Last month, Tsani shared her experience studying at Australian National University. Read the first part of her story here!
Many research centers focus on Indonesian issues
I also explored more benefits by studying in Australia and by the fact that Indonesia has a close relationship with Australia. One of the remarkable benefits is that Australia has a growing research collaboration with Indonesia. Therefore, there are some research centers focusing on Indonesian issues in a range of areas from social, economic, environment, to politics. For example, there is Indonesia Project, which regularly held high-profile seminars and conferences. They usually invite local and international experts, as well as high-level government officials. It is an advantage to me as I could explore Indonesia from different perspectives, have fruitful discussions, and most importantly broaden my knowledge. In such events, I had the opportunities to meet and attend public lectures from some of the finest ANU graduates, such as Mari Elka Pangestu and Chatib Basri. I feel very fortunate for this rare opportunity because it was almost impossible to attend such events in Indonesia and to be very close with these public figures. Besides, Indonesia Project disseminate their projects by publishing journals with high quality research. The journal, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, has been widely recognised as one of the top ranking journals in terms of citations.
Being Indonesian among many Indonesian experts, both foreigners and Indonesian, is a blessing. During my study at ANU, I had the opportunities to work with them. On my first summer, I worked with my lecturer to help him collecting and analyzing secondary data related to food estate policy in Indonesia. Subsequently, I worked with my classmate in preparing a report for APEC on ‘Low Carbon Development Strategy for the Special Economic Zone Bitung’. A month after I graduated, I worked part-time with a lecturer from University of Melbourne to provide assistance in translating and transcribing audio files from interviews. All those jobs are related to what I study at university, so it certainly enriches my practical experience and personal qualification.
Just a story about my first work with the ANU lecturer: I actually didn’t plan to work with him, instead I asked for a contact person in another institution where he was involved in since I planned to apply for summer internship there. To be short, I couldn’t get the internship due to technical reasons. Subsequently, he offered me to do voluntary research with him, which was unpaid and time-consuming. However, I accepted his offer for some reasons without any hesitation. First, I greatly appreciated his willingness to voluntarily provide some guidance, examine my paperwork, and spare his time for me. Second, I could work closely with a high-profile professor in the field I planned to pursue after I graduate. Generally, I believe this opportunity will be rewarding for me. After my research was almost finished, he offered me to work part time with him and I was hired as ANU staff since then. I thought that my attempt to approach him at the first place was a bit silly, but for him I was an enthusiastic student. The month after graduation, he emailed me to offer a research assistant opportunity with him. Based on this experience, I could say: don’t hesitate to ask and to try. Always believe in your hard work because you’ll never know where your hard work could take you.
Australia alumni network
As an AAS awardee, I have a privilege to join the Australia Awards alumni network. This is a place to connect and maintain network within AAS alumni. This alumni network also provides professional assistance to alumni, such as through Professional Development Activity, which was recently launched and cover various themes, including “The Role of Communication in Regional Development” and “How to Write a Good Quality Grant Proposal”. Besides that, AAS provides assistance for newly returned awardees (in the selected regions) to integrate back into their work life as well as for local government officials to maximize their human resource potential. For the Australian Government, this alumni network allows them to track the impact of AAS and how it contributes to alumni’s career development.
Studying in one of the world’s most reputable universities enables me to have opportunities to develop a good network. I currently work in a research institute for ASEAN and East Asia. In this new role, I came across ANU graduates or academic staff who are engaged in careers that deal with ASEAN and East Asia region as well as Australia’s engagement with the regions. Being able to leverage this network can be an incredibly valuable asset for my career development.
Overall, studying abroad is a life-changing experience, regardless of where you decide to study. Have an informed decision about where to study to maximize your opportunities and get the most out of your experience.
Have a g’day!
Photos courtesy of author