I came to Canberra from the Independent State of Samoa. Initially, I came to ANU in 2012 to pursue a Masters in International Relations and Masters of Diplomacy. I loved ANU so much, I decided to stay longer. Of course, I was fortunate to receive an ANU scholarship and now I am going into the second year of PhD candidature at the College of Asia and the Pacific. My research revolves around the politics of Pacific Islands' coalition blocs in climate change negotiations.
I left my home with one suitcase, curious at what my adventure in Canberra would be like. What I found was sense of belonging, and community. There was a community of volunteers welcoming me at the airport; to a diverse community of postgraduate residents waiting for me at Toad Hall. It took me less than a day to find and join the community of Pasifika Student Society and Pasifika Australia outreach program. During enrolment, my professors who I read and admired from afar, helped me fill in my forms and explained the courses on offer that suit my interests. The array of student clubs and societies, and meeting fellow peers at the College of Asia and the Pacific, relived my anxiety and homesickness of home. I had truly found my new home, my new community.
So while I initially chose ANU for its academic excellence - what made my experience here more rewarding (and extension of my studies) - was the ANU community. The academic experience is not just about the lecture rooms and essay writings, it is about having fun. You can do both and still graduate. My advice is explore your ANU, explore your community - and join the community. My passion and way of becoming part of the ANU experience is giving back to the community. Your Postgraduate and Research Student Association (PARSA) is one way. PARSA provides events all year round for postgrads to meet each other, but at the same time hear and advocate for your needs to fulfil your university experience. You made the right choice by choosing ANU - a place for academic excellence, community and life-long friendship.
Happy Super 'O' Week!