Tia Spanos

I chose La Trobe because I thought it would give me the education I needed, to get where I wanted with my career. I was right.

As an International Relations (IR) student, I was keen to see and understand the world. La Trobe gave me the opportunity to make two significant trips in the four years I spent studying there. The first was a 7 month study abroad programme in Lancaster, England. The second was a chance to meet students (and aspiring diplomats) at the 2012 Harvard World Model United Nations Conference in Vancouver, Canada.

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With a grant from La Trobe in hand, I spent seven months studying with 300 other international students in a small university town in Northern England. While there, I saw and experienced a different way of educating people. Doing a history class with no compulsory reading definitely took me by surprise. I also travelled to eight different countries and lived out some personal dreams; travelling across Northern England to see the origins of the Beatles and Morrissey (among others)- musicians I adore. But, importantly, I met fellow students from La Trobe, some of which are my closest friends today. I also have a network of talented and diverse friends across England, the United States, and Canada.

La Trobe also supported me and three other La Trobians to represent La Trobe at one of the most prestigious annual events for IR students- Harvard WorldMUN. Again, with funding from La Trobe, the four of us headed to Canada to be surrounded by 2,000 idealistic and ambitious students from places far and wide, from Innsbruck to Buenos Aires. Speaking and negotiating in a room of 200 people on reform to the global economic framework and ending austerity was quite surreal. Experiencing the diverse perspectives and values of everyone there was also an eye-opening experience, making me more aware of how one’s history and geography influences their understanding of what is ‘good policy’.

La Trobe’s emphasis was always on the practical application of what we studied. Having so much support to travel around the world, understand different cultures/ways of living, and build an international network, gave me real world foundations for my studies and prepared me for my career as an International Policy Officer for the Australian Government.