For Josh Griffiths, the Year in Asia program was always an attractive drawcard for studying at ANU. Josh first came across the program at ANU Open Day during his final year of high school. Among the many study options, Josh was particularly interested in International Security Studies and Economics, and eventually enrolled in both the Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies and the Bachelor of Economics programs through the Flexible Double Degree. At the time, he knew he wanted to pick up a new language while at university, but he chose to wait until after his gap year to discover which language he was most passionate about.
“I decided to study Chinese because it was so fascinating and different. Studying Chinese, through the Year in Asia program in particular, was such an eye-opening and empowering experience.”
While at Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, Josh met students from all over the world and was able to travel to destinations as far as Tibet and the Philippines.
“There were just so many opportunities for travel and study. On the advice of my ANU lecturers I took an extra month-long language course in Beijing over the summer break because I really wanted that extra bit of confidence in my language skills. Now I have to pinch myself because it’s such a great feeling to be able to converse in Chinese, but at the same time it’s quite surreal. I couldn’t have achieved this without the language exposure the Year in Asia program provides.”
The benefits of the Year in Asia experience were more than just increased language fluency.
“My experience in China really challenged the way I think about traveling. It’s not just about ticking off the places you’ve been, but really getting under the skin in specific areas. There are tangible benefits of staying in one place for an extended period of time.”
Josh applied to stay an additional six months at Zhejiang University, and upon return to Australia signed up for an internship through the Australian National Internship Program (ANIP). He spent six weeks in Taipei on the Taiwan Public Policy Internship Program over the summer break.
As he wraps up his time as an undergraduate at ANU, Josh is preparing to embark on another internship with Austrade in Beijing.
“Chinese has become such a pivotal aspect of my life. It’s opened up so many opportunities and sparked my interest in other places. After interning with Austrade, down the track I hope to spend some more time in Taiwan – perhaps I’ll find work there and spend more time getting to know the island.”
Inspired by Josh’s story? ANU College of Asia & the Pacific offers a huge variety of study opportunities for its students. See for yourself at ANU Open Day.