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Combining International Relations studies and an NCP Scholarship to expand Molly’s global view

The Macquarie University student is coming to the end of her Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in International Relations and saw NCP as an opportunity to broaden her studies. “Undertaking International Relations studies really opened my eyes to the Eurocentric lens we view global affairs through in Australia. I hoped that studying politics from a new perspective, in-country, would allow me to break out of this model and broaden my understanding,” says Molly. “I chose Indonesia as my NCP host location with this in mind, also recognising the need for Australian graduates and professionals to develop a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the Australia-Indonesia relationship.”

Photo of Molly buying local art off Malioboro St in Yogyakarta.
Buying Batik off Malioboro St in Yogyakarta. Credit: Jacob Dooley.

Indonesia is also a place dear to Molly’s heart, having travelled there as a child. “Whenever my family could travel we went to Indonesia. Travelling between cities and always having new and exciting experiences along the way were seminal in my life. It fostered a deep respect for Indonesian cultures, leading me to study Bahasa Indonesian at university and focus my career aspirations on contributing to a positive, respectful bilateral relationship.”  

Molly says that these visits to Indonesia sparked her passion for the wider world too. “As a result of these childhood experiences, travel was all I ever wanted to do. I remember sitting in class at school secretly reading Lonely Planet books from the library and having news alerts set on my laptop from Human Rights Watch, BBC Africa or Aljazeera, so that I could keep up with daily international affairs.”

Molly almost didn’t respond to her university’s email suggesting she apply for NCP. “It seemed so unattainable. I was more afraid of putting myself out there during the application process and failing, than I was about the idea of moving overseas for up to 19 months. I am so thankful that I went ahead and applied and have had this experience.”

Photo of Molly’s first day on the University campus.
Molly’s first day of university in Indonesia, Feb. 2020. Credit: Jacob Dooley.

Molly commenced her NCP program in Indonesia at the start of 2020 and completed half a semester of study in-person with Universitas Gadjah Mada in Yogyakarta. She then finished the semester online after returning to Australia due to the pandemic. “In the six weeks I was in Yogyakarta, I made life-long friendships with my housemates, liaised with Indonesia’s future leaders in class, and connected with lecturers who have themselves already played pivotal roles in Indo-Pacific politics.”

For other students considering applying for NCP, Molly’s advice is to take the leap and apply. “If the NCP opportunity has been offered to you by your university then you are absolutely someone who is set to contribute to and benefit from the program. Regional collaboration in a COVID-19 (and hopefully post COVID-19) world is arguably the most important it has been in our lifetimes, and your position as an NCP scholar will allow you to play a role in this collaboration.”

Molly will resume her NCP program and complete internship placements in Indonesia when travel is possible again. “My NCP experience has been humbling and amazing. The opportunities that carrying the title of NCP scholar has afforded me are beyond expectations.”

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