Discovering a passion for Asian Languages

07 December 2017

Alex Miglietti’s dream is to be bilingual. He is well on the way to achieving it, graduating this month with a Bachelor of Arts, with a Linguistics major and an Indonesian minor.

Not content with one additional language, he also studies Cantonese and Mandarin in his spare time.

Alex’s passion for Asia was sparked by his Indonesian studies in high school, which he maintained alongside several science electives. He continued to balance science and language studies at ANU, where he initially enrolled in a Bachelor of Science and undertook Indonesian electives.

However, soon after he started his degree he realised that science was not what he wanted to do, and began searching for a new direction. The answer came when he was walking down a corridor in Ursula Hall and saw the nameplate of another student who studied linguistics.

‘I thought, I had always talked about that, well there’s no better time really.’

He soon transferred to a Bachelor of Arts with a Linguistics major and an Indonesian minor. As Alex says now, ‘I’ve never been happier since I really discovered that untapped potential.’

His new degree enabled him to fully pursue his long-held dream of fluency in an Asian language. He continued studying Indonesian, working up to advanced-level subjects.

But he was most fascinated by the courses he took in Asian history and literature in the School of Culture, History and Language. This year Alex took a course in Chinese literature which he found to be a worthwhile and rewarding challenge. ‘China has always been my strongest interest despite never having studied Chinese formally,’ he said.

After graduating Alex will continue working at ANU College, where he is the coordinator of a volunteer program that helps international students to improve their English skills and make new friends in Canberra by pairing them with domestic students.

He will also keep studying Indonesian, Mandarin and Cantonese so that he can become an accredited interpreter or translator. Alex believes that the combination of linguistics and Asian studies he experienced in his degree has given him the cultural understanding to effectively and empathetically communicate with speakers of Asian languages.

Alex’s advice for potential students of Asian studies is to follow your passion: ‘it’s a really worthwhile thing to study and there is so much to learn, so much to see, so much to do that you will never find yourself short of intellectual stimulation.’

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Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team