Four UTS students are representing Australia across the Indo-Pacific region after receiving a prestigious $67,000 scholarship.
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship offers 105 Australian undergraduates the opportunity to study and work in the region for up to 17 months.
In 2017, Svetlana Zarkovic, Alli Devlin, Tiffany Lau and Stephanie Newman are the four UTS recipients of this signature Australian government initiative.
Professor Bill Purcell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (International Advancement), says the program is strengthening UTS's engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.
"We're really excited to see another large and diverse group of UTS students receive this prestigious scholarship" he says. "The New Colombo Plan supports an ongoing flow of Australia's brightest and best throughout Asia-Pacific and we're proud to watch our students make their mark in the region."
Svetlana Zarkovic is spending 12 months in China, undertaking legal studies at Tongji University in Shanghai.
Zarkovic is currently completing a combined Bachelor of Business Bachelor of Laws degree as well as a Diploma in Languages (Mandarin). She is using her time in China to advance her Mandarin language skills and learn more about the Chinese legal and corporate systems.
"China is an exciting place for Australians, especially because of the new trade and investment opportunities under the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement," she says.
"I hope to intern for an international law firm as well as an intellectual property research institute to learn more about international law and how it plays a role in cross-border commercial transactions."
For Alli Devlin, the NCP scholarship is helping her pursue her passion for humanitarian engineering.
The Bachelor of Engineering student is studying at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology whilst undertaking internships at socially-oriented engineering firms.
"Engineering and construction are really important professions in growing Asian economies like Vietnam. Sustainable infrastructure is imperative to manage the impacts of climate change and support the UN's latest goals to eliminate poverty," she says.
"In Vietnam, I'll be doing a part-time internship at the Asia Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation. I'll be in the environment team, looking at things like climate change and natural disaster relief. I'll also be doing language training there."
The NCP Scholarship has facilitated the exchange of knowledge, skills and talent between Australia and its neighbours since its inception in 2014. It plays a key role in the Australian Government's efforts to strengthen the country's domestic and regional economies by equipping undergraduates with work-based experiences in the region.
Tiffany Lau, combined Bachelor of Business Bachelor of Laws student, hopes to bring home valuable insights from the judicial system in Hong Kong.
"There is much to be learnt from Hong Kong as one of the world's leading arbitration centres," she says.
"There has been recent discussion among legal professionals, including members of the Australian judiciary who have advocated Australia to become a leader in this area. I hope that as part of my internship component, I will be able to work on an arbitration matter to gain insight both from a legal and business perspective."
Lau says developing intercultural and language skills will also set her apart from her peers.
"Bilingual skills and cross-cultural capabilities are becoming ever more important in the legal profession, and I hope that by building my Chinese lingual and cultural skills I can make a strong entry into the profession."
Multilingual skills are often cited as attractive graduate attributes across the professions, with Australian employers looking favourably on candidates with Asian language literacy.
Stephanie Newman is using her NCP scholarship to improve her Japanese language skills.
Newman is currently studying the Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Social Inquiry), now known as Social and Political Science, combined with the Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (Japan). She's continuing her Japanese language studies at an intensive language program at Senshu University before commencing study at Yamaguchi University where all classes will be delivered in Japanese.
Newman is also undertaking internships in the fields of policy, communications and media, including a 9-week internship at the Australian Embassy in Tokyo.
"Regardless of where my future takes me, I know that my international experience through NCP will be an asset to any future job, and will provide me with new skills and abilities. For one, I should be pretty good at Japanese by the time I get back!"
In 2018, the Australian government is expected to award 120-150 NCP scholarships.
If you'd like to apply for a 2018 NCP scholarship, please visit this page.
University nominations for the 2018 NCP scholarship round will open on 1 July and close on 31 July 2017 and student applications open on 1 August and close on 31 August 2017.