ANU Spaces - Callum Whitford

Meet Callum Whitford, a 4th year student who has travelled the world and volunteers with the NSW Rural Fire Brigade.

What do you do at ANU?

I am in my last year, completing a double degree of Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies. I am majoring in Indonesian, Security Studies and International Relations.

What is your favourite spot on campus?

The ANU Sport and Recreation Centre.

I like it because...

It's a well maintained facility, and it's a good chance to see my mates and have a workout at the same time.

If I were free for an afternoon, I would...

Catch up with some mates at the Wig and Pen. They brew their own ales on site and it's a short walk from campus.

You recently returned from an exchange semester at the University of Nottingham, UK, and also previously studied in Indonesia as part of your ANU studies. Can you tell us about your experiences studying abroad?

Studying overseas provided an excellent comparison to studying in Australia and Australian culture. I really enjoyed my time in Indonesia, it was very rewarding to be able to have conversations with locals and travel in rural areas where tourists don't normally go. It was a great way to spend my summer holidays; it was much easier and quicker to learn Indonesian while being immersed in the everyday culture, and much more fun than going to class every day in Australia. I wished I'd done it sooner and I wish I could do it again.

Studying in England was also a great experience. I got the benefit of a European perspective on international relations, as my studies in Australia have a strong Asia-Pacific focus.

You have graciously volunteered your time with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) - what made you decide to volunteer with the fire brigade?

I thought the RFS provided an excellent opportunity to help out my local community while gaining some good skills and working in a team environment in some interesting situations.

Have you had some scary moments firefighting?

It's hot, noisy, disorientating and the smoke makes it hard to see and breathe, but you're flat  out just trying to keep track of everything going on, so there's not much time to be scared.

How rewarding is it helping people out in such an important way?

This summer I was working in a Rapid Aerial Response Team. We were flying to fires mainly around the Snowy Mountains, it was very rewarding being able to help farmers protect their properties in remote areas.

This is your last year at uni - any thoughts on what is coming next?

I'm looking at going to Duntroon next year to become an Army officer and I'm hoping to travel to Botswana at the end of the year.