Amandine Ong – extracurriculars and a focus on Southeast Asia
Amandine Ong is a 3rd year student in the Bachelor of International Security Studies, and she’s just about to embark on a Southeast Asian adventure – participating in an ANU student mobility course which is a study tour of Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand
What has been your favourite part of studying your degree so far? Is there anything you are particularly looking forward to?
My favourite part of studying the Bachelor of International Security Studies is that it has significantly enriched my academic and personal life - my peers and professors have encouraged me to stay curious and open-minded about subject areas that I may have not initially considered. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to link the knowledge that I have gained through extra-curricular activities back to my studies, such as going to some of the ANU Country and Regional Updates (notably the Malaysia and Myanmar Updates), and also Asia-Pacific Week, which is a student-run interdisciplinary conference including thought-provoking panels, debates, workshops and a vibrant social schedule.
I am a relative late-comer to the field, but I have been enjoying CAP’s courses relating to Southeast Asia, and my interest in learning about the region is growing rapidly. I am specifically interested in maritime Southeast Asian countries. Studying this degree has made me consider pursuing studies in the region more seriously and has opened up a range of opportunities for me.
As I am writing this, I am two days away from leaving for Indonesia, as part of the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre (SDSC) student mobility course STST2020 – Study tour: Southeast Asia’s Security Choices. I will be travelling to Indonesia, Singapore and Thailand for about two and a half weeks to learn about some of the historical, political and social factors that shaped the strategic cultures of these countries. I’m really excited to start the mobility component of this course - I am especially excited about visiting the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya in Thailand.
Can you us tell a bit about any extra curriculars or clubs you're involved in?
I was a first-year representative and then Vice-President of the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific Students’ Society (CAPSS) in 2021 and 2022, and recently wrapped up my role as Head Research Officer at the 2023 Australian Crisis Simulation Summit which was held in September. My role involved working with and leading fellow research officers to gather and organise information to develop pre-readings for delegates, ensuring they were well-prepared for the immersive event. Additionally, we needed to craft detailed information sheets outlining the backgrounds and roles of both governmental and non-governmental actors participating in the simulations. It was a challenging role, but my studies had given me a solid base and understanding of the organisational structure of the government and how it coordinates in times of crisis. I also frequently participate in wargames produced by the ANU Association for Defence and Security Studies (ADSS) Society.
What do you want to do when you finish your degree?
I’m keeping my options open, but I am considering pursuing postgraduate studies in Southeast Asian studies, potentially looking into multilateral relations between Southeast Asia, Australia and the European Union, and the strategic partnerships that could be cultivated in the future. I’m also interested in humanitarian work, disaster response and diplomacy, so a career in an NGO or an international organisation would be something that I would like to look into in the future!