How I Ended up in the Capital of Australia

Posted Nov 10, 2015 1:49 pm

Amy Lin

Amy Lin

Intern at the Australian National University’s Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research

Part of the Queen Elizabeth II scholarship Establishing Right Relations Program

After 30+ hours of non-stop travelling spread across four different airports, three different continents and flights, and enough airplane food to last a lifetime, this was the view I was rewarded with. I’m now sharing it with all of you, and you didn’t even have to buy a plane ticket. Lucky you! I mean, I guess you could’ve Google-imaged something, you know what – shhh, you’re welcome!

Canberra, Australia. Not Sydney!

For those of you who might be thinking, ‘hey, this doesn’t look like Sydney’, you are absolutely right! This is Canberra, the 'underrated' capital city of Australia - my home for the next 3 months. Let me introduce myself: my name is Amy and I’m a third year Trinity College student double-majoring in Criminology & Socio-legal Studies and Ethics, Society & Law with a minor in Anthropology. Recently, I was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Scholarship, which gave me the incredible opportunity to conduct research on Aboriginal development on the other side of the world. I immediately jumped on it

Edit: after a long conversation with my parents assuring them that I will come home in one piece and not abandon them for the sandy beaches and warm weather.

To tell you the truth, I had not always been a fervent advocate of Indigenous rights - unfortunately, I was not completely aware of the ongoing transgressions against Canada’s own Aboriginal peoples for a long time. Sure, I had learned about the residential school system and the Red River Rebellion in high school but my interests in Aboriginal justice actually began with one fateful course-hunting session on Griddy on the eve before my enrolment date. I stumbled upon this fascinating class called ‘Human Rights and Security’ and ended up taking it (a great class, by the way). It was in that lecture hall I became acquainted with the extent of intergenerational violence against, and the egregious treatments of, Aboriginal peoples. The subsequent courses that I took only reaffirmed and expanded my knowledge on the grave marginalization and invisibilization of Indigenous communities at the hands of the settler state. With much encouragement from my professors, I began to foster an interest in the international economic and legal developments of Indigenous populations. The prospect of taking my research interests to the next level through a comparative analysis was extremely appealing to me, and I was ready to go the distances for it…literally. So here I am, at the Australian National University, 15,800 km away from home, doing a research project on the legal regime of native titles in relation to economic development.

Before coming here, I had just finished a semester abroad in Europe and I never thought there would be a day when I would check the temperature for Toronto and wished that I was back home. Because of all the application and interview madness, it wasn’t until after I had accepted the offer that I realized June in Australia meant winter. Ultimately, that wouldn’t have made a difference regarding my decision, but still it feels strange to see the leaves turn color when all your friends are packing their beach bags. One of my Australian friends that I met in London sympathetically suggested that maybe I could go skiing. Ah, the words that every Canadian wants to hear after braving yet another winter. Despite the arduous trip and the cold (by Australian standards), I am extremely honoured to have been selected for this opportunity and beyond excited to share this journey with all of you. I hope to tell many other stories while I am here.

June 28, 2016