About Panda Down Under

Who is Panda Down Under?

Panda Down Under is an independent media organisation run by four grad students: two Australians, and two international students. Our goal is to be a hub of information, understanding, and enlightenment for our target audience: Chinese students studying at Australian universities, and Chinese students considering coming to Australia to study.

What can we find on your site?

We want to explore anything and everything relevant to Chinese students who want to study here or who are doing so already, with a focus on university life and social and cultural life in Australia. This might include helpful articles, videos and podcasts on understanding Australian slang, making the most of lectures and tutorials, finding the best cultural clubs and societies, and what to do if you unfortunately encounter violence or discrimination. Our content will mostly be in English, with some pieces translated into Mandarin. While students from The People’s Republic of China will be our focus, Chinese-speaking students or students from Chinese backgrounds will also be catered to.

Our focus will be on individuals and giving them a voice, rather than passing judgment from a position of assumed knowledge or superiority. We will avoid wading into sensitive political matters unless by doing would be of interest or service to our target audience, and if we do so, we commit to doing so with as much sensitivity and understanding as possible. We want to do our best to learn about cultural differences and will reflect on our own practices openly and honestly. We also encourage you to help us out with that – please tell us if there’s content you want us to post, and please let us know if you think we’ve let you down.

Why are you called Panda Down Under?

“The humane man, desiring to be established himself, seeks to establish others; desiring himself to succeed, he helps others to succeed.” The Analects of Confucius ()

Pandas are the emblem of China, and traditionally regarded as symbols of friendship and peace. “Down Under” is an affectionate, self-deprecating nickname for Australia.

Our name “Panda Down Under” playfully expresses our hope that cross-cultural exchanges between Chinese and Australian students will promote friendship and peace between our two countries. In the same way many Chinese would consider a panda to be an honoured guest, we want Chinese students to feel safe, welcome and comfortable in our universities.

Why does any of this matter?

 Australia has a relaxed, cosmopolitan lifestyle and six universities in the global top one hundred (according to the ‘Shanghai Ranking’), making it an attractive destination for international students. International students are also very important to us: education is our third largest export industry, growing annually. And of the 13% increase in international students last year, the biggest rise came from China, with Chinese students now accounting for 3 out of every 10 international students at our universities. We believe it’s therefore incredibly important to give Chinese students the best possible information about life in Australia and at our universities to make their stays here as mutually beneficial as possible.

Who are you again?

We are a group of four graduate students studying strategic communications at the University of Western Australia in Perth, Western Australia. Two of us were born in Australia or the United Kingdom and have lived here for most of our lives. Two of us hail from overseas: Guangzhou, China and Klang, Malaysia, respectively. Between us, we’ve studied law, languages, politics, international relations, communications, journalism and psychology. All of us are passionate about building bridges between cultures and helping students get the most out of their studies, and out of each other. Check out our bios to find out more!


14031028_10155971829612228_794143285_n(From left to right: Chelsie, Nick, Bec and Beini)


Bec Heyes

Bec was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester in the United Kingdom but moved to Perth when she was six years old. She studied Languages, Politics and History at the University of Manchester before returning to Perth to enjoy its laidback, outdoor lifestyle. She’s lived, worked and studied in Italy and Canada, and she loves travel, skiing, snorkelling and dogs.


Beini Qian

Beini grew up in Guangzhou – “a great city in the south of China, and a paradise for gourmets”! She’s lived in Perth for two years now, where she studied International Relations at the University of Western Australia (and where she is also undertaking her Masters). She thinks the best thing about being a student is absorbing new things, but that the worst thing is the deadline for this assignment. Watching movies and TV helps takes the edge off…


Chelsie Loh

Chelsie was born and raised in Klang, Malaysia, arriving in Perth earlier this year to study a Master in Strategic Communications. She’s previously worked as a marketing communications executive specialising in event management in Malaysia. An indoors person, she likes reading celebrity gossip and world news, and is teaching herself Korean.


Nick Maclaine

Nick is an actor and voice over artist who studied (but never practiced) law. He was born in Sydney and spent several years in Singapore before moving with his family to Perth in the late nineties. He’s fanatical about American and Australian politics and likes rock climbing. For him, the best thing about student life is discounts – software, movies, theatre tickets…

Legal things

All original content posted by Panda Down Under and its contributors is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. Unauthorised use or duplication of our original content without Panda Down Under’s express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Panda Down Under with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. We take no responsibility for content on external sites or sources we reference or provide links to.

With respect to comments, our policy is to take down any we deem abusive, socially or culturally insensitive, discriminatory, or defamatory. We will endeavour to provide reasons for take downs when possible. Hate speech will not be tolerated under any circumstances.