Friday, September 26, 2014

Members party at World as part of Talk like a Pirate day

RNIS explains this popular traditional day in Melbourne called Talk like a Pirate day.
Talk like a Pirate day is a US festivity day where people party. It started in 1995 where two guys were playing racquetball and decided to talk like a pirate.  Then they decided to set a date for the pirate gibberish which is in September 19th each year.

On that day there are pirate parties and games.

Which leads us to World's party. RNIS was invited to World's party.



At this party we sampled a lot of the food which is pizza, fishcakes and a chicken wrap. Normally I don't eat meat but this was pretty good. At first I thought that they were Peking duck pancakes because it was miniature in size.

Everything was sooo good that we just kept coming back for more

Many thanks to World for having us.

CISA Talk 3: The medical system in Australia and understanding it

The medical system in Australia is quite confusing for those that are not from Australia. But really it is easy to navigate. We explain the system.


Image courtesy of RMIT Newintstudents
Depending on your circumstances you will visit the GP as they do everything. The GP will recommend you see a specialist if you need to or go to the hospital. In Victoria there are a limited amount of beds in a hospital so you may be put onto the waiting list.

Bulk Bill vs paying the Gap.

In Australia we have a way of paying the doctor. If they are a member of your health fund all you need to do is just show them the card and they will directly deal with your insurer. This is known as bulk bill. But if the doctors fee is a lot higher than what the health fund (insurer) covers then you will need to pay the difference. This is known as the gap fee.

There is a waiting period of 12 months for funds to go into your account especially if you are signing up to a new provider for the first time. Eg. a new student signing up to OHSC.

Extras
Your insurer does not cover extras. However if you want them to do this then you will need to take out (buy) extra cover.

Pregnancy
This was a huge issue at the CISA talk sessions where some students have unplanned pregnancies. Pregnancy is a huge thing and it costs about $5000-$15000 just to have it. And then on top of that you'll have to take care of the baby. The decision to have the baby is the female's choice. You can have a termination and it is legal to do so.

Confidentiality
Your doctor will never tell DIAC or anyone else if you are feeling unwell. So you need not worry about your VISA being cancelled. But if you are feeling severely unwell for a long period of time it may be a good idea to tell your uni. Most uni's arrange special consideration and they may also talk to your GP about your applications in order to make the best decision for you.

CISA Talk 2: The Fair Work Ombudsman

The Fair Work Ombudsman investigates a lot of claims to do with unfair pay, dismissal etc. At the CISA Talk minimum pay was all the talk. We explain this issue.
One of the places where the workers were recently underpaid

As a student you can work for about 20 hours per week, 40 hours per fortnight. DIAC regularly checks on all the students to make sure that they are not going over the 40 hours per fortnight.

Casuals vs part time and full time staff.

Part time and full time staff are permanent employees; casuals are not. They just get asked to work whenever they are needed.

Part time and full time staff get annual leave of up to four weeks per year as well as 10 days sick leave if need be. They also get 2 days compassionate leave (if someone dies or becomes really ill). If you don't take all of these they will accumulate every year.

Casuals however don't get any of these but however they get 25% more earnings per hour.

Pay rates
In Australia it is illegal to be paid under the minimum wage. It is also illegal to have an ABN when you are working for an employer. This is known as "sham contracting" where the employer can pay whatever they want and can refuse to pay super or tax. In Australia everybody pays tax.

There are two types of wages: Award and agreements. There are different awards and agreements for the work that you do and they are all on the fair work site.

You cannot be dismissed for asking about pay. In Australia everyone has a right to fair pay.

So what does the Fair Work do for me when I complain about pay?
It is a free service and you do need to give our your name and where you worked for your case to be fairly assessed by the Ombudsman. One of the things that they do is an enforceable undertaking which means that the business has to do a certain amount of set tasks and back pay people. Another is mediation where you and the business come to some sort of a fair agreement.

If you have a complaint or want any more information do check out this site.

Grandpa Joes


Grandpa Joes is in Ascot Vale and its across the road from the tram stop.Grandpa Joes is a little tiny coffee shop which many locals love to visit for their good coffee. Their coffee is by 5 senses and they use a Synesso machine.

The bathrooms are out the back.

The lady there was a little grumpy but she was friendly. They all were. The guy was very friendly. But the service was just a tad bit slow.

I loved the neat, retro style place. It had that laid back kind of feel. I was right near the window where I can watch the world go by. Whilst waiting for the food I could hear them preparing it and talking about their weekend. That is a good thing right? As it adds to the casual laid back atmosphere.

The coffee though was good. It was a little bit bitter and very nutty. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the coffee.

I really enjoyed the big veggie breakfast. By that I mean by huge. It would be nice if they had some tomato ksandi sauce. The avocado was fresh and smooth and I loved the saltiness of the haloumi.

