Two weeks after graduating, Anastasia Pavlovic moved to Singapore to begin a graduate role at Facebook. Although she may have arrived at university unsure which path to take, choosing Indonesian Studies became “the best decision” Anastasia ever made.
When I first graduated high school, I didn’t know what degree or major I wanted to do.
I originally enrolled in a combined degree in Arts and Social Work: I soon realised Social Work wasn’t something that suited me, leading me to focus on my Bachelor of Arts. It suited my frame of mind at the time: I wanted to learn but was unsure about my career path.
I took Indonesian Studies initially as an elective as I thought this would be such a great chance to learn more about Australia’s closest neighbour and the emphasised importance of the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Growing up with an Indonesian mother & Serbian father, I also didn’t have the opportunity to learn Indonesian in my household as we only spoke English at home.
As I progressed through the interview rounds for my role with Facebook, I researched the company intensely and made sure I knew the STAR method to use as the format to explain my experience in my interview.
If I could go back in time, I would say to take as many opportunities that come your way because you just never know where it will lie. Sometimes there’s a certain sense of freedom in not knowing what truly lies ahead for the future – embrace it and don’t worry too much if you don’t have an “exact” plan.
With entertaining classes, amazing new friends and inspiring lecturers who nurtured my curiosity, Indonesian Studies quickly became my major; it has been the very best decision I have made.
It was a mix of nerves and excitement all at the same time – moving to a new country, new city, starting a full-time job and really stepping into the unknown.
Moving to Singapore in 2017, whilst a big decision at the time, was also a familiar experience as I had gone on exchange to Yogyakarta, Indonesia the previous year. This helped me settle in and know that feeling of being separated from home.
At first, I didn’t actually think I would get this role – I thought someone with a Business degree would.
But I realised there are so many transferable skills I learnt through my Arts degree.
Being able to analyse situations that relate to my clients, critically think about their challenges and communicate cross-culturally are all skills that are really valuable today.
But how did I get it? Honestly, I just applied. Facebook were advertising for a graduate role and it was going to be two people hired per market in Asia Pacific. I was very lucky, I got one.
From the very beginning, I focused on my overall “north star”: I made clear I wanted to work in technology and had the drive to be part of this industry.
As an Account Manager, I work with small and medium businesses; to understand what their business objectives are and provide them with a strategy on how they can achieve those objectives on Facebook and Instagram.
The role has seen me get involved in some great initiatives, like hosting sessions for minority women entrepreneurs on how to grow their business ventures, seeing my clients featured in news articles, and collaborating with my co-workers and Austrade to host an event focused on taking Australian businesses to new markets internationally.
Working in the Asia Pacific headquarters means there are people from around the world in a single Singapore office, so knowing the complex differences between societies has made collaboration fulfilling and interesting.
It’s also helped me better understand intricacies within emerging markets like Indonesia and Philippines compared to established markets like Australia.
My Indonesian Studies major has really helped my current role today as I’ve been able to communicate deeper in cross-cultural workspaces.
I love this quote by Nelson Mandela: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”.
In this current climate, where human connection is more important than ever, languages create a beautiful opportunity to connect with one another on a deeper level.
I can wholeheartedly say that my languages major at Sydney helped me with finding those deeper connections, especially in those formative years of my life where I was trying to discover who I was as an individual.