Anna-Kate is in her 5th year of a Double Bachelor of Economics and International Security Studies (minoring in Asia Pacific Security Studies) at the ANU.
What made you interested in Asia and the Pacific regions? Where would you ideally travel?
Growing up I spent just over three years living in Manila, Philippines. During this time, I was lucky enough to travel around South East Asia quite extensively with my family. I think these childhood experiences have very much formed the foundation for my ongoing interest in Asia. From the natural wonders of El Nido’s coral reefs to Halong Bay’s tranquil beauty, to the historical sites of Angkor wat or the Terracotta Warriors, the natural beauty and rich historical and cultural diversity of Asia has always captivated me.
Towards the end of my high school years, I also had the privilege of taking part in a Round Square volunteer program, in Fiji, where I home-stayed in two remote communities, Namuamua and Yanuya, and worked at their local primary schools. This unique experience, fostered by such kind and generous tight-knit communities, ignited my interest in the Pacific.
In a perfect world, I would want to travel through all of Asia and the Pacific. At this point, however, I think Japan is definitely at the top of my list. I would love to immerse myself in Japan’s rich and vibrant cultural scene, and put my language skills to the test. I would also love to hit the slopes!
What language/s can you speak? Or what language/s would you love to learn?
While I can only speak English fluently at the moment, I am currently learning Japanese, and hope to be able to speak it fluently in a few years. My partner and his family also speak Tok Pisin (a creole language spoken throughout Papua New Guinea), so I am also constantly learning that too!
What issue in Asia or the Pacific regions are you most passionate about/intrigued by?
Gender inequality. Gender inequality is an issue globally, but women in Asia and the Pacific regions in particular experience a high level of personal insecurity – often excluded from participating in power structures, denied equal access to economic resources and facing greater barriers to receiving an education. Violence against women is also normalized in many cultures within the Asian and Pacific regions. In times of crisis, these issues are only amplified, with gender-based violence increasing significantly, and women facing greater risk of financial hardship.
Do you have any favourite books/movies from Asia or the Pacific regions? Why would you recommend it?
Parasite would have to be my favourite Asian film. While it does miss the mark on some of its social commentary, it is a satirical masterpiece. I haven’t laughed so much in a movie for a while.