I’m from the landlocked area of Inner Mongolia in China. I didn’t see the ocean until I was 12 but, when I did, I remember sitting by it for hours fascinated. It must have had a big impact on me because I ended up studying marine biology at university.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted to specialise in when I finished my undergraduate degree, but I discovered the beauty of Antarctica while researching options on the Internet – after that I was hooked. I had never even heard of the University of Tasmania (UTAS) or the State before that, but they were clearly the place to be if you wanted to do Antarctic science and study in Australia

I found the UTAS application process very straight-forward; and all of my queries were promptly answered by email; so I only had to use an agent for my visa application.

I completed my Masters of Antarctic Science in 2010 and am now focussing on the diet of Antarctic krill as part of my PhD candidacy. Krill is a really important species, but not a lot is known about it or its diet, especially during the winter season. Once we understand the winter feeding practices of krill we will have a much better idea of how they survive, and this knowledge is important for a better understanding on how the Southern Ocean ecosystem functions. Krill may be small, but they are vital.

Being at IMAS has definitely lived up to my expectations and I have really learnt a lot. Academically I am really happy and everyone, including my lecturers, has been really helpful. At IMAS we are given the opportunity to meet different scientists through collaborations with organisations like CSIRO, the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Australian Antarctic Division, and I have found that very advantageous.

Not many people believe it now, but I was really shy when I first arrived and very uncomfortable with my English. The community here, both on and off campus, is so patient and friendly that I soon got over my fear.

Practice, practice, practice – that is my advice to other international students. You will find lots of chances to talk to different people and you should make the most of it. When I first arrived I was involved with the Community Friends Network Program and that was a great way to meet new people. There’s always a friendly face to talk to and it helps to make your life easier.

Tasmania is great, I love it here. Everything is beautiful, the environment is very good and the air is so clean. I did a solo road trip around most of the State and saw some wonderful things.

I would absolutely recommend studying at IMAS to other international students if they want to succeed in the area of marine science. There is a strong and successful research culture and plenty of world-class scientists to learn from.