Isabella Gockel is a third-year student studying a Bachelor of Political Science and Bachelor of International Relations at the Australian National University (ANU). She is undertaking a major in Human Rights and minors in Australian Politics and French Language and Culture.
With Canberra being the political chessboard for the nation, she boldly advanced to the Nation's Capital from Queensland.
“The first reason I moved is because ANU is the only Australian university to offer a dedicated political science degree. The second is that this same degree enables me to study both quantitative and qualitative research methods at the undergraduate level, which is a rare opportunity at most Australian universities. The third is that ANU offers research-oriented internships at institutes like Australia’s Parliament House and foreign embassies which simply aren’t available anywhere else. These factors, combined with the lively clubs and societies scene at ANU, convinced me to study at the nation’s best university.”
Isabella also moves across the board of university life by residing on campus at Lena Karmel Lodge (UniLodge), on another square she works as a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS), is gaining political experience by aligning herself with MP Zoe Daniel via the Australian National Internships Program (ANIP), and serves as a knight in the ANU Society for the United Nations as Marketing Director. It goes without saying, Isabella is a keen chess player and previously held the position of Marketing Officer for the ANU Chess Society in 2022.
She was pleasantly surprised by the vast range of major and minor options offered by her degree.
“I didn’t truly realise until I started my studies just how many major and minor options my degrees had. I had the opportunity to study languages, history, or sociology, or to specialise in regions like the Pacific, East Asia, or the Middle East and Central Asia.”
Her favourite courses have been POLS2113: Human Rights, which “highlighted the nuances surrounding the notion of human rights, and why a concept many consider to be fundamental to our humanity is also highly controversial.” The second, POLS3039: Political Leadership and Executive Government, not only taught her how to “use statistical methods to conduct research on a government cabinet of my choice, but Dr Matthew Kerby’s teaching was also a major highlight.”
As for her favourite thing about Canberra, it's the city's diverse food and drink scene. Isabella is a massive foodie and with many award-winning restaurants and fantastic cheap eats around campus; she's positioned herself nicely. Isabella also raves about the bushland near the Crawford School of Public Policy next to Lake Burley Griffin. “The view you get there of the Telstra Tower is spectacular!”
As a skilled chess player considers every opportunity, Isabella suggests to incoming students, "get involved with extracurriculars. Join a club, do some volunteering, or attend hall events if you live on-campus. You will get a lot out of your university experience if you get involved with student life and meet like-minded people along the way.”