Uong Jameson Yalap

Uong Jameson Yalap

Final-year student, Bachelor of Arts in International Studies

Global awareness has never been more vital than it is in today’s rapidly changing world, says Uong Jameson Yalap, who came to AUT as an international student from Palau, supported by a Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship.

“With the advancements in communication technologies and the increased accessibility to international travel, the world has shrunk and grown more interconnected and interdependent. We’ve witnessed the growth of emerging economies and increased global cooperation. However, we’ve also seen the detrimental impacts of globalisation on the environment, disruption of supply chains, and rising inflation owing to the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. Therefore, it is imperative to develop a comprehensive understanding of global issues and bolster our intercultural capacity to ensure we respond to future challenges with wisdom and resilience.

“Growing up, I developed a fascination for the world and its cultures, languages and customs. As I grew older, I wanted to be able to travel the globe and experience it first-hand. After high school and much research, I realised that pursuing a degree in international studies would allow me to gain knowledge of the world and all its wonder. I chose to study a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies, with a minor in Social Sciences, because I want to acquire insight into international affairs and the social and cultural elements of human interaction.”

Expecting to graduate in March 2023, Uong already has a good idea of how he sees his future.

“I endeavour to pursue a career in international development in a regional or global capacity, although that might change over time. The courses I’ve taken in my degree have developed my intercultural intelligence and honed my understanding of globalisation and international relations. I’m confident that AUT has provided me with a tremendous range of skills and knowledge to give me a competitive advantage for potential career prospects.”

A rewarding experience
His degree has broadened his worldview, Uong says.

“My studies have been incredibly rewarding, offering me a chance to explore diverse cultures and uncover parallels with my own. Learning te reo, and Māori culture and history has been one of the highlights of my AUT and Aotearoa journey. What I learned through my studies has also helped me tremendously in my final-year workplace experience. Since my placement involved a great deal of grant writing to international and regional development organisations and Palau’s diplomatic allies, my degree has proven very useful.

“I’ve also been fortunate to make many international friends. Learning more about their cultures and participating in cultural activities has been a privilege. I’m also deeply grateful to be part of the incredible AUT Manaaki scholars community, which has made my time at AUT extraordinary.”

There’s one lecturer who made a particularly strong impression on him.

“Associate Professor Camille Nakhid was one of the inspiring people I met at AUT. I had the privilege of enrolling in her course Diversity, Power and Discrimination. Throughout the course, I came to understand how discrimination is embedded within legal frameworks and social institutions, such as universities, courts, hospitals, housing and other parts of society, to disadvantage Māori, Pacific and other marginalised groups socially, economically and politically. Camille inspired me to speak up about social issues, especially my experiences, rather than remain silent out of fear of upsetting those with more power and privilege. As a result, I’ve become much more conscious of racial and social injustices and how important it is to speak out against them.”

Advice for other international students
Uong wouldn’t hesitate to recommend studying at AUT to other international students, especially Palauans. He says that AUT could use more Pacific representation from Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands to foster closer relationships and better understanding between the North and South Pacific, and bolster the weakened state of Pacific regionalism.

“Studying abroad can be an enriching and transformational experience. Those seeking a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies will find AUT an excellent option for international students, especially from Palau. Situated in the picturesque city of Auckland in New Zealand, AUT provides its students with state-of-the-art resources and a vibrant, friendly community.”

There’s plenty of support available for students, he adds.

“International students can expect a personalised approach where esteemed lecturers and advisors are at hand to help them throughout their AUT journey with the highest level of support.

“For example, the pandemic has been difficult for all of us, but I wasn’t alone in this struggle. The AUT scholarships team, my doctors, my counsellor, Reverend Linda Hope, my compassionate lecturers, Student Hub advisors, my close friends, and my family in Palau provided me with tremendous motivational support. I was the only Palauan student at AUT and had no family in New Zealand. Still, the support from everyone helped me endure the lockdowns and cushioned my challenging academic journey.”

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