Student Story: Cao Hien Chi (Vietnam)

23 April 2020

Studying: Doctor of Philosophy - Biotech (PhD) at Murdoch University My name is Cao Hien Chi (Chi) and I am studying for a PhD at Murdoch university - I have one and a half years to go of my studies.

Before I came to Perth, I had studied in Sydney for two years then went back Vietnam for three years. After my time in Sydney, I knew I always wanted to come back Australia. I chose Perth as I wanted to experience different city, and to my knowledge at that time, Perth had perfect weather and balanced life style... though the day I arrived (over two years ago) it was raining!

The city is active and vivid enough for a youngster who wants to live a “wild” life but relaxed and calm enough for some slower moments to relax. When I have free time, I enjoy going swimming and jumping off the jetty in Coogee Beach, or 4-wheel driving on road trips around Western Australia. WA is blessed with spectacular natural scenery, especially a pink sunset that you might not see anywhere else. Much more than that, during springtime, the whole of Perth is blossoming. There are many endless breathtaking wildflower fields that you can actually see from a satellite.

Also, compared to Sydney, living in Perth is much cheaper for students. For example, in the east I had to pay full fare for public transport and many other services. But in Perth, international students are offered discounts on bus and train fares and for many other services, much like domestic students. It’s the same with housing; I pay less for a much bigger house in Perth than I did in Sydney.

Apart from that, and even more important, is that Perth is a multicultural city. Studying here, I am immersed in a multicultural environment. Connections with my fellow students allow me to experience different cultures, and become familiar with different ways of thinking and working. This helps me become prepared for my future career in the globalised labour market.

To my knowledge, the WA Government is working hard to ensure there will be more job vacancies for international students who qualify and try hard. That said, there are some things I think post-grads could do to increase their employability, such as mastering soft skills, preparing a professional résumé and cover letter. Most education institutions have career services to support and advise students in these areas. Apart from that, networking and joining community services in order to help people also help international students in their search for suitable jobs.

The one hour time difference from Vietnam to Perth is a big advantage for Vietnamese students like me. Just imagine that after a long day studying and working, you come home at 8.00pm - it's only 7.00pm in Vietnam! You are able to talk your mum while she is preparing dinner; it's just like an old day at home. Another benefit is that I don’t suffer from jet lag when I fly between the two places.

Vietnamese students should consider Perth as a study destination for many reasons! If you want to experience studies with international standards and qualifications; enjoy an active lifestyle but also have some relaxing moments to catch your breath; experience globalisation but also a culturally-rich Australian cultures enjoy mild, Mediterranean weather; or eat a wide range of delicious cuisines... simply come to Perth to study!

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