20 years ago, I spent a year in Australia and completely fell in love with it. So when I made up my mind to do a master degree, I decided to come back. I have always had a knack for language learning and I came to ANU because I really like doing research and ANU is well known for its strong research culture and strength.
I am currently a postgraduate coursework student in the Master of General and Applied Linguistics program. Initially, I was intrigued by linguistics when I was helping out as an assistant for my Japanese lecturer with her research when I was an undergraduate back in Thailand. Languages are things that we usually take for granted since they are around us from birth, so it is very fascinating to actually see how the system of languages works through studying linguistics. At present, my research interests are Conversation Analysis, Critical Discourse Analysis and Gender Studies since I find the multifaceted aspects of humans and manifestation of power in society really fascinating.
One of the things that I really like about studying at ANU is that the lecturers are always keen to let students tailor their assignments according to their own research interests, which means that I am able to write about something that I am really interested in and simultaneously build up my own knowledge towards my thesis semester. We usually do not get this much control over our own work in Thailand. It feels good when you have the freedom to roam around and immerse yourself in things that you truly enjoy.
In my spare time I do a lot of volunteer work, ranging from helping during ANU O-Week to volunteering at the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. I am also taking adult ballet classes at the Canberra Dance Theatre at the moment to take my mind off studying. I found that ballet or any form of dancing is a very good way to relieve stress. Sometimes you might be able to spot me in one of the cafés around campus, working away madly on assignments with a huge mug of hot chai.
After finishing the program, I plan to continue my study further into a PhD, since I am now officially addicted to research! I will not deny that it is exhausting, but what you get out of it is really worthwhile. My advice to students would be to prepare yourself to work hard because ANU has very high academic standards and therefore very high expectations of its students. But I can guarantee that it will be valuable in the long run. After a while, you start seeing all the things that you have learned in classes fall into place in the real world. That moment of realisation, when you find everything is interconnected even though it is seemingly unrelated at first glance, is absolutely fantastic.
Angel has since graduated from the university.