Upon the completion of her Master of International and Development Economics at ANU College of Asia & the Pacific, Amy Liu returned to work at the Asian Development Bank Headquarters in Manila, before relocating to Naypyidaw, Myanmar, to commence in her role as Advisor to the Department of Labour. Amy recounts her experiences at ANU and how they have helped her in furthering her career objectives.
I enrolled at ANU in January 2012 and received my Master of International and Development Economics.
Part of my inspiration to pursue this program came from my work at the Asian Development Bank. I realised deepening my knowledge and understanding of international and development economics would allow me to make a deeper contribution to development. In addition to strengthening my technical skills, the ability to study alongside government officials from diverse countries at ANU proved very valuable in my work.
I really enjoyed living on the green and spacious campus of ANU, which felt like botanical gardens. I also enjoyed life in Australia, a place where Asian and western cultures converge, and the environment and modern life exist in unison.
In terms of my best experience outside of the classroom, one specific example is being invited to the Gathering of African Students, which was jointly organised by embassies of several African nations and hosted by ANU. I felt really honoured, since I was the only Chinese student invited, and I really enjoyed the African cultural performances. Moreover, such experiences and friendships helped me learn more about development challenges outside of Asia. Other examples included the ANU-organised tour of the National Gallery of Australia and a spectacular outdoor concert organised by the ACT Government.
One of my particular interests has been youth employment and technical and vocational education and training (TVET). Before studying at ANU, my work on TVET was fairly narrow and micro-level. As part of my course on Government, Markets, and Global Change, I conducted case study research arguing for TVET as one of the top policy priorities in tackling slow growth and youth unemployment in Timor-Leste. That experience in applied research at the policy level provided a good starting point for my later work, including my ongoing support to Myanmar’s Department of Labour and Guizhou Department of Education in China.
As a word of advice for international students looking to study at ANU, I would say this: Be prepared to develop your critical thinking, analytical, and presentation skills. This is very distinct from the education model in much of Asia, which focuses on memorising content and rote-based examinations. Although I struggled at the start, I quickly enjoyed the challenge and later appreciated the new ways I approached my work.
I would also strongly encourage students to break free from the ‘comfort zone’ of associating only with students from their own country. I’m glad I took the opportunity to make friends with students from all around the globe, which contributed to my overall learning experience.
Find out more about studying a Master of International and Development Economics at ANU.