An interview with a student on life in Australia
We interviewed Louis Tang, a Malaysian studying for a double degree in Law and Media Studies in Australia. Louis shares some tips on what to expect when furthering your studies to a foreign country and what you can expect from Australia. One thing’s for sure, we sure like the sounds of great social life with loads of outdoor activities and BBQs! Find out more from his interview below.
Question: Why did you decide to study in Australia?
Louis: I chose to study in Australia because the law degree in the University of Adelaide is recognized by the Malaysian Bar Council. Also, I chose to study here because many of my relatives studied here and recommended it to me.
Q: What made you choose a double degree in Law and Media Studies?
L: Initially, I decided to do a double degree because for just one more year, I could obtain another degree (very "worth it"!). I chose Law and Media Studies because my mum always tells me to major in something that can put food on the table, and minor in something you love. I love making films and music, so undertaking the Media Studies course was very enriching for me.
The biggest advantage of doing a double degree is that you'll have a wider perspective of what you're studying. For example, if you simply do law, you'll only be studying about issues relating to law. But if you study, say, political science, you'll be able to see politics through the eyes of the law and vice versa.
I was told that having two degrees is quite advantageous in searching for a job, but I'll get back to you in around 2 year's time on that.
Q: What do you learn on your course?
L: In the Bachelors of Law program, I learn about the different fields of law (such as Criminal Law, Contract Law, Property Law etc.). Most of my assignments (or projects) ask questions regarding the application of the law into different real-life scenarios, as well as how the law evolves and the rationale behind the creation of laws.
In the Bachelor of Media Studies program, I learn about the working of media in our everyday lives - be it online, social media, print or broadcast media. I learned that different forms of media inadvertently affect our lives, cultures and government.
I did a media placement for the South Australian Rugby Union and created video advertisements for them. It was a good way of putting what I learned to good use because prior to this, I only had a theoretical understanding of how video and web advertising worked.
Q: Did you experience any challenging moments during your course of study?
L: I think the most challenging moment in my academic life here was thinking critically or thinking out of the box. Traditionally, I was used to memorizing and regurgitating information, but I realised I could not do this for law - where I had to be creative and critical with my arguments.
The biggest challenge in my first year was learning how to do research and write academic essays. Traditionally, I had only ever chosen to write the fictional type essays for UPSR and PMR, so it took me a while to learn how to write concisely, succinctly and clearly while avoiding plagiarism.
Q: Did you find it difficult adapting to the Australian culture or way of life?
L: I think the biggest thing that required getting used to was the Australian accent! Typically you'd get a lot of exposure to the American or British accents through watching TV. So when I arrived in Australia thinking I had pretty good listening skills, I was proven wrong by the many times I had to ask people to repeat themselves or clarify what they were saying. Many slang words such as "Heaps good" or "throw it on the barbie" were phrases I had never heard of before, but 4 years into my degree, I think I've gotten the hang of it (or at least I think I do)!
That said, Australian culture is very laid back and very friendly. It involves a lot of BBQ, sports, being outdoors and beer. I was really shy initially, so I wasn't used to talking to people on a regular basis. But after a few years of exposure, I gained a bit of confidence and now I love the Australian way of life!
Q: What do you love most about living and studying there?
L: Australia is a melting pot of cultures, and the most amazing thing about studying here is that I am exposed to many different people from different parts of the world. Everything about this place is brimming with diversity and culture - I could walk down Chinatown and hear nothing but Mandarin spoken around me. As I walk towards Prospect Road in the North, it's a blend of Afghan and Indian cultures. I really love that about this place!
Q: What are the types of part time jobs you can get as a student?
L: I'm really blessed financially, so I don't work part time. I'm a casual designer and photographer for events. It doesn't help me gain a lot of extra pocket money, but I cherish the experience.
A lot of Malaysian students here work as waiters/waitresses to supplement the very expensive international student fees or simply to gain work experience. You could earn between 10 - 25 dollars an hour, so it's quite a lot!
Q: What do you hope to do with your degree?
L: I hope my degree will help me secure a job as an intellectual property lawyer - because my idea of fun involves sitting in an office laughing at strange patents/copyrights.
But in all seriousness, I hope I can use the degree to do something related to both law and media, such as intellectual property or drafting contracts for broadcasting companies. One of my childhood dreams was to be a film director, so with a law degree, I hope I'll be able to make cool lawyer-films like Boston Legal!
An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.
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