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From business in Australia, to travelling Asia: Elise’s study exchange


Elise decided to study business in Australia at Griffith University, before travelling around Asia. This is her story.

Elise Giles is from Queensland and she decided to study business in Australia, at Griffith University. She was awarded a Business Achievement Medal for being the graduate with the highest overall achievement. Following her studies, she travelled to Asia and now works as a Capability Development Manager for AsiaLink Business in Melbourne. I asked her about her time at university.

Why did you study business in Australia?

“Growing up in rural Queensland, I saw the fundamental role that small businesses play in the local economy and I aspired to do just that – create my own business. I knew I needed to undertake tertiary education to provide me with the appropriate skills and experiences. So I started looking for a program that would help me develop a unique and competitive skill set. 

“I was attracted to Griffith University because it offers a wide range of business specialisations that were of great interest to me. The Griffith Honours College was also of interest to me. It’s a program designed to help high achieving students that display leadership reach their full potential. Ultimately, I chose the program because I knew it would help me achieve my goals.

“As a whole, I felt my program at Griffith was actually more practical than I expected, but I learned more effectively because of this. From work-integrated learning to community engagement and real-life examples presented by leading academics, I could genuinely translate these learnings into the real world. It has prepared me for my engagement in government, and the private sector.”

Check out our article on work-integrated learning in Australia.

Brisbane signCreating a professional network

“At Griffith, I was able to develop strong relationships with academics as I had a real interest in their research interests. I am still in contact with the professors, and they continue to provide guidance to me in a professional setting. In particular, I have stayed connected to Associate Professor Peter Woods, Director (International) of the Griffith Business School. Peter delivered a course called “The Social context of Asian Business” in my first year, and coincidentally I undertook the elective course.

“To this day I still remember the stories Peter told of how to engage with Indonesia – Australia’s closest neighbour. He expressed the importance and value of South Korea’s chaebol in their economy. I found the cultural complexities intriguing, and I wanted to learn more about the Asia region. I had never stepped foot out of Australia however, this course really planted the seed for me to begin this engagement. Peter’s teaching really helped to pivot my career – from a purely domestic focus to a global one. He taught me how to capitalise on the opportunities Asia presents.

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From China to Australia: Janice’s Hotel Management degree abroad


Janice studied her Hotel Management degree at Griffith University, Australia. This is her story.

Janice has just turned 25 and is from Guilin in the Guangxi Province of China. She’s full of energy and optimism. Her openness to talk about why she studied her hotel management degree abroad is admirable. I asked her why she chose to leave China in the first place.

Why study abroad?

“I would say I have always wanted to study overseas. But what made it happen was partly the system in China. Back home, I would have had to study a major that I didn’t like, at a university I didn’t like, and even in a city I didn’t like!

“In China, the education system is quite extreme in terms of competitiveness because of the large population. I had a really tough time in year 12, and no matter how hard I worked I just couldn’t get a score that would get me where I wanted to go. You can study for 12-16 years for a college entrance exam which determines your university. If you’re not happy, you can’t change it unless you go back and do year 12 again. I was so stressed with severe anxiety and major issues with self-worth.

“Basically, I almost failed to get into any university, but eventually I got into one which I didn’t like. It felt like I had no choice but to study there and I just wasn’t enjoying life, so I quit. That’s when I started applying to universities overseas. Luckily, I had a good IELTS score which I took originally just because I wanted to improve my English, not apply overseas, but it became very useful. 

“I knew I wanted to do a master’s abroad one day and I realised that the difference in cost between a master’s and a bachelors wasn’t that great. This made me see that I did have a choice, so I just changed my mind and my family fully supported that. It was the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Why study a hotel management degree in Australia?

“Well, I didn’t want to go to America or Canada because it was four years to finish a degree. And the reason I didn’t choose the UK was that (I don’t want to offend you) but I do like nice sunshine!” 

I assured Janice that I wasn’t offended!

“Yes, I just thought that if I chose a rainy or gloomy place my whole mood would be heavily impacted, so I felt like I needed a place that’s got nice weather. Other factors that helped me choose Australia was the flexibility over changing courses, and the ability to work on a student visa. Here, if you apply for a hotel management degree at the beginning, it’s quite easy for you to change your mind. Also, universities here have strong connections internationally, so you can always do an exchange for one semester or something like that.”

Find out more about Janice’s time at Griffith University here.

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Janice’s degree in Business and Hotel Management in Australia


Janice studied her bachelor’s degree in Business and Hotel Management at Griffith University in Australia. This is her story.

She’s an international student from Guilin, Guangxi Province in China. After graduating, she decided to stay in Gold Coast, Australia where she works in high-end retail. We asked her about her time at university, and why she chose to study Business and Hotel Management.

Why Business and Hotel Management

“I wanted to study Business and Hotel Management as it’s a very practical course. I thought it was very well organised because it deals with the financial side, marketing and even the front office. This offers every perspective on how you run a hotel. They also taught me how to use the programs that hotels use. So students are fully prepared before they actually work in a hotel.

“The lectures, like the course, are very well organised. I really liked the tutorials here because they are small which meant they gave their full attention to every student. For example, I found the topic of Legal Issues very hard, but I received a reference letter from my lecturer. He said that I was very hardworking and that I had put a lot of effort into this course. He gave me lots of recognition for my work which really pleased me and motivated me to continue to work hard.

Why Business and Hotel Management at Griffith University?

“Although I am from a very small city back in China, my city is very famous for tourism. I had always wanted to do something related to that field, like Hospitality and Tourism Management. Unlike Canada and the USA, a bachelor’s degree in Australia is a three-year degree, not four. So that was an advantage because it shortened the time that I spent overseas, reducing the costs.

“While my parents had always wanted me to go to a famous University, I was more interested in going somewhere that would teach me something useful and practical. Whenever I told agents that I wanted to do Hotel Management, they referred me to Griffith University. Even though this initially did not grab my attention, so many agents continually reaffirmed that it was an outstanding and very real-world orientated. So good, in fact, that I began to look at student reviews. Immediately, I noticed the diversity of students at Griffith. What really enticed me was the local students, who gave really positive reviews of the university. The rest is history, as they say. In the end, I did lots of research before I came to Australia and I definitely do not regret my choice.

“Since my parents had to pay my tuition fees, costs were important. Griffith is not super expensive compared to other Universities in Queensland – it was nearly half the cost. International students like me, whose families have to pay all the tuition fees, really have to take that into consideration. The application process was pretty straightforward and because I made sure I achieved a high IELTS score, I could go straight into my degree and avoid studying at a college or language school.”

Find out more about why Janice chose to study in Australia here. 

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