Vivian Shi

Where is your home city?

Hong Kong

Where do you live now?

Hong Kong

What languages do you speak?

English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Tagalog, Fukienese

What was the name of your course?

Bachelor of Arts in Media and Cultural Studies

When did you graduate?


What was the name of your education institution?

Macquarie University

NSW Alumni Vivian Shi Profile Photo

I was able to build connections in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Taiwan etc. Building connections with them and understanding their culture help me a lot especially in my current career working in a global role.

Why did you choose to study in this field?

During high school, I was determined to become a communications professional. Studying in this field would help me communicate effectively as it would develop my skills in writing, presentation and reading. I thoroughly looked at the study modules and many modules required a lot of writing, creativity, presentation, and analysing films etc. Studying in this field helped me to be more creative and tactful in presenting a certain topic.

Studying Media and Cultural studies was an eye-opener as I was exposed to the western culture I was not familiar with.

The course required a lot of group work with classmates from different nationalities, including a lot of communication and project management. Developing this skill set was beneficial to me as soon as I started my career.

Why did you decide to study in NSW?

One reason I decided to study in NSW was due to the climate and the weather. It's dry and not too cold during winter. I think it was easy to adapt to the weather in NSW.

I also picked NSW over other countries, like the US or the UK because of the close proximity to Asia. Being very close to my family and eight to nine hour flight from home was ideal. I was able to book a flight easily and travel back home.

Sydney to me was like Hong Kong. It's very diverse and multicultural. There are so many different nationalities living in Sydney. You can easily find Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese and Chinese food around the state.

Stepping into Australia for the first time was 'easy peasy'. It was easy to adapt to the lifestyle and culture. Sydney was a great place to make friends with Aussies and other nationalities. People were very friendly and open. You can speak and ask a question to any stranger on the street and they will answer you back.

What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?

I think studying in NSW has helped me to become a more outspoken person and someone who’s willing to try new things and be creative. Studying in Australia exposed me to a number of different cultures and it has helped me to become who I am today. It gave me the opportunity to understand other cultures in Asia since I made friends with so many nationalities.

I was able to build connections in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Taiwan etc. Building connections with them and understanding their culture help me a lot especially in my current career working in a global role.

The course I did at Macquarie University helped launch my career in the media field. While studying I applied for an internship at CNN International in their Hong Kong Headquarter office and was very fortunate to be able to take on a two year internship with them. It was the beginning of my career in the media industry. Since then, I have worked for multinational companies as well as local Hong Kong and Mainland China companies.

What was the highlight of your experience living in NSW?

My friends! I was very fortunate to make a lot of friends in Sydney. They were not just my university classmates, but also friends from a Buddhist Organisation called Soka Gakkai International, Australia (SGI Australia).

Many of my university classmates are still my very good friends now.  A majority of my friends were overseas students like me. Some of them were local or Australian Born Chinese ( Called  ABC’s, Chinese born and raised in Australia). I am very lucky to be able to stay in touch with them even now, even though I graduated from university more than 10 years ago.

Another highlight was staying with my extended Australian family (my homestay back then). They are Wilma and Ralph. We are still very close and we speak all the time. I still remember my first day arriving at their house in Sydney. It was a sunny day and I felt so 'welcomed' in being part of their family as I missed home.

Whenever I visit Sydney for work or for travel, I will certainly arrange a time to visit them and visit my university and the road   I lived most of my time in during my studies.

What are you doing now in your career?

I am currently working as a Communications Business Partner in Atkins, one of the world’s most respected design, engineering, project management consultancies, covering their Asia Pacific region.

Can you share any career advice for current students or graduates?

I would advise students and graduates to keep exploring different things to learn more about yourself and your interests.

It is very important to be rewarded in your profession but at the same time do something you enjoy as a lifetime career. If you don't enjoy doing your job, you most likely won't be able to perform your best and then potentially you won't be able to sustain your job.

I would encourage students and graduates to always speak up and ask questions and never give up on taking on new projects. All experiences count and as a graduate, it is the golden period to try different things.

Strong determination is very important too. It is understandable to give up and to make mistakes because no one is perfect. However, should that happen, do not lose hope. Take a break, then stand up and try again.

NSW Alumni Vivian Shi and Australian family parents at a coffee shop

NSW Alumni Vivian Shi and a friend on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge