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Evie Sharman is Pacific-minded.
She is in her third year of a Bachelor of Philosophy - Asia and the Pacific. The PhB is a research-focused undergraduate degree that enables students to explore their interests beyond the classroom.
Evie is also actively involved with the student community at ANU, currently serving as an ANUSA representative for the College of Asia and the Pacific.
When it came time to enrol in university, Evie decided to move 1000 kilometres from her home in Casino, NSW, to take advantage of the Asia-Pacific expertise offered at ANU. Evie explains that she started out focusing on Southeast Asian studies, but became hooked on Pacific studies when she took a course on Pacific politics as an elective.
‘I just loved that course, I thought that the Pacific was incredible and exciting. I’m the biggest advocate for it, I could talk about it for hours now,’ she says.
Evie believes that Pacific studies has expanded her worldview and sharpened her critical thinking skills.
‘Pacific studies is really good for thinking about things in a different way. It has also really grounded what I wanted to do in a region, and Australia has so many connections to the Pacific,’ she explains.
One of the highlights of Evie’s time at ANU was the Pacific Islands Field School that she attended late last year. Associate Professor Katerina Teaiwa took a group of students to Samoa to gain first-hand experience of Pacific culture and heritage.
‘It was so interesting to go to Samoa and start thinking about art as something that’s central to all these other things like policy and democracy. And Katerina is one of the experts in it! She’s also a performer and an artist who had just finished an exhibition. It was so helpful to have her to guide us through. It was an incredible field school and I loved it. I would highly recommend it to anyone.’
The Samoa field school was not Evie’s only in-country experience. She has also participated in a study tour of Myanmar and a language immersion course in Indonesia.
‘My biggest piece of advice is to do the field schools, go overseas if you can,’ she says.
Evie is planning to gain even more in-country experience by spending next year studying and travelling in the Pacific before she starts her Honours year.
Her advice to students considering Pacific studies is to ‘just give it a go.’
‘Don’t be afraid to go against the grain and do something a bit different. The passion of the lecturers and the passion of the students that study it will really motivate you and inspire you to give it your all.’