The toast although it looked tiny was just lovely and moreish and same with the mushroom and tomato mix.

Do go to the lovely Grandpa Joe's for a laid back coffee and breakfast. I did see that one table had museli for their breakfast and I loved the way that it was presented in a cute jar.


Grandpa Joe on Urbanspoon

ASEAN Games: Closing ceremony

RNIS was invited to the closing ceremony by MASCA Victoria.

The closing ceremony was held in MSAC's Sports Hall after the last of the basketball games. Here I had a chance to meet up with Arun from Meld Magazine plus the committee members.

The winners of each sports were announced as well as the runners up. They all won a medal and a cash prize.

The winners are announced on Meld's site as Meld was their proud partners


And then there was the lucky draw where everybody won prizes (well almost). The prizes were the same as the opening ceremony. I won a duffel bag.

I would have liked it if there was an after party somewhere where everyone can mingle. Somewhere like Father's office.

Until next year.

Steer Bar and Grill

RNIS dined on a $50 voucher from Dimmi but had to pay for the dessert.

Steer Bar and Grill is in South Yarra near the train station. It is opened every night, but opened on Fridays for lunch.

They are primarily a steakhouse but what I read they do well in is also the tataki and desserts. Having had a fair bit of things at World before coming I wasn't too keen on eating much or drinking much. They specialize in a lot of wines and one in particular is Moet.

They are a lovely bar which gets busy at nighttimes so it is best to book via Dimmi

The service was very friendly and the guy explained the different cuts of meat to me. Not that I needed to know. I already knew what I was ordering. As for the oysters it is three of the same flavour to a plate all at $3.75 each. I was going to order one oyster for three different flavours.

To start off with there was the complimentary bread with salted butter.

Then there was salmon tataki ($14). The salmon was fresh but smallish. I also loved the pickled vegetables.
Onion rings (top) and tortellini (bottom)

The main which was tortellini ($29) was a bit on the small side. I would have expected a bigger serving. But oh well. For that I had ordered a side of onion rings ($9). The onion rings were just great and the tortellini was gorgeous.

For dessert I had baked cheesecake with coffee ice cream ($14). This just melted in the mouth. Yum.

Rating: 17/20- if only Sweet and Sour Fork went and ordered the steak as I know that Ming is a steak goddess and a great foodie. Ming also loves her wine.

It would also be nice if they were open for weekend lunches as a lot of people like to get out on the weekends
Steer Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Schnitz at Glenferrie

Schnitz is a burger and chicken schnitzel chain in Melbourne. You might like to know that chicken schnitzel is a German food and in Germany these are huge.

Not so much in Melbourne.

In Melbourne our schnitzels are small (with the exception of Hofbrauhaus and Munich).

At Schnitz they are either in rolls or wraps. Or in salad. There are a few Schnitz around and the one that interested me the most as a student is the one in Glenferrie where they cater for all the Swinburne students.

It was 12:30pm when I arrived and there was not too busy. Maybe all the Swinburne students went on holidays? Usually when I walk by its busy.

Like Grilld you order and pay at the counter.
The different  sizes for chips

MY chips were really good and my wrap was equally as good. For $18 you can get a wrap, drink and chips and everything was just great.

Do visit the Glenferrie Schnitz as the guys are very friendly.
Schnitz on Urbanspoon

The Open Human art gallery Opening photo eassy

As part of RNIS's Healthy living month
RNIS was invited to this gallery opening by RMIT Link Arts

The Human body is a fascinating thing and what better time to go this gallery opening then in our very own healthy living month. Here we were treated to many great artworks by the final year students which had lots and lots of mixed emotions. Expressing them through art is one way to get rid of the stressors in your life.

The gallery opening was at First site gallery on a Tuesday night. As always there was many art lovers there.

Note: this is a photo essay hence there are no words, just emotions.









 Students do see if you can try to go to the next one. To find out when the next one just join RMIT Link Arts Facebook page

Professors Court Cafe

Proffessors Court Cafe is outside the Arts West Building and its a tiny little kitsch cafe. Here they bake their own sweets. They are always packed with lots of sleep deprived uni students and staff all wanting a coffee..

The coffees are stellar. Here I had a flat white plus a cupcake and two other little italian sweets. Altogether it was $11. They are cash only.

The service there wasn't that great. The Asian guy that served me forgot half of my order (or didn't get it). You had to get your own coffees and food and I had a hard time balancing both.

They also offer sandwiches but I was in the mood for sweets.

The sweets were just gorgeous.

Students if you are near the Arts west building do come to this cafe. Oh how I wish RMIT would have good cafes and not the burnt out shit that it produces.

Lets just say that I'm not good at being a waiter, shall we?

Professors Court Cafe on Urbanspoon

CISA Talk 1: The ESOS Act

The ESOS act is an act which not many students know about, but the uni certainly does know a lot about it. Uni's don't explain this act fully or not at all so students have no idea about their rights under Australian law. Claudia explains this issue.

