2020 New Colombo Plan Scholar - Felicia Adikea
Felicia Adikea is a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Anthropology student who will begin studying at the National University of Singapore in Semester 2 2020. As a recipient of a 2020 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Felicia has been funded for her exchange in Singapore, as well as an additional internship experience.
Felicia comes from a diverse background, which has shaped her own field of study. With a Tanzanian mother and a Nigerian father, Felicia moved to Australia from Tanzania when she was seven years old. She is also the Vice Chairperson of the Tanzanian community in South Australia (Tanzanian Community Association of South Australia), organising events and celebrations for local Tanzanians.
“Who I am and who I’ve become has very much been formed in Australia. This amalgamation and clash of cultures has really become what’s defined me and I’m very passionate about my background and my family, especially on my mum’s side - she’s always raised me with a sense of pride in where I’m from and a sense of pride in also belonging here in Australia.”
On choosing Singapore as a destination for her NCP experience, Felicia says:
“I’ve known since about second year that I wanted to go into postgraduate studies, and I knew that I would probably be overseas-based doing anthropology fieldwork, so I’ve been looking internationally for universities that I could go to or be based at as a secondary or primary location. And Singapore had always been up there for anthropology – they have a fantastic social sciences department. So when this opportunity came up with the New Colombo Plan, I knew immediately that Singapore was perfect.”
Felicia’s field of study is in ‘third-culture kids’, which she explains as being:
“A child or young adult who spent most of their developmental years outside of the culture of their parents. So typically, it’s children of diplomats or cross-cultural children, like myself, both my parents are from countries that I did not actually grow up in, but they still shape who you are, so you’re still creating a third culture.
We don’t realise how much this stuff informs our borders and citizenship. If you grew up in the UK but you’re Syrian by background, most likely you’ll identify as being from the UK and you’ll stay there and raise your children, so how is that going to be affecting so many different aspects of the world as more and more of us lead those kinds of lives?”
“I’ve always been drawn to living in multi-ethnic and multicultural places. For me, it’s a chance to get as close as I can to field work, because there’s so many cultures [in Singapore]. There are so many third-culture kids in Singapore. Studying there is going to let me immerse myself in fully with the subject that I’m studying. I also think Singapore is really good socially. With good nightlife and food markets, you can have a very dynamic lifestyle, because there are so many different things for everyone, and so many ways to engage with the community.”
One of the aspects of her experience that Felicia is looking forward to is getting to know the other New Colombo Plan Scholars who will be studying in Singapore:
“We all met each other late November, and I love everyone who’s going. To learn from them and to see how they’re doing things there as well, I think it’s very important. I’m already learning so much from them. I’ve had book suggestions, saying ‘this is what I’m reading, it could really help you’, etc.”
Felicia is also excited for the opportunities that she will encounter from being an NCP Scholar:
“It’s very, very rare that an undergraduate student actually gets to make connections with establishments or institutions overseas, you usually go through an advisor or senior academics. I actually get to go there and foster my relationships with anthropologists and social scientists - it’s a massive opportunity that will help me to do more of my research in the Indo-Pacific.
With the internships, they’ll give me the opportunity to actually get hands-on experience with different organisations. I’ve always sort of wanted to get into consultancy, working with larger organisations and think-tanks, so to be able to do some intern work there will give me an idea of what it’s like to work there.”
In ten years, Felicia hopes to be a published anthropologist, armed with a PhD as she diversifies her research. Keep up with her NCP journey via our Instagram.