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UQ students

Meet Xuemei from China, studying Public Health in Australia

UQ people
Published 23 Dec, 2020  ·  3-minute read

Hi, my name is Xuemei Zhang. I'm from China and I'm doing a Master of Public Health 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?

UQ has a very good academic reputation and also ranks highly for public health internationally.* As I'm financially responsible for my studies, I am very conscious of making sure that I achieve a quality education that is also affordable. Australia and Brisbane in particular have lower tuition fees and cost of living, which influenced my decision. UQ's high rank and lower tuition fees among the Group of Eight (Go8) universities helped me to make my decision.

*UQ’s field of public health is ranked 2nd in Australia and 27th in the world according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, 2020.

UQ's Forgan Smith building at the St Lucia campus

What are your thoughts on studying in Australia and Brisbane?

Brisbane has a pleasant natural environment – even when it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter, it's still green all year round and you can find scenic views of nature across the city and suburbs. One thing I find really special about Brisbane is the parks across the city. They have lots of useful facilities like free exercise equipment, running tracks, barbecues and sporting grounds which you can use with friends.

Brisbane is overall a very accessible city, with shopping malls, supermarkets and gyms located across the city and suburbs. People here are very friendly and they are happy to help you whenever you need a hand. I arrived in Australia alone with no friends or family, so I found the helpful and friendly nature of the locals very touching.

What does an average day studying in Brisbane look like for you?

During the semester, I follow a very tight schedule every day to ensure that I am productive. I usually get up at 7am and go to the gym before class. Then I have lunch back at my apartment and take a nap. Assessment can take up a lot of time during the semester, so I try to complete my assignments before the deadline. Then I go for a jog in the evening then have a simple dinner before getting in some more study before I go to bed at 11pm.

View of Brisbane city skyline with blue sky and river

What are the best things about your program at UQ?

At the very beginning of my studies, I chose a different major but found that I was not enjoying it. Then I decided to change my major into a more specific area that better suited my interests, choosing to study public health. Now, I am really happy I chose this as my focus. It convinced me to study the Master of Public Health at UQ. I now see health issues from a different angle and the kind of things I can do to benefit society. I intend to continue on to study a PhD program in public health and I hope I can be a professional researcher in this area.

This learning experience has given me a deeper understanding of public health, especially from a social perspective, which has helped me to understand just how broad and complex the determinants of health are. I really enjoyed the assessment pieces in this course. We were asked to re-examine our understanding of the knowledge gained in class, and then to reflect on our lives and think about how to use this knowledge in real life. These assignments helped me better understand the knowledge I have gained in class. Overall, this program has helped me see health issues from a different angle and understand what kinds of things I can do for society as a whole.

Outside of my classes, I love the services provided by UQ, including free food, events and workshops featured on StudentHub (these are my favourites).

International students standing infront of food trucks on campus at UQ

What is your major takeaway from studying at UQ?

My program taught me that I am really passionate about research. After completing my program, I intend to continue on to study a PhD in my field. My goal is to become a good university teacher and researcher within the next 5 years. Studying at UQ helped me become more prepared for my career path. I learnt a lot of important skills like epidemiology, research methods and health promotion which will help me as I transition into my research career.

Interested in an academic path similar to Xuemei's? Explore the Master of Public Health today.

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