2016 was a big year. I started off readjusting from my Japanese exchange, and learning to live with less money. 2016 was the year I started reading about minimalism and feminism and was inspired to live a more meaningful life with less. I must have decluttered over 1000 possessions, and it barely made a dent. It continued to look the same.
This was the year I pushed myself to get involved in more extra-curricular activities. I joined the UNITE Leadership Program and became an e-pal mentor for the first semester. I became involved with the Community Connect club and participated in the Vinnie’s Community Sleepout where I was educated on the issue of homelessness in Australia. I organised a pad and tampon collection drive across the university campuses to donate to women in need via Share the Dignity. I became the project manager of a panel session called She Speaks: the power of an educated woman, where four panelists and our MC discussed the importance of educating girls and women, promoting leadership and the benefits for the community overall. These projects sparked a new interest – women’s wellbeing.
As a member of Golden Key, I was invited to participate in the International Scholar Laureate Program’s Delegation on International Relations and Diplomacy in South Africa (which I assure you is not nearly as pretentious as it sounds). As I didn’t have any significant income, I took up jobs through an agency involving event cleaning, serving food and drinks at functions and working on production lines. I also raised money through crowdfunding, scholarship applications, writing to my local council and applying for a student loan. My family could not have been more shocked at how my determination pulled through to afford this experience. Travelling to South Africa was not only an incredible experience, but provided me with a base for one of my papers on reconciliation and my 4500 word international relations research paper. I’m currently eyeing up the 2017 delegation to China, but I expect that would require real grown-up loans with lots of interest, and I’m not sure I can justify it (side note: I definitely am justifying it).
I applied for a place for the 2017 Journalism Professional Practicum with the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies (again, not as pretentious as it sounds!) and amazingly, was offered a spot. They arranged a four-week internship at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in January and February. I’ll also be learning Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) and learning about Indonesian culture and media in the two weeks beforehand.
I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store.