by Lucy Battaglene, graduate in Pacific Studies (Hons.) from the ANU (Photo: Lucy, centre back, with friends from Lamap, Vanuatu).
I chose to study Pacific studies at ANU after discovering a poster for the ‘Learning Oceania‘ course in my second year of an International Relations degree. Having spent time in Solomon Islands as a child I had always felt a connection with the Pacific and was very interested in a degree that could potentially lead me back to the region in a professional capacity. I swapped from a BA to a BAPS (Bachelor of Asia-Pacific Studies) in 2009 with majors in Pacific Studies and Pacific Languages. In 2011, I returned to ANU after a six month break to undertake a BAPS Honours year.
The trans-disciplinary approach to learning that Pacific Studies offered allowed me to expand my knowledge base from a purely political viewpoint to include elements of anthropology, history, linguists and development studies. This was most useful while writing my Honours thesis on the viability of Community-based Tourism in Melanesia. During my Honours year, I was lucky enough to gain a small grant as part of Margaret Jolly’s ARC Laureate Engendering persons, transforming things: Christianities, Commodities and Individualism in Oceania which allowed me to undertake fieldwork in Solomon Islands that proved to be invaluable to the overall argument of my thesis.
Through my Pacific Studies degree I realised my passion for the Sustainable Tourism Industry and was able to gain an assignment with Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development (AYAD) which I began in April 2012. I am currently spending a year in Lamap, Vanuatu working as an eco-tourism development officer with local tourism operators. I hope that this experience and the knowledge I have gained through the Pacific Studies degree will help me to gain future employment in the industry and the region.