02 July 2014

Bianca’s big little world

Three students at a table selling products

“Being in a new place and handling insecurities can be challenging, but keep exploring. Get involved in whatever way you are capable of.”

Maria Bianca Vega savours every minute of her life in the world’s most liveable city – reading, dancing, making bracelets and exchanging cultures with her Australian boyfriend. However, those out of sight are definitely not out of her mind.

‘Culture’ is a word close to Bianca’s heart. Growing up in a multicultural extended family, she wanted to recreate the same positive environment when she left the comforts of home in Indonesia. “I love the mixture of Asian and European influence in Melbourne. It creates a unique living environment where I can learn from others of different backgrounds,” she says.

Bianca does not shy away from going beyond her comfort zone. “The best aspect of being an international student is the opportunity to open yourself. The more you explore, the more you become self-aware. I chose RMIT precisely because of its emphasis on self-discovery,” says Bianca, who enjoys exploring Melbourne in her spare time.

“I love studying International Studies at RMIT. The program fits really well with my growing interest in humanities and environmental issues. My favourite component was the international internship, which gave me a taste of work and life with like-minded people in Melbourne.”

“Being in a new place and handling insecurities can be challenging, but keep exploring. Get involved in whatever way you are capable of. Don’t get too comfortable,” she says as she reflects on her decision to join a salsa dance group to start her Melbournian life.

Bianca is actively involved in a Philippines-based non-governmental organisation that took root in Indonesia during her middle school years. “At that time, I organised fundraising events and visited housing sites for marginalised people. Sometimes I also performed at the events.”

When Bianca arrived in Melbourne, she touched base with the local team. “It really motivates me to see people from the luxury of the developed world trying to create change for those who are not as privileged. It is a lot of fun when you can combine what you know and what you love into something that serves a higher purpose for the community,” she says.

As a young entrepreneur, Bianca has also established a social enterprise. Aptly named The Social Enterprise Shop, she believes this is her first step toward an ideal career. “I want to continue raising awareness on environmental and human rights issues in South East Asia and beyond. I want corporations to adopt a more socially-conscious culture.”

Bianca and her enterprise partners source products from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. The proceeds go back to community environmental projects in those countries. “This is what we believe in – ending poverty sustainably,” she says.

Discover how you can make the most of your time at RMIT at Get involved.

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