International student. Image by RMIT Newintstudents
A lot of students in universities don't really understand and know what ESOS is about. ESOS is the Education Service for Overseas Students act. This act is a fairly lengthy act sets out the rules and responsibilities of students and their education provider.

So who is an Education provider?
Under the ESOS act they can be a private college, school, University or TAFE that takes students. In 2009 there were some very dodgy ones which left people out in the cold. In 2012 after numerous complaints about these colleges the Tuition Protection service was formed.

So what is this TPS (Tuition Protection Service) and what does it do for me?
The tuition protection service is a service for all international students which protects them from unscrupulous things and can help to get your money back if the college closes. They also can help if the college no longer offers that particular course and you are in the middle of doing that course.
Tuition monies. Image courtesy of RMIT Newintstudents

Written agreements
This is a legal document which states how much you need to pay the uni and what for. It is a contract which you must sign when accepting your offer.


What are my obligations as a student?
As a student you have to maintain 80% class attendance and you also have to maintain satisfactory progress in your course. If for some reason you cannot maintain 80% class attendance you should explain to the uni in writing as to why. Many unis have processes for deferring your course or special consideration. You can extend your studies you just have to tell the uni.

If you do not maintain satisfactory course progress or attendence the uni will ask you to attend a show cause meeting. If however you still fail your courses or not maintained attendance the uni will report you to DIAC via PRISMS (their reporting system). Note: the uni does not cancel a student's visa only DIAC does that.

You also have to pay your fees on time. If you don't and you don't have a good explaination for this again the uni can report you to DIAC.

If you want to change courses you need to wait six months or otherwise you will need a release letter. This may affect your visa. You should discuss this with your student service as they know a lot about this issue.

If you change address you must tell your uni and DIAC. 

Can DIAC kick me out straightaway?
The answer is no. DIAC will give you a chance to explain yourself and if you have good reason then they may let you stay on.

ASEAN Games: Basketball, Futsal and Volunteering

The ASEAN games is on again this year and this time I volunteered at the games rather than just watching it.

In this years ASEAN games there are about nine sports from Badminton to Futsal. Although the games are held at MSAC, there are other venues in which the games are held in such as Albert Park reserve (for Futsal and netball) and the tennis courts. The venues are easy to get to by public transport.

Basketball
This was held at the show courts and I had a chance to watch two of the best Melbourne teams play. One of them won the prize at the end.

Futsal
This sport was fast and furious and really noisy. Held at Albert Park reserve, it was really fun to watch the afternoon's game. 

Volunteering at MSAC



MASCA needed volunteers to help run this event and in early August I applied for the position. There were positions for first aid, photography, food and beverage, referees etc.
I was volunteering for the Food and Beverage section where I had to help distribute food to the volunteers. There was so much food left over we ended up giving some to the players and I gave some to a person who needed it.

Roll'd was this years sponsor and they did not disappoint in the food offerings. They offered banh mi and rice paper rolls. The plates were heavy to carry but I didn't mind distributing the food.

Volunteering was so much fun and at the closing ceremony I won a duffel bag.

Next year if the games are on, do volunteer for them as they are so much fun. Meld has extensive coverage of the games itself so do read their articles if you want the scores and who won.

Yong Green Food

As part of RNIS's Healthy living month.

Yong Green Food is a healthy vegan, vegetarian place which is good for students minds and bodies. They don't do coffees but they do teas and smoothies and juices.

It is a relaxing place in the heart of Fitzroy.

It is run by two Korean sisters and a friendly Asian guy served me. They sometimes supply meals to Realfoods. They are known for their rawasgne ( a type of vegetarian lasagna). But I wasn't in the mood for this.

They have some meat dishes, but because they are vegetarian they use fake meat (or mock meat as some would like to call it).

The service was great.

The kimchi spicy sauce

It was here that I had their kimchi gyoza ($12.50) and their cold rice noodle salad ($15.50). It really wasn't rice noodle though. When I think of rice noodle I think of the big fat noodles. But I loved that wasabi kick to it.

They did however drown out all the vegetables with their dressing. It would be nicer if they put it on the side.

I also loved the kimchi gyoza except that it stuck to the bamboo steamer. It wasn't too spicy so its good for non spicy lovers. I love the fact that they made everything from scratch.

Their lime dink with mint ($7.5 for a regular)was a little bit bitter, but good. I loved the tanginess from the lime. It wasn't too minty. They could have added a wee teaspoon of sugar though.

I can see why they are ranked so highly on the Urbanspoon food charts. They have won a few awards from the Age including their cheap eats ones from 2011- 2013 and from Vegetarian Victoria. Very cleansing of the soul and body and students you should visit this place once or twice during your stay here.
Yong Green Food on Urbanspoon

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