Meet Jayne Fendyk: 2022 Westpac Future Leader and ANU-CHL MAPS student

Jayne Fendyk

"Becoming a Westpac Scholar is my greatest achievement to date, and an important reminder to put yourself forward and apply (even if it feels uncomfortable!)" Jayne Fendyk

Truly, getting out of her comfort zone is not something that fazes ANU Master of Asian and Pacific Studies (MAPS) student, Jayne Fendyk, who has recently been named a 2022 Westpac Future Leaders Scholar. Jayne saw the Westpac Program as a potential avenue for her to strengthen her leadership skills and to immerse herself in real-time study in an area of great passion and interest to her.

So, despite being shrouded by considerable self-doubt and intimidation at the processes and interviews involved, Jayne proceeded to put in her application to become a Westpac scholar. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Now, as a Westpac Future Leader, she hopes to translate her learning and the transformative potential to make a real difference to the Australia-Indonesia relationship.

Jayne’s Journey to ANU and Beyond

Driven by her passion for learning, languages, education and politics, Jayne pursued her love of the Indonesian language ever since primary school and ultimately went on to study a Bachelor of Arts (Politics) and Diploma of Languages (Indonesian) at the University of Melbourne.

She later moved to Canberra as a graduate at the Department of Education, Skills, and Employment, primarily working on higher education programs and policy. She has since taken a hiatus to follow her first love—to deepen her knowledge of the Indo-Pacific, particularly in areas of interest such as gender, language, religion, and education. Her federal policy work and her volunteer work coordinating Dream Seeds—a program promoting aspiration, resilience, and connection among rural primary school students—have been significantly transformative for Jayne at a personal level. They contribute to a broader ambition to contribute to strengthening Australia’s relationship with its closest neighbour, Indonesia and inspire a new generation of Indonesian enthusiasts like herself.

A possible future in development and policy work at the grassroots level is what really inspires her, and something she envisages for herself in the future.

The MAPS Experience

For Jayne, the MAPS program at the ANU School of Culture, History & Language was particularly attractive due to the world-leading scholars and scholarship ANU has held with respect to this region.

With respect to her MAPS experience so far, Jayne she has immersed herself in a range of subjects learning about modern China to reconciliation and the memory of conflict throughout Asia and the Pacific. The highlight for however her has been the ability to meet like-minded people (in person again!) and discuss ideas with other students who have similar passions and interests.

Jayne also hopes to take full advantage of the more specific research opportunities offered through the ANU MAPS program, including completing the semester-long thesis or supervised research project subjects (likely towards the end of her Master’s program).


Not everyone gets to experience languages in-depth, but Jayne considers herself lucky. The Indonesian language was taught at both the primary schools she attended (in Melbourne and in Ocean Grove, Victoria, where she spent most of her childhood). Her love for Indonesian was initially sparked however through her interactions with her aunt and uncle, who used to teach English in rural Indonesia. It was only natural for Jayne to continue learning the language at the university level.

A favourite expression of Jayne’s has always been ‘semangat’, which is catch-all word to describe spirit, morale and enthusiasm – all things Jayne feels towards her studies and the wonderful opportunities brought through the scholarship and study at ANU.

Already fluent in written and spoken Indonesian, Jayne is keeping up with her Indonesian studies outside of her formal study. She would however, love to learn another language eventually—Tagalog, Tok Pisin, Japanese and Chinese are some she would love to think more about.

And when she’s not studying…

When Jayne’s not immersed in books, playing sport or boardgames, she also collaborates on another shared passion with her friend Paul O’Shea—writing musicals! The duo does, in fact, have a script in the making—a story about netball and footy clubs in regional Victoria.

Who knows – maybe in the future someday, we’ll be witness to a musical, and one that could even have an Indonesian-language version? But for now, we’ll continue to follow Jayne through her journey across Asia and the Pacific and cheer her on as she hits greater heights and achieves new milestones.

Interested in immersing yourself in the Asia and the Pacific? Check out the Master of Asian and Pacific Studies program information. Enquire now: