It’s not often you meet a student who’s as passionate about Central Asia as Mitch Clyne.
“It’s just a fascinating part of the world – so different and so unusual,” says Mitch. “There’s a ton of stuff you read about and think: where else but Central Asia?”
Sharing his enthusiasm for his studies is a major component of Mitch’s role as a Student Ambassador for ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP). It’s a position he fell into almost by chance, but one he says he has found deeply rewarding.
“I got into it because I was asked to help out at Asia-Pacific Day, which is an event the College hosts for high school students show them just how awesome everything at our College is,” says Mitch.
His responsibilities as Student Ambassador involve everything from book-keeping, to organising campus tours, but the aspect he enjoys most is the physical outreach to prospective students. It’s when he’s talking to students face-to-face that he feels he has the most impact.
“I know former Student Ambassadors who’ve had people come up to them and say: you’re the reason I’m here,” says Mitch. “That’s something special.”
“CAP obviously has some of the best scholars in the world. I think this is the foremost place to learn about Asia and the Pacific, and also things like Strategic Studies for that matter,” he says.
Mitch has aimed to take advantage of the many opportunities offered by the College. He’s been on overseas study tours to Myanmar and to Mongolia. Last year, he also completed a research internship with the Australian Civil Military Centre.
“It was amazing – a really excellent experience,” he says. “It’s very unusual to get an internship in the Australian government, let alone in a branch of the government that deals with security.”
The program was offered through the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs.
As a Student Ambassador, Mitch encourages prospective students to take advantage of every opportunity.
“At the end of the day, university is what you make of it,” he says.
“It’s often not realistic to enter a degree and expect to walk out with a rewarding job in the same discipline,” he adds. “What matters more is what else you do to make yourself more employable.”
By CAP student correspondent Dot Mason.