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Living on the EDGE: Tiana Meng Ning Teng

Fiona Ren

Mon Feb 20 2012


BENEATH Tiana Teng’s sweet good looks is a gutsy 21-year-old who has a passion for Xtreme sports, and who believes leadership is as much about knowing how to manage yourself as it is about managing others.

What’s your name, and how old are you?

My name is Mengning Teng (Tiana). I am 21-years-old.

Where are you from? Where and what course or program are you doing?

I am from Beijing, China. I am currently doing Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and finance at the University of Melbourne.

How long have you been in Melbourne for and why did you choose to come to Melbourne?

I have been in Melbourne for three years so far. My parents used to study and work here and they recommended Melbourne, saying it was definitely the best place to live and study. After three years, I totally agree with them and feel extremely thankful for their decision.

Did you come alone or with family?

I came here by myself back in 2009. It was hard in the beginning, especially when I lost my sense of belonging. Yet with the warm help from my friends, teachers and the community, I started to enjoy the colourful life in Melbourne and feel that I am part of the society now.

What got you into the EDGE program? And what are you expecting to get from the program?

The fact that the EDGE program is focusing purely on international students appealed to me. It is a great sign of how much the city of Melbourne or Australia as a country values us, which is totally exciting to learn. Also, it means the problems that overseas students are facing will be addressed during this program. I am hoping and firmly believe that I will benefit tremendously along the way. Not only for job-hunting next year, but setting a long-term goal for my entire career life as well.

What does leadership mean to you?

I believe that leadership is the ability to make an impact on others. With leadership, things can be done in a more effective and efficient way. It can also be about leading ourselves, that is, self-control and discipline. One is most likely to achieve a better outcome when possessing leadership.

What or who do you draw inspiration from, and why?

I consider my parents as my role models. As doctors, they have been performing the best they possibly can and working way much harder than they need to for their entire career life, for more than 20 years. I am deeply touched and influenced by their extremely strong sense of social responsibility and the hunger for self-development. I believe that is what inspires me to be driven and determined as a person and the source of strength when I feel exhausted or think of giving up.

If you could champion one cause for international students in Melbourne, what would it be?

The public transportation is one of the most frustrating things about Melbourne. The service is not as good as promised/reported, and most importantly, as students, I believe we deserve concession price for sure. It has never made sense to me why we have to pay for full fare.

What, in your opinion, is the most common misunderstanding/stereotype that people have of international students in Melbourne?

Many, if not all, of the job advertisements set it straight that only local people or permanent residents will be considered. It is as if international students are no way near as good as PR holders or Australians that we do not even deserve a chance to apply. In a way it is understandable. But what is certain is that a large number of talents are driven away because of it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I have been volunteering at a local community radio station as an editor every weekend and also at the university as a student host occasionally. It is a great way to contribute to the society and get a sense of achievement at the same time.

I enjoy spending time with my friends. You will find me hanging out with them at a cinema, karaoke, concert or even travelling overseas. If I have got a block of leisure time, I would learn to cook new dishes or even invent new recipes. Nothing is more fulfilling than tasting the food I create myself, whether it is delicious or not.

What are your other talents/hobbies outside the classroom?

I have been in love with music since I was little. I play clarinet and sing a lot. It is a way to express myself and to make me feel relaxed. In 2009, I participated in a musical called “the Puppets” as a cast. Being able to sing on stage and deliver the story to hundreds of audiences was a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget. Moreover, I am an Xtreme sports fan. If there is a chance, I will go bungee jumping or skydiving without hesitation. The excitement and thrill I get from them make me feel alive which cannot be compared to anything else.

Where is your favourite spot to hang out in Melbourne?

Churches are the most pleasant places to be from my point of view. The buildings are symbolic and the people there are always welcoming and thoughtful. What is interesting is that I don’t have to be a Christian or Catholic to resonate with them. They communicate with their kind hearts and create an atmosphere so that I can utter my true mind. It is so precious I reckon, especially in this fast-pace world that I have this opportunity to take a little break and face myself.

What song gets you pumped or excited?Think Eye of the Tiger or Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” or any Bon Jovi track.

It is really hard to pick one from the following songs:

Mariah Carey-Hero

Bon Jovi- It’s My Life

Eminem – Lose Yourself

Britney Spears – Stronger

If I had a million dollars I would…. spend about $15,000 to get a pilot license and save the rest for jet rental, fuel and other costs. That should be enough to fulfil my dream to drive in the air when at leisure.

If I only had $5 I would…. get a hat for $5 and sing on the streets if I am jobless, or work 18 hours a day otherwise.