Name: Rushanka Janani Ratnayake
Nationality: Sri Lankan
Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences
Tell us briefly about your work or role in your current organisation.
I’m the Information Resources Assistant for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). I am in charge of all communication-related activity in our agency and all affiliated projects. Our main goal is to provide our agency with visibility among the public, governments, other NGOs and donors etc.
Working at the representation office I am also handling administrative and IT related tasks as well. Working with the local press, local government, NGOs, FAO headquarters and local public are some of the areas that I am exposed to through my work. Field travel, event management, media relations are also a few components.
How has your study in Monash Malaysia helped to prepare you for the working world?
Being exposed to different personalities and having the opportunity to be independent has helped me handle work situations well. Especially working in MUSA gave me the additional exposure I needed when handling student, staff, external parties and others.
My course work and other project activities have helped me become a better team player and to synchronise my strengths with my colleagues to achieve exceptional results. My lecturers have been a pillar of strength during difficult times and showed me that failure is also a part of the path to success.
While at Monash what type of opportunities did you participate in?
I have taken part in dancing, event organising, MCN and other course-related group activities. I was also able to organise LGBT events for the schools or Arts and Social Sciences and extend my support in organising the Annual Monash Ball and other MUSA events.
When you were choosing a course and a university did you have a clear picture of your future (and if so what was it)? How did that change (or reconfirmed) during your experience at Monash?
Yes, I did. After my Advanced Level Examination in Sri Lanka I knew that I wanted to do something not only for myself but for humanity. I was extremely fortunate to get an internship at the UN in Sri Lanka before I started university at Monash. The exposure I received there solidified the fact that this is where I could focus my efforts, to make even the smallest change within our community.
My main area of study was international relations, economics and communications. These combinations worked very well in providing me an overall knowledge that would help me get into the diplomatic trade / Foreign Service. Since I didn’t have a specific field in mind I needed to learn and develop and skill that would support me in any field that I decided to peruse.
Interacting with lecturers, student and staff also helped me develop my social skills which I believe is very valued in a work environment, regardless of what institution you may work for. Monash University kindled my keenness for knowledge learning and sharing which has helped me immensely.
Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it made a difference to your own life or the life of others around you? Did it consolidate what you have learned from your undergraduate course?
I did not have any work experience outside of Monash and only worked in the MUSA lounge part-time. However being a part of MUSA and being a school representative required me to go out of my comfort zone and meet people from different fields/organisations/schools/companies when it came to event organising and student related activities. Even though it was not directly related to my studies it has helped me to form good relations with my colleagues and supervisors which makes work life stress-free.
What was it about Monash that made you select this university in the first place?
Most of my family and cousins have studied at Monash Australia, but since I was looking for an international relations program that would give me a wholesome learning experience I selected Monash University. I read up more on the course and the subjects it offered, which caught my attention. Fortunately for me most of my lectures have been wonderful mentors who motivated me and at the same time guided me in the right direction.
What do you love most about your student life at Monash?
The exposure that I received while working and studying at Monash is something that has helped me greatly. I have made wonderful friends who I still keep in touch with and have seen and travelled to many places. Right out of high school I moved into a life that was completely new to me. Though I faced many challenges I was moulded by these experiences and have become independent. When I look back at my years at Monash I only recall fond memories and am thankful for the education and aptitude I have gained. University is not only about your books but about all the other experiences you gather along the way.