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Student stories

Crystal’s “life changing” CDU experience

This article appears in: Balance work, life and study, Education, Studying in Australia
crystal

When Yuqing (Crystal) Zhao came to Darwin, she was already an accomplished student and volunteer. Moving here to complete her Master of Teaching, she soon found lots of new ways to give back to her new community. 

Darwin was a simple choice for Crystal. After moving to Australia from Xi’An in China in 2016 and spending four years on the Gold Coast, she was ready for something new. 

I chose to study and live in Darwin because I found it to be a multicultural and inspiring city with a diverse range of people. Everyone is very close to each other, no matter the cultural background.

Enrolling at CDU, Crystal knew she’d found the perfect university for her. 

“What I like most about CDU are the small class sizes and the simple and easy online learning system. Learnline was straightforward and easy to operate, so I could continue my studies easily.” 

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Reinvesting in community

Boasting a vibrant international student community, Crystal took advantage of the opportunities to become engaged in many of the volunteer groups proudly run by and for students at CDU. 

“I am spending my spare time volunteering for several organisations such as Kindness ShakeCDU Student Ambassadors and StudyNT Student Ambassadors.” 

These opportunities have given Crystal the chance to meet new people, learn new skills and help other international students settle into their new lives in Darwin and at CDU. 

That included the first Charter Flight of international students back to Australia at the end of 2020 following travel restrictions due to Coronavirus.

Crystal welcomed them as they arrived at the airport and spent time with them over zoom while they were in quarantine. Around the same time, she also did an interview on ABC News on behalf of international students – brand new skills for her. 

The skills that I have gained, the connections that I have made and the experiences that I have had have been life changing.

"Through the experience of being a volunteer, I have mastered a lot of skills in organising events such as risk management, event process design, sponsorship seeking, and more. I want to represent my country, China, and help other students receive the same support I have been lucky to receive.” 

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The opportunity of a lifetime

Now that she’s settled, Crystal is able to reflect on the incredible opportunities she has in front of her in one of the most beautiful places on earth. 

"One of my favourite things to do in Darwin is to enjoy the most beautiful sunset in the southern hemisphere,” she says.

“The Northern Territory has many job opportunities and welcomes international students, making me feel very warm." 

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