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Photo: Abeda Islam

Photo: Abeda Islam

Learning outside of comfort zones

12 July 2019

4 minutes

Originally, from Bangladesh, where she completed her schooling until year 10, Tasfia Mahmud, felt her life was uprooted when her family suddenly shifted to Brunei.

“I had to leave my comfort zone and adjust to a whole new life. However, this move worked out as a blessing in disguise as I got a chance to finish my secondary education under the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. I was exposed to new life experiences that further encouraged me to study in Australia,” she said.

While she was completing her secondary education, Tasfia participated in a range of programs, including raising money for a charity program in Cambodia and travelling to the UK for a drama trip.

“These experiences made me realise that there is a whole world outside of my comfort zone that I was yet to experience. This was one of the primary motivations for me to apply to ANU. I wanted my university experience to help me develop as a person - not just someone who succeeds academically, but also as someone who is ready and capable of handling new challenges,” Tasfia said.

Tasfia’s father works for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Bangladeshi Government and wanted her daughter to pursue a career in diplomacy. However, Tasfia has an interest to explore the intersections between economics of developing countries and diplomacy.

“I studied Economics in High School and was hugely interested in the course Development Economics (DE). This course had generated a desire to work in international diplomacy and economics,” she added.

Tasfia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Economics and is the recipient of the ANU International Excellence Scholarship Award.

At ANU there is an emphasis on holistic education...I feel that is really important for students to add to their skillset.

When Tasfia first arrived at ANU, she says that she immediately fell in love with the campus and its welcoming atmosphere. She further believes that Brunei and Canberra are very similar in many ways, which is why it was easy for her feel comfortable and called Canberra her home.

Besides the environment, Tasfia believes that the ANU community helped her settle into the University and Canberra.

“People at the ANU campus are very friendly. Everybody is always willing to help everybody out, which makes things easier. I knew virtually no one when I first came to Canberra, but now I feel like I am part of a little community of my own. A big part of that has to do with my on campus accommodation,” she added.

Calling her experience at CBE an absolute “delight”, Tasfia believes that her classes are helping her “lay the foundations” for her ambitions and career. She also believes that the flexible elective system at CBE has immensely helped me try out other subjects that I have an interest in. For instance, she picked French as an elective to study.

“This kind of emphasis on holistic education is not something that is available in Bangladesh, but I feel they are really important for students to add to their skillset,” she says. 

For the moment, Tasfia intends to complete her Honours program in Economics, after which she plans to work at the United Nations.

“I would love to work in the United Nations someday, where I hope I can use my knowledge of Economics in policy related issues, in particular in human resource development,” Tasfia said.

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs in Economics. Click here for more details.

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Updated:   12 July 2019 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team