My name is Sophie and I am studying a Bachelor of International Security Studies / Bachelor of Laws (Honours).
I think that what I have enjoyed the most about my degree is how it has evolved over the years that I have been here. The great thing about the introductory subjects in first year is the breadth of content that you are exposed to. When I started at ANU, I thought that I would focus my studies on topics surrounding the Middle East. Yet after studying Introduction to Security Studies, I became really interested in the Asia-Pacific region - so in second year I chose courses that allowed me to explore this interest.
Throughout high school I never had one favourite subject, so choosing a degree was a difficult decision for me. I was always interested in international affairs and I also wanted to experience college life in a different city. As Australia’s top university, with a unique degree of International Security Studies, ANU and Canberra seemed the obvious choice.
In July this year I travelled to Myanmar as a part of the ASIA2090 course, The Political Economy of Myanmar, which was sponsored by DFAT’s New Colombo Plan. Following the elections in November 2015, it was such an incredible opportunity to study Myanmar as it is on the cusp of rapid change and development. Being able to experience the country in person and to collect research data based on my own observations exposed me to issues and topics that I would have never considered in the classroom.
We took part in a televised press conference with Myanmar’s Agricultural Minister, questioned Generals at the National Defence College on gender diversity within the Tatmadaw, planted rice in a rural town and debated with students at the University of Yangon. The study tour broadened my perspective on many of the topics that I study in my ANU courses and I now want to have a South East Asian focus in my future studies.
Living in the Nation’s Capital also has its perks. At any given time there are so many events and activities taking place, from parliamentary functions to music festivals and art exhibitions. The work opportunities are also great in Canberra. A number of my friends work with politicians at parliament house and I just started an internship with the Treasury.
There are so many ways to become involved at ANU, especially within the Bell School. As a student representative for the Strategic & Defence Studies Centre at ANU, I help to organise Wine, Cheese & Wisdom nights. These events are really special because they allow students to interact with some of the Centre’s leading professors in a relaxed and intimate setting. A lot of students find these events highly engaging, as the professors can provide students with direction, focus and practical advice relating to future job opportunities.