Matt Ma

Where is your home country?

Mainland China

What do you study?

Bachelor of Marketing

Where do you study?

University of Sydney

What languages do you speak?

Mandarin (first language) and English. I am also learning how to speak Spanish by self study and classes.

Fun facts about you

I have been keeping a journal since I was 11 years old, to this day, I still write in it every single day.

I also started my own YouTube channel where I record my life and experiences in Sydney in order to practice video editing and filming skills. Follow my journey here:

What opportunities has studying in NSW given to you?

Studying in NSW has brought many opportunities to my professional and personal life. As an international student, I am passionate about helping other students and became a Resident Assistant at the Queen Mary Building (student accommodation in the University of Sydney) in February 2018. As part of this position, I was able to talk to other international students and provide support and help when needed, as well as offer some advice on academic or extracurricular-related activities. Through my experience, I was recently promoted to the position of Resident Life Coordinator at the Regiment Building, which gave me the opportunity to be involved in administrative tasks such as logistics and event planning.

In order to learn more about the Australian culture and be part of the Sydney community, I have volunteered for several organisations and events such as the Blackmores Running Festival, TEDx Sydney, Vivid Sydney, a receptionist at the Nicholson Museum, and most recently as a Student Mentor for the University of Sydney Business School. Through my commitment to volunteering and helping others, I was encouraged to apply for the International Student Leadership and Ambassador program (ISLA) for the City of Sydney and was selected as an International Student Ambassador after a very competitive process. As part of my role, I developed student activities and events for international students as well as being involved in the research project for the Students Consultation Group for international students in Sydney.

Being involved in those opportunities has helped me to make more friends and meet people from all over the world. I have been able to build a strong network of professional contacts. I was able to develop my personal skills such as public speaking, networking, communication skills, etc. I recently applied for a position at the Centre for English Teaching (CET) at the University of Sydney and was selected to become a concierge at the front desk. I am really excited about this new job as I am able to help other international students in the place where my journey in Australia first started!

What has been your favourite experience in NSW?

Being able to travel to Cairns from Sydney in a camper van with my friends and discovering waterfalls, forests and beautiful Australia on the way up. During this road trip, my favourite place was Byron Bay because I went surfing for the first time and met locals from Byron Bay and got to experience Aussie culture.

What advice do you have for other international students?

Get involved! There are so many ways to get involve and build your networks in Australia, through your university or the City of Sydney, you just need to look for opportunities and get out of your comfort zone! When I first arrived in Sydney, I forced myself to speak to other people in English, even with my Chinese friends. The more you practice, the easier it will get!