From earthquake resistant construction in Nepal to transport efficiency in Japan and commercial law in China, more Australian undergraduates are getting the chance to broaden their knowledge in the Indo-Pacific region as 2018 New Colombo Plan scholars.
Last week seven UTS students, among 120 Australian undergraduates, received a New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship of up to $67,000 that will allow them to study, work and live in the Indo-Pacific for up to 17 months.
Iris Lo, Lik Wong Yu, James Fenton, Po-Hao Chen, Hwei-See Kay, Michelle Zhang and Won Hae Shim are UTS's 2018 NCP scholars in a program that Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop says is an integral part of Australia's engagement with the region and shapes the future leaders of Australia.
The New Colombo Plan offers 40 host locations, including for the first time, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia and New Caledonia.
UTS scholars have chosen to study, work and live in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia and Nepal.
Won Hae Shim, undertaking a degree in Construction Management, will study construction at Pokhara University in Nepal, followed by an internship at the country's National Society for Earthquake Technology.
"Learning about the application of construction in developing countries or those affected by disasters or crisis in the Indo-Pacific region would build a solid foundation for me to help other affected countries in the future," Shim said.
She gave the address on behalf of all the departing 120 scholars, noting that she chose Nepal to contribute to the learning and understanding in the construction industry after the 2015 earthquake.
Around 30 per cent of UTS undergraduate students have an international experience in their degree. It's considered a "rite of passage" as students appreciate the value of international experiences. Increasingly students are understanding that the Indo-Pacific region is where the future lies.
UTS Bachelor of Laws student Lik Wong Yu plans to spend his time in Hong Kong to kick-start a career in commercial law.
"I appreciate how a close relationship with Hong Kong is in Australia's long-term strategic interest. My goal as a scholar will be to create people-to-people and institutional relationships between Australia's community legal centres and Hong Kong's Community Legal Information Centre," Yu said.
Yu will spend a semester at City University of Hong Kong, take part in language training in Chinese and undertake an internship and mentorship in the Indo-Pacific region.
Meanwhile, James Fenton will study in Japan at Yokohama National University, followed by a six month internship.
The Bachelor of Science Information Technology Bachelor of Arts International Studies student is interested in the public transport efficiency in Japan.
"I hope to learn about how this efficiency is achieved from an IT perspective so that I can bring this knowledge back to Australia in the future," said Fenton.
Each student has been granted the scholarship after a challenging five month application process at UTS and through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to find and select the best students from across Australia.
This year's NCP recipients attended the presentation ceremony in the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra on Monday 27 November and were congratulated by Minister Bishop.
"Coming from across our nation and a wide range of backgrounds, this diverse group of students shares a common thread: a strong commitment to their communities; academic excellence; and a desire to play a leading role in Australia's ongoing relations with the Indo-Pacific," she said.
Launched in 2014, the New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government through DFAT. By the end of 2018, more than 30,000 students will have been supported under the program, including 434 who have been awarded the prestigious scholarships.
See this page for information on the NCP Scholarship selection process at UTS.