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Ruiting Dong is fascinated by East Asian languages and cultures.
She is in the final year of a Bachelor of Asian Studies, which enables students to master an Asian language, acquire in-depth regional knowledge and graduate as an Asia expert.
‘I graduated from high school in China. Then I came here to go to ANU College, and then I enrolled in the Bachelor of Asian Studies. It’s great. All the teachers are so helpful. The lectures are interesting, they captivate me all the time,’ she says.
Ruiting is a true polyglot who majors in Japanese and has a minor in Korean. She also has a minor in linguistics after discovering a passion for the subject during her studies.
‘The most attractive part of linguistics is the final question, how did this happen? Why do people have this language? We’re still finding ways to try to get closer to the answer.’
Ruiting has also studied a range of other disciplines as part of her degree. She attended the Archaeology in Asia Study Tour, where she travelled to Taiwan to examine cultural heritage through archaeological sites, museums, and research institutes.
‘I hadn’t been to Taiwan before, so it’s really great when you have a guide that will travel all around Taiwan and introduce everything to you, especially the museums. It’s also fun to see the real preservation sites there,’ she says.
Ruiting says that she has been able to develop a range of skills throughout her degree. Last semester, she took Dr Shameem Black’s course Gender and Cultural Studies in Asia and the Pacific, where students showcase their knowledge through making an app prototype and giving presentations.
‘My presentation was about museums and cultural studies. And it was really fun that after all that time practicing that my presentations are getting better! When you make progress it feels great.’
Ruiting is near the completion of her degree, which she says is a time of ‘both bitterness and happiness.’ She plans to continue developing her knowledge of linguistics and East Asia after she graduates.
Her advice to potential students is to embrace studying Asia.
‘Just enjoy it. You need nothing but a courageous heart.’