A representative of the newcomers

By Sunny Liu

For Hong-Kong native Wing Lau, Melbourne is a country town. 

Ms Lau is just one of the many Chinese international students taking over Melbourne’s CBD.  She came to Melbourne in 2012 and has been studying at Monash University since.

Born in a prominent family in Hong Kong and the daughter of a big name in the real estate industry, she says she had been “a flower growing in a greenhouse” until she came to Australia.

“My parents used to take care of everything for me. I did not need to worry about anything before I came here,” she said.

She’s one of the rich foreign students you may often see on Melbourne’s streets, wearing Prada and Louis Vuitton and getting into sports cars.

Her monthly allowance from her parents can easily exceed a person’s savings.

But Ms Lau says she is feeling “lost” with her life.

“I have just graduated from uni and now I don’t know what I what to do with my life,” she said.

“My ultimate goal was to obtain a university degree. But now that I’ve done that, I don’t know what to do.”

Admitting she does not want to work anytime soon, she is busying herself with drinks and nightclubs. She says she never has a dull moment living in the CBD.

According to her, many of her friends are “drink friends”, a term referring to the people she met while out drinking and partying.

Her luxurious one-bedroom apartment at Upper West Side is filled with cabinets of shoes, clothes and bags.

Ms Lau’s worst nightmare is that her parents would one day stop supporting her financially and she would have to find a job.

Going back home is not an option at the moment because she wants to enjoy her freedom for a bit longer.

Her life in the CBD suits her well – where she can go out for dinner, drinks and a fun night anytime.

The only drawback of living in a high-rise is she gets lonely.

“I don’t know any of my neighbours. The only time I ever talked to one of my neighbours was when the fire alarm went off and I went out to the hall to check whether we should evacuate,” she said.

Like many other Chinese students, Ms Lau was forced to get her higher education overseas when she did not get a spot at a university back home due to fierce competition.

She admits she has never stood out academically but thinks she has learned many life skills during her time in Australia.

“I used not to know how to cook or how to do my laundry because everything was taken care of by others. But now, I’m much more independent,” she said.

“All my life I have been told what to do. But now I get to decide for myself.”

But the decision never comes easily. Ms Lau plans to apply for a graduate visa to stay in Australia while figuring out her next step.

She says she will eventually find a job. But the prospect is not looking too bright for someone who has never worked.

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