I had always wanted to move overseas to study, and Australia was my number one choice. The only thing I had to decide was to choose between the University of Sydney and the Australian National University (ANU). Fortunately, I made the right decision.
I chose ANU, where I then met Novie. For Novie, the choice of ANU wasn't quite so clear. Having first been accepted by Yale, she had decided against it as it was too far from her home in Indonesia. Maybe it was fate that she eventually decided upon ANU and came here to Canberra.
Novie and I both saw each other first at the John XXIII College Chapel on the ANU campus, but we became friends at Toad Hall. During our Master programs, we both shared a lot of classes together, lived in the same residential hall and ended up working together at the ANU Postgraduate and Research Students' Association (PARSA) and Toad Hall. ANU and its institutions have played a big part in our relationship and the time we spent together on campus played a significant role in us getting to know each other and deciding to lead our life together. Hence, when we decided to get married it was a natural choice to get married on campus in the same church where we first met - John XXIII College Chapel.
Novie and I both were extremely social during our time at the University. We both held office bearer positions at PARSA and had senior residential roles at Toad Hall. Apart from that, we both also held leadership positions in the Indonesian and Indian student's association during our time on campus. It was this shared passion for community development and our desire to give back to the society we live in, that attracted both of us to each other.
Since we graduated from ANU (myself in December 2016, and Novie in July 2017) we decided to continue living in Canberra, which has helped our professional careers. On a personal front, Novie and I moved in together in 2017 and eventually got married in May 2019.
As mentioned, we both first met at the John XXIII College Chapel on campus and our early memories of our relationship are all from when we lived together on campus. As two international students coming from totally different cultures and speaking different native languages, the inclusive community we found at ANU was quite helpful in the early days of our acclimatisation in Australia.
The friendships and connections we made during our time on campus are still close to our hearts and continue to positively influence our lives. And ANU, through its vast resources, has provided us with both the right platform to not only launch our professional careers but also our personal lives.
In the last eight years of us being here in Australia, we have undertaken the tough journey of being international students at ANU to becoming Australian citizens working within federal government agencies. We pride ourselves as ANU alum and over the years continued to maintain our passion and spirit to help give back to the institution. Over the years, Novie and I have both devoted our time to various initiatives such as the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) Internship Program, being mentors in the CBE Momentum program, and regularly featuring on alumni panels speaking to current students on matters around employability and student experience. Additionally, I currently serve as the Co-chair for the CBE Canberra Alumni Network.
ANU is a fantastic institution that has immense potential and offers a lot to all its students. Both Novie and I strongly encourage current and future students to immerse themselves in the campus and its unique culture, with an aim to positively influence it and make it an inclusive safe place of excellence, for not just themselves but all their fellow colleagues and friends.
If any of these future students ever feel the need to reach out to a fellow ANU alum, they can always count on both of us to be there for support and guidance.