When Master of National Security Policy student Patricia Dias joined the NSC, it was the start of a significant career change.
During four years spent working at the China-Australia Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, she was advised to look in to the public service, which led her to Canberra and a job with the Department of Defence.
“I think firstly it was the type of courses the NSC offers that attracted me,” she says. “Other universities have similar types of courses, but the NSC also has an incredibly high calibre of lecturers.
“The other thing I’ve really enjoyed has been the national security events. There are a lot of evening presentations where they get in really big speakers, whereas at other universities you just don’t have access to that calibre of people to learn from.”
Patricia has also enjoyed the flexibility of the degree, both its content and the way the program is delivered. “I’ve loved every single subject I’ve taken and you get such a great range of choice. I studied full-time initially, then part-time. Classes are held in the evenings because a lot of students are also working full-time.”
Although Patricia was initially nervous about having no previous national security experience, she quickly found that her background allowed her to contribute in unique ways. “I learned a lot from my classmates because I’ve been studying alongside people who were already working in the public service or had international relations backgrounds,” she says. “But I quickly realised that bringing that business background and looking at the trade side of things contributed to giving a different perspective and viewpoint. I think everyone’s different backgrounds helped us all learn together.
“The lecturers, the administrative staff and everyone in the NSC makes it really feel like a family,” she says. “When I first moved to Canberra, the staff took the time to sit down with me and talk to me about the course and what options I had.
Patricia has recently applied for an ANU internship in Washington, where students work for a member of the US Congress, joined the Australian Army Reserve as an officer and is keen to broaden her international experience.
“The NSC really does have your interests as a student at heart and they want to see you progress in your career.”