Welcome back to Spotlight on an AIYA Member! In this regular series, we talk to a different AIYA Member from either Indonesia or Australia to hear their story. Our target this week is former AIYA Web and Video Officer and avid tech supporter Anastasia Pavlovic.

What do you do?

I am currently a Small-Medium Business Account Manager at Facebook in Singapore, helping Australian and New Zealand businesses gain better results from their marketing strategies on the platform. I graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Indonesian Studies and Sociology.

What is your favourite place to visit in Indonesia?

Indonesia has so many ridiculously beautiful places, it is so hard to just pick one! I would have to say that my favourite is a tie between Yogyakarta and the Ijen crater in East Java. Yogyakarta for the rich culture, friendly people and Bakpia; Ijen crater because I’ve never felt so small and intrigued in my life by such a natural landmark.

Most delicious meal?

My all-time favourite meal is sayur asemjagung manis, terong, kacang panjang… it’s such a simple dish but those spices make it taste so good!

What is your favourite Indonesian word?

Matahari. I love the literal translation of this word which illustrates quite an image: Mata = eye, hari = day. The eye of the day!

Fan of any TV shows?

Tetangga Masa Gitu? A show that follows the daily hilarious lives of two couples – one being married for ten years, the other being newly married. Has helped me improve my bahasa gaul!

How did you first become interested in Indonesia?

I’ve been exposed to Indonesia since I was young, given how my mother is Indonesian. It wasn’t until I turned eight when I first went to Indonesia that I actually wanted to become part of this world. When that humidity hit me as I emerged from Soekarno-Hatta Airport, I immediately fell in love with the country.

Although I come from a household with both Serbian and Indonesian languages, I only spoke English at home and ate an interesting fusion of foods. It wasn’t until I was in university that I finally got the chance to properly rekindle my love for Indonesia by learning about the language and culture.

My Indonesian lecturers Bu Novi and Bu Dyah (who are some of the most beautiful, passionate people I’ve ever met!) also made this experience worthwhile.

How did you get involved with AIYA?

After coming back from a short study tour in Batam during my second year, I knew I really wanted to get involved in the Indonesian community. I started to attend a couple of AIYA NSW events, but wanted to get involved even further in the organization. I found a volunteer position open for a Web and Video Officer on the AIYA website, applied and got it! It was great being at the pulse of the organisation, updating the site with information on the various chapters.

Meeting Ada Apa Dengan Cinta? star Nicolas Saputra and Sultan of Yogyakarta Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X are by far the highlights of being part of AIYA.

Any hopes for the bilateral relationship?

Food brings people together. I have a lot of hope that a cool chef will create a cool fusion dish representing the bilateral relationship. I’m thinking a meat pie made of tempe, pavlova made with cendol, or maybe Vegemite and durian on toast!

What do you like most about AIYA?

AIYA provides such a good opportunity for people who love Indonesia to gather together and talk all things Indo! It was inspiring meeting people who were doing incredible things to strengthen the relationship, such as writing books, hosting comedy shows or studying in the other country. It truly shaped my university experience and brought me out of my comfort zone.

Living now in Singapore, I really miss the tight community and all the events! There will always be a soft spot in my heart for AIYA.

Sum up your AIYA member experience in three words.

Exciting, interesting and keren!

Read more AIYA Member Spotlight interviews here!