Meet Nicholas Pudney: ANU Postgraduate Student and Staff Member

18th August 2022

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Five years ago, in 2017, a somewhat apprehensive Melbournian, Nicholas Pudney, took the bus from Canberra airport through to Civic, wondering if he’d perhaps been too steadfast about his decision to study a Bachelor of Political Science at ANU—Canberra was definitely not how he’d pictured it!

However, soon after arriving at Ursula Hall, he knew he’d made the right choice.

“I’d definitely found my people, we all did different degrees, but were all making the most of the opportunity to study at ANU.”

Passion for Politics

Nick came to Canberra partly to pursue his passion for politics and partly to immerse himself in the many joys of on-campus life. Why ANU? He was keen because he knew that the University was the definitive home of political and historical studies in Australia.

Nick had always harboured a passion for politics, but it was not until his second and third year that he realised he was particularly interested in the politics of Asia and the Pacific. So fast forward to the end of his graduation, he ultimately didn’t leave, and instead went on to become a postgraduate student here as well as a professional staff member. Besides being an integral member of the College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP) Advancement team, he is currently also studying a Graduate Certificate of Engaging Asia at CHL.

“Now working at ANU, I’ve been lucky that I’ve been able to work with a few of the lecturers who taught me as an undergraduate.”

Graduate Certificate in Engaging Asia

Nick chose the Graduate Certificate in Engaging Asia because it offers a rare opportunity to study both the historical and contemporary aspects of the region and how these intertwine. He is particularly interested in Southeast Asia, as it has such a diverse and extensive history. The region’s historical connection with Australia, particularly in the second half of the 20th century really intrigues this student.

For Nick, the degree also offered opportunities to expand his knowledge into new fields that he hadn’t explored in his undergraduate degree.

There is no doubt that there is a demand for knowledge on Asia across Australia and a premium for those who have it. Working at CAP in Fundraising and Alumni Relations as well, Nick believes that this additional knowledge will also help him engage further with college alumni and donors, many of who are some of the world’s leading experts on the region.

The ANU Student Experience

Nick cites his time living on campus would as the biggest highlight of being a student at ANU. Being around a group of interesting, funny and different people, all with different ways of looking at and approaching the world is truly educational in more ways than one.

“It’s such a unique experience and something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Forming conversations over lunch, formed entirely of ‘in-jokes’, not discernible to everyone else was a daily occurrence. There was never a dull moment with campus living, that’s for sure!”

For Nick, another specific highlight of student life at CAP has been the collegiality. Having smaller classes, according to Nick, really helps people come together. Amongst the cohort, everyone’s passion for the region naturally links, but everyone is different enough as well, so that the chats are always engaging.

Nick’s favourite class would have to have been a CHL course he did during his undergraduate degree: Airlines in Asia and the Pacific, with Jane Ferguson as the lecturer.

“It was quite a close-knit class as we were all AV geeks, but the subject material was so diverse, everyone could take a different focus and approach to assignments. Much of the material and issues I’d never come across but still use and explore to this day.”

A Balancing Act

Of course, as they say, it’s never no work and all play. So, in terms of challenges, Nick emphasises that writing in academic style and getting back into the groove after not being a student took him a while, but after some practice he eventually got to Graduate levels. He definitely owes the improvement to his peers and some of the great posts they put up on the Wattle pages!

Balancing full time work and study hasn’t always been the easiest thing for Nick, but the great thing about the postgraduate courses for him is the flexibility. “You can take them at your own pace, and class time and format varies, so you can really mould it to suit your needs.”

When he’s not studying or working—yes, he does find some time to do other things—Nick is a self-proclaimed tragic of 1970s and 1980s pop and rock music, as many of his colleagues are all too aware!

“I’m slowly building my music collection up to something decent, and luckily, much of it is found in the discount pile!”

Pearls of Wisdom

When it comes to anyone wanting to tread the same path as him, Nick recommends that everyone should definitely take the opportunity if they can, even if they only do a course at a time.

“Take the challenge, and the CHL community will have your back all the way. Not only is the Graduate Certificate of Engaging Asia a great way to get some Asia understanding and credentials; but having that knowledge under your belt can really help with confidence in communicating your ideas in a professional context.”

The Road Ahead

So, what does the future hold for this multitasking professional and postgrad?

Although Nick isn’t certain about his future career trajectory yet, he feels that anywhere he can put his newfound Asia and Pacific knowledge into practice would be the initial goal.

And of course, there’s the travel. “I’d also like to see a bit more of the region I’ve studied, I haven’t travelled overseas much at all, so definitely looking to do that as well!

Expertise of a much sought-after and growing region, travel, and amazing first-hand exposure and networks; these are only some of the reasons that has made this experience so invaluable for Nick.

If you’re looking to broaden your horizons like Nick has, get in touch with us at to have an open chat about the many exciting possibilities you have on offer!

Updated:  7 July 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, Culture, History & Language/Page Contact:  CHL webmaster