Haochuan Eric Xu
Where is your home country?
What languages do you speak?
Native Mandarin, English and some French!
I used to be a semi-professional chess player.
What is the name of your course?
Bachelor of Commerce
What is the name of your education provider?
Tell us about your experience studying in NSW
When you study in another country, you expect to learn about that particular place. But for me, studying in NSW has taught me so much about the world. I came to Sydney during high school and then stayed to study at UNSW. During these years in NSW, I have made friends with people from all over the world. Australia’s multicultural society means there are so many diverse perspectives that I was never exposed to in China.
There are so many opportunities in NSW to develop personally and professionally.
What has been your favourite experience in NSW?
I’m a huge foodie and I love that there are so many different cuisines in Sydney. You can find authentic Vietnamese food in Bankstown or go to Parramatta for Cantonese, and there are also great Chinese, Korean and Indonesian restaurants close to where I live. I also enjoy the coffee culture in Australia – there is a café on every corner, so you’re spoiled for choice.
What advice do you have for other international students?
Coming to a foreign country can be scary, but don’t be afraid of trying new things. There are so many opportunities to develop as a person if you are open to new experiences. My recommendation is to step out of your comfort zone, and you’ll learn something new, make new friends and create lifelong memories. You’re always going to make mistakes, but everyone is very supportive and relaxed.
What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?
When I lived in China, I focused all my time and energy on studying. But that changed when I started studying in Sydney. In high school I began focusing on my leadership qualities and extracurricular activities. I was the first international student to be elected the Vice-Captain of the Boarding House and I was also nominated as the Chess Team Captain. I also began volunteering for the Salvation Army which gave me a strong connection to the local community.
Whilst studying at university, I’ve become an International Student Ambassador for the City of Sydney. My role is to help connect local and international students and promote everything that Sydney has to offer. At university, there are also so many opportunities to meet like-minded people. I’m a member of the Boardgame Society and the Chinese Students Association. There are so many associations that cater to different interests, you just have to be open to meeting new people and exploring your interests.