others’ ideas.
With the assortment of lifestyles and beliefs, living in Brisbane has increased my confidence to get the upper hand to make independent choices about our path. As we learn in a blend of cultures, knowledge, languages, music, cuisines and practices it is easier for us to make our own decisions on what we want in life and how we want to achieve it.
We become the leaders of our lives. Indeed, along with confidence, multicultural aspects of Brisbane will model that innate role of leader you have.
Learning in a cosmopolitan city like this paradise awakes your leadership potential to work in groups and create a shared vision. The understanding of values of different professionals from various countries develops our skills to manage differences that may arise while working with people from a different country. Moreover, you realise how enhanced is your leadership ability when it reaches a state in which your success is only measured by the success of others. I lived this enriching experience as a mentor and part of a welcome crew for new international students coming to Brisbane. You must live it!
5. Creativity and employability
My life in Brisbane has showed me that in multicultural societies we become more creative and complex thinkers. This is clearly noticeable at university where we train our decision-making skills become into better problem solvers with a display of tons of creativity when generating answers and solutions.
We are more likely to create new ideas for businesses, projects and products. You simply do not stop thinking and planning for the next step. This contributes to your feelings of self-realisation, success and your winner attitude.
Brisbane has plenty of opportunities for us as international students to develop our profile as entrepreneurs, influencers and start-up runners. Take advantage of the diversity in classrooms and workplaces and you will discover that your level of innovation goes unstoppably up. You’ll find yourself collaborating for the group’s growth and soon you’ll see how creative strategies and significant achievements just come up because of the huge variety of perspectives arisen in a discussion nurtured by peer learning processes.
When engaging in multicultural peer learning we benefit from vaster creative outcomes. Indeed, group tasks across cultural and language diversity represents a more demanding and challenging scenario that at the end produces the deepest rewards.
For example, as a Brisbane student, bringing a broad network of international contacts to a potential employer will not be a problem. Contacting your university friends or your fellow Brisbane Student Ambassadors to find out about new opportunities or explore the potential for expanding into a new market are activities that will be done in a blink of an eye, and I am sure your boss would be thrilled. You’ll be a more desirable human talent in your industry and networks because of all the value you will add to them.
Summing it all up...
In the end, if we analyse it in more detail we realise that in addition to all that enhanced and boosted employability, multiculturalism in Brisbane intrinsically means an exponential personal growth. Through this experience many paradigms and pre-concepts are broken, independence and maturity are conquered and individual satisfaction is reached. You will even valuate your own culture in higher levels, seeking to learn and understand your national identity and idiosyncrasies to spread them out with responsibility and irrepressible pride.
Brisbane allows you to see through the eyes of others with an ingrained and powerful sense of community.
I have had the unique opportunity to experience mutual learning and the beauty of empathy for one another. I got to know the amazing variety of greetings and ways to give a warm welcome and say thank you. These simply cannot be found in books, formulas or recipes.
The experience of living multiculturally transforms us into global citizens since Brisbane is about to know and feel the world in just one wonderful place, where there is always something new to learn from others and something to give to someone else. This is what defines true success and shows us what means to not only live but to exist.