For Sabina, fond memories of studying in Canberra begin with Lake Burley Griffin, on the city’s trademark crisp autumn mornings. The fondest of these memories, “the balloon festival and rowing on the lake during the festival. It’s always a really nice day, it’s never a bad day, the sun’s up, and you’re just in the middle of the lake thinking I have got the best spot in all of Canberra right now.”
It’s not the only reason Sabina, originally a Sydneysider, chose to study and live in Canberra. Completing a Bachelor of International Relations and Bachelor of Business Administration, she recognises the advantages of studying and finding work in Australia’s national capital.
“Because of my interest in national security, Canberra is a place to be. If you want to make a change in government, you’ve got to be in Canberra.”
Childhood dreams of being a police officer are where Sabina’s interest in security began, but it was significant contemporary issues like environmental and resource security that stoked her intellectual and career ambitions. Though terrorism and war dominate the headlines, the security challenges posed by finite resources, environmental degradation, and resulting people movements, are issues she feels warrant important policy attention.
She foresees a career where she will be able to highlight these issues, and inform policy that responds to them. She may even return to study these issues further. “I want to come back and focus on an area I’m really interested in, perhaps a Masters.” Recalling her dad who has just completed his PhD, “If my dad can do it, I can do it.”
In the meantime, Sabina looks forward to starting work at PwC, working in the cutting edge field of cyber and forensic security. Helping her land this role she believes, was her Minor in Chinese. With Chinese heritage, and having lived for a time in China, Sabina studied the language as part of her HSC, continuing to pursue it in university despite the challenges Mandarin poses. She may not have succeeded with the language without the personal attention and skill of one teacher in particular, who worked hard to raise her up. “She was really supportive of what I wanted to do and where I was at.” Sabina’s perseverance paid dividends, “Chinese really helped getting grad jobs and even with my work at the College of Business and Economics. My Chinese came up in every interview.”
The ability to learn Chinese alongside her chosen programs, and choose from a wide variety of courses, were key reasons Sabina chose ANU.
Starting university is a time of immense change, of discovering new possibilities, and realisations about growing up and entering the world independently. “I started University when I was 17, I was very young. I started school when I was 4, mum just wanted me out of the house I think.”
Though moving away from home and family to a new city was difficult, she appreciates the growth and opportunities doing so offered. “I think I grew up a lot quicker” Sabina recalls. “I appreciated my parents so much more when I discovered adult tasks like cleaning and buying groceries.”
Opportunities while at ANU took Sabina across Australia, competing in the University Games in rowing four times. Opportunities also took her overseas, to India, to discover the culture and potential of one of the world’s fastest developing economies.
To the students of today and tomorrow, Sabina offers a key piece of advice, “Get involved in things wholeheartedly.” Doing so you will meet friends with whom you share interests and build lasting bonds.