I am Nadia Setianto, a third-year undergraduate student doing a Bachelor of International Relations at the ANU. Before moving to Canberra for university, I grew up and lived in Jakarta, Indonesia’s busy capital city, for 18 years. Settling in to Canberra was difficult for me in the beginning as in Jakarta, everything and everyone is accessible at all time. In Jakarta, there are 24-hour convenience stores on every corner and restaurants everywhere. My family members and friends are there, and I had my own car to travel around in. Whereas in Canberra, my circumstances were practically the opposite.
However, as time went by, I began to appreciate living independently and began to enjoy Canberra’s quietness and serenity. It was lonely at first, but I started filling my days by getting involved in student societies, getting involved in the campus by becoming a mentor and ambassador for my college, writing, attending academic events, and spending time with friends. Now, Canberra feels more like a second home than a place where I have to be.
I chose to study at the ANU because of its high ranking in the international relations and political science field. I also chose to study at the ANU because of its location, which is Canberra, the capital city of Australia. I am a strong believer of being in the right environment to understand a field. Since I am studying international relations and political science, being in the capital city enables me to observe and experience the political environment firsthand.
Why International Relations?
My decision to study international relations was driven by my passion for global affairs. As an Indonesian, I have always wanted to find ways to shape the image of my country and to enable it to have a stronger reputation internationally. Furthermore, I also chose to study international relations to understand ‘country to country’ interactions, otherwise known as diplomacy: the important factors to be considered and its significance in shaping a country’s reputation, which can also be applied to ‘people to people’ interactions.
What I’ve gained studying International Relations
I enjoy doing international relations at CASS because of the range of courses that it offers and the academics that I get to form connections with. For international relations in particular, I like the way that the degree is structured as I get to explore international relations from different lenses, such as from a theoretical, methodological, and security lens. The academics are immensely qualified and their research topics are highly relevant, which makes discussions interesting, highly informative and knowledgeable as well.
Doing international relations at the ANU has made me more focused and ambitious. Before coming to the ANU, I did not think I would even like the idea of doing research. However, after having to do at least three 2,500-words essays per semester, it is safe to say that I now enjoy doing research. I do research even when I am not studying in university, such as in my internship in the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific, where I wrote a joint policy paper on “Palestine and the Indo-Pacific”, which was published on the Delegation’s website. I also wrote an article on the issue of terrorism in Indonesia, which got published in The Monsoon Project, a student publication managed by the Crawford School of Public Policy, one of the Asia-Pacific’s top institutions in public policy.
Apart from studying…
When I am not researching for a course or for my own enjoyment, you can find me engaging with the Indonesian community. Being an executive committee member for the ANU Indonesian Students’ Association (ANUISA), has given me many opportunities to network with Indonesian diplomatic staff, academics in the ANU specialising in Indonesia, and other Indonesian students within and outside of Canberra. Being involved in a student society definitely helps keep me busy and with over 130 clubs in the ANU, I am sure any student can find one that fits them.
Take advantage of the opportunities that ANU has to offer -- go to the academic talks, join the student societies, talk to your convenors and tutors after the lecture -- as these opportunities are quite rare outside of university! If you’re also an international student, have a read of my student blog where I offer five tips on how to survive and thrive at university.