Camille Luchs

Camille Luchs, 1 June, 2022

When I began my Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Justice at QUT I never expected I would be planning to spend six months in Japan and 18 months in Singapore studying international business and East Asian politics and security.

During the first year of my course, I developed a strong interest in public policy and the Australian policy cycle. I was fascinated by the problem-solving aspect of the policy process and appreciated that through my course, I was able to explore my interest in feminism and security. I also found that my Business and Justice studies were extremely complementary, intersecting in areas such as organisational crime and corruption and the influence of international politics on trade.

I knew from the moment that I started my degree I wanted to undertake an international exchange experience. I have always loved international travel and I thought that going on exchange would be a fantastic opportunity to have more global experiences. However, it was through my studies in international business and policy and politics at QUT that I realised the importance of international experiences in enhancing my knowledge and skills in the areas of trade and national security. Exchange was no longer an option, but an imperative. After two years of going in and out of lockdown, I was also itching to get on a plane and see the world.

The New Colombo Plan Program had been on my radar since Year 11 of high school. The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government, providing Australian undergraduate students with the opportunity to undertake study and internships or mentorships in the Indo-Pacific. I thought that the opportunities that the program presented, in terms of not only studying overseas but also undertaking internships and language training, would provide me with the experience I needed to be a leading graduate in my chosen field who possessed cross-cultural capabilities. The problem was that I had no idea what I wanted to study at university, much less what career I wanted to pursue upon graduation. I decided to choose the Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Justice double degree based on my love for my high school business studies, and my keen interest in local politics.

I was uncertain about whether I made the correct degree choice. My worries quickly diminished. Not only giving it my best shot in every assessment piece I completed, but also volunteering with youth organisations outside of university and attending youth conferences helped me to realise that my degrees did give me the ability to explore topics that I found interesting. Fast forward to the 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholarship application, I felt that by virtue of being a first-year university student, I was not competitive enough to be considered. I put in an application regardless, thinking it would be good practice for when I was more competitive later in my degree. I conveyed my passion for my growing interests in national security and feminism and positioned a scholarship program in Singapore as a perfect opportunity to explore how these two areas intersect. I believe that women, particularly young women, have been absent from the national security discourse in Australia, and I wanted to travel to Singapore to learn how women’s voices can be amplified in this space.

The important lesson I learned when I progressed through the scholarship application rounds is that passion is equally as important, even more so, than qualifications. This lesson was solidified when I was awarded a 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholarship and my plans to travel to Singapore were to be realised. I owe a great deal of this scholarship award to my Justice studies, which opened my eyes to a career in public policy. I did not think that I could pursue a career in national security policy, however my Justice studies have shaped my career ambitions and goals to consider this possibility.

Before I begin my exchange in Singapore, I will be travelling to Japan to begin a semester exchange as a 2022 Westpac Asian Exchange Scholar. Whilst the focus of this exchange program is primarily on my interests in international business and trade policy, I hope to learn more about Japan’s strategic trade controls for the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. My focus of my study will always be exploring the intersections of my Business and Justice studies, an area that studying a double degree at QUT helped me to understand and pursue.

As I prepare for my exchange, I am reflecting on my own academic journey. I started my first year at QUT uncertain whether my course was right for me and have now found a growing passion for my double degree that is taking me overseas. My advice for students who are struggling with making course decisions is not to limit yourself to a label. Take the time to consider your degree options, your interests, and the opportunities you’d like to have whilst at university. These factors will guide you in making the best decision for your future.

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Camille Luchs

Camille Luchs

Bachelor of Justice/Bachelor of Business

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