For most students, playing computer games is a luxury reserved for the weekend, when they’re not studying or working. But for international student Randy Felim, each day of his degree is spent exploring his fascination for the world of gaming.

‘I just wanted to study something that I loved’, he says, ‘and when I was 17 gaming was my passion and I also loved analytical thinking and programming.’

A major in Games and Creative Technology, as part of a Bachelor of Information and Communication Technology (BICT) at the University of Tasmania (UTAS) seemed the natural choice for the Medan native.

‘I combined all of these things that I loved, and now I’m able to study them every day! I’ve learnt coding, software development, website development and then as part of my major I study creative thinking, project management, planning and market analysis,’ he explains.

Randy enrolled in BICT at the University of Tasmania in 2014, already in love with the Australian culture after having visited friends and family in two of Australia’s largest cities, Melbourne and Sydney.

‘I loved the Australian people, their way of life and the incredible scenery,’ says Randy of his weeks spent with cousins and uncles. But when it came to choosing a city to study in, Randy decided the trafficated bigger cities, already swarming with international students, were not places that he wanted to study.

‘Sydney and Melbourne are crowded, and there was a lot of traffic. Coming from Indonesia I experience a lot of that daily, so I wanted a more relaxing place to study’, he explains.

Now finishing up his third year of university, with a part-time job at UTAS and a start-up gaming company of his own, Randy has well and truly settled into the Tasmanian way of life. But home never feels far away, as the President of the Indonesian Student Society and a member of the Tasmanian Indonesian Cultural and Art Society, Randy is surrounded by people connecting him to his roots.

Randy’s role as President of the Indonesia Student Society offered him an exciting opportunity to work on one of Tasmania’s most enthralling cultural festivals, the Dark Mofo festival held in July. Now in its third year, the festival attracts tourists from interstate and celebrates the mystic and indulgent nature of wintertime, featuring a week-long food festival, art exhibitions and numerous musical events.

The highlight of the event was the mysterious Ogoh Ogoh parade, which honours the Balinese tradition of burning fears away. Over the course of the festival, people were encouraged to write down their fears and regrets on pieces of paper, and place them in the giant, brightly painted paper mache Ogoh Ogoh. Randy collaborated with Indonesian consulates in Canberra, Melbourne and Tasmania to use this exciting cultural moment as an opportunity to promote Indonesian culture within Australia. He also got the opportunity to work behind the scenes on the project, organising logistics for the event and assisting the other Indonesian students who participated in the parade.

Randy also works casually at the University of Tasmania, collaborating with the Indonesia Studies lecturer to create course content for the unit. Randy creates language and culture-based quizzes used to assess student’s knowledge of the course.

Initially drawn to study in Tasmania because of its reputation as a relaxed, urban city, its spectacular scenery and tourist attractions and the affordability of the UTAS tuition fees, it’s the friendly locals that turned UTAS into his home.

‘Studying at UTAS is really nice, and people here are really friendly. I was accepted with open arms and have made a lot of Australian and international friends’, he says. ‘The teachers are really nice. They are often available to answer questions and they are so engaging to listen to; they love teacher–student interactions compared to my home country – that’s the best part of UTAS.’

It may not sound like Randy has any spare time on his hands, but when he does, he works on his own company, which develops games of course! Randy started it up with a friend earlier this year, and has already developed four games, two of which are published.

During the upcoming summer holidays, Randy hopes finish off some other games that his company is developing, and also hopes to gain some practical experience working for his lecturer as part of Giant Margarita, the university’s gaming research group.

It’s an exciting space to get in to, as Giant Margarita recently produced Tasmania’s first PlayStation 4 game – Party Golf – which has just recently launched to the public.

And what does the future hold for Randy, as he comes to the end of another year of studying something he loves?

He’s already thinking about his options for an honours project, provided, of course, that he can study more games!

Has Randy’s story inspired you to study with us? Apply now to start in 2017!

Do you already have an offer to study? Accept it today and get ready to start your journey at the University of Tasmania.