Meet Sai from Myanmar, studying Agribusiness in Australia
Hi, my name is Sai Wai Yan. I'm from Myanmar and I'm doing a Bachelor of Agribusiness at The University of Queensland. I'm also a UQ International Student Ambassador.
Why did you choose to study in Australia and specifically at UQ?
In pursuing my tertiary education, I chose Australia because I knew that this country could provide me with a profound high-quality education that was an investment in myself. Needless to say, Australia’s reputation as a diverse and multicultural country was also a factor in my choice and this helped me during my transition period when I first arrived here.
I have a strong passion for food and agriculture, which is one of the most exported commodities of Myanmar. UQ was known to be the most research-intensive Australian institute in agriculture, ranking number 31 in the world (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2022).
Brisbane’s cost of living as an affordable city compared to Sydney and Melbourne also helped me when deciding to choose UQ. Plus, who doesn’t love studying at an elegant university campus with lakes, nature and the Great Court?
What are your thoughts on studying in Australia and Brisbane?
My first year in Australia was challenging due to cultural differences but everything changed once I started studying at UQ. Brisbane is great for meeting people from different cultural backgrounds and UQ does a good job at integrating international students from diverse backgrounds while also supporting them through cultural events like Diwali or autumn festival celebrations.
The UQ Union also accommodates the international student community with its 220+ affiliated clubs. Especially during the first few weeks of my first year, I had an amazing experience bonding through festive events run by UQ and UQ Union. All of these little experiences have given me a deep sense of belonging and made Brisbane feel like home.
My favourite place in Brisbane is the vibrant and festive atmosphere of South Bank. The Ferris wheel, the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and the Sciencentre at the Queensland Museum are my favourite destinations to visit every weekend.
What are the best things about your program at UQ?
I chose my program because it has been structured to understand the business and economic dynamics of the agri-food production system. Being provided with the opportunity to understand both the scientific and commercial perspectives of the industry is quite a unique approach when compared to other top-tier universities.
The best thing about the program is that is has a hands-on approach where we gain experience in solving the complex business challenges of the agri-food industry. The program has been structured to allow for several industry visits in each year of the program. The course coordinators allow us to explore different sectors of the industry such as beef production, farm equipment distribution, seeding companies, wineries and more. This gives students a glimpse into how the workforce is going to be after their graduation.
Through my studies I’ve realised that I would like to work as an economic and public policy consultant in the future. UQ has played a big role in acting as a catalyst in my understanding of the business, economic and social aspects of the agri-food industry throughout my degree. UQ has also supported my professional journey. This includes financial support through initiatives such as the Employability Grant, which assisted me when attending professional conferences and workshops. I look forward to creating impactful change within society and for my nation after graduating.
Have you undertaken an internship, volunteer experience or UQ Employability program?
One of the highlights of my time at UQ was my participation in programs run by UQ Ventures. One of these was a six-week entrepreneurship program that taught me new skills in design thinking, critical thinking, problem solving and developing a business from scratch. I was then accepted into UQ Idea Hub's Tel Aviv Startup Adventure. This included a month long internship in Israel with a non-profit start-up which has since opened doors to many more opportunities and has broadened my understanding of cutting-edge technologies and innovation happening globally.
My work with the UQ Union as an International Student Officer has similarly been incredibly rewarding. As a student executive of the UQ Union, I helped deliver the Cultural Fiesta, conduct 13 online seminars on student and graduate visas and established the International Student Advisory Committee which provided international students with a platform.
I also participated in a winter student exchange program to Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Italy where I studied sustainable business management. The Global Experiences team were really supportive throughout this. This program has helped me explore my career direction, develop my employability skills and uncover new possibilities in my field.
What advice would you give people from other countries about studying at UQ?
If you believe in being a changemaker for your community and want to create an impact that matters, you will find yourself welcomed at UQ. The doors beyond UQ are filled with countless opportunities complete with amazing adventures ready for you to explore. If you strongly believe in freedom of thought, knowledge and wisdom, UQ is the beginning of your craftsmanship journey.