Last year, seven UTS undergraduate students were awarded a prestigious Australian Government New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship. They recently embarked on the journey of a lifetime and are currently making their mark studying and working in the Asia-Pacific region.
Applications will soon open for the 2019 round and UTS is once again looking to nominate the best and brightest students for the scholarship. Students selected may study one or two sessions of their UTS degree at a university in the Indo-Pacific region and work within their discipline, developing an international network along the way.
For Alli Devlin, NCP Scholar in 2017 and currently undertaking her Bachelor’s degree in Engineering (Civil and Environmental), the scholarship had a strong influence on her career path when it gave her the opportunity to study at Hanoi University of Science and Technology and work on humanitarian projects in Vietnam.
“You’re not just discovering a language and where the supermarkets are in Hanoi – you’re rediscovering what it is to be an engineer,” she said.
“You work on real-life projects with tangible impact. I think as an engineer you have a lot more potential to contribute in a developing country. You get to see its raw value. It challenges you both professionally and personally.”
“You’re going to your host country as a peer or co-worker, not as a tourist,” says Devlin.
NCP candidates are selected based on academic achievement, leadership skills, community engagement, and – importantly – their ability to adapt and thrive in a foreign study and working environment. In turn, they receive formative practical experience within their discipline, endless improvement in soft-skills such as diplomacy, leadership and communication, and a global outlook on their vocation, broadening their horizons for working internationally.
Svetlana Zarkovic is studying a combined Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Laws degree alongside a Diploma in Languages (Mandarin). Last year her NCP Scholarship took her to Tongji University in China, and she interned at global law firm King & Wood Mallesons.
“I dealt with applications of Chinese law and international commercial law. So it was interesting to put the theory I had learned into real practice.”
Throughout the program, both Devlin and Zarkovic met with a host of influential people, many of whom were happy to share their knowledge.
“I got to meet so many interesting people who challenged me to think broadly about myself, my career and my technical abilities,” says Devlin.
For Zarkovic, even the application process provided first-hand insights into her industry.
“Interview panels are made up of industry business leaders with specialist knowledge around that host location. We not only got to meet them, we could also ‘pick their brains’ and learn more.”
“I met Julie Bishop, Peter Cosgrove, and I went to a lot of embassy events,” Devlin adds. “I even got a selfie with Malcolm Turnbull!”
“The NCP Scholarship internship component can be tailored to suit your degree, and might even include a teaching placement, work at an NGO or an artist residency. It’s quite flexible to your degree and study interests,” said Mr Simon Watson, Senior Manager, International Mobility and Services, and the Intuitional Liaison Officer for NCP at UTS.
“The study session spent at a university also contributes to your UTS degree. It’s a life-changing experience for a leading UTS student.”
With up to ten full scholarships of up to A$69,000 available to UTS students again this year, students of all faculties with strong academic performance are strongly encouraged to seize this opportunity.
“Just do it. Just apply,” encourages Devlin. “Think about how your skills can be useful in that specific country; and how Australia can benefit from that as well."
Information sessions for interested students are scheduled in May. Register for an information session via: www.uts.edu.au/ncp.
UTS will shortlist, select and nominate up to 10 of the most suitable student applicants to the New Colombo Plan Secretariat by the end of June 2018. The New Colombo Plan scholars for 2019 will be announced at the awards ceremony later in the year.
Read more about UTS Science students who are taking their skills outside the lab, across oceans and to mangroves in Cambodia's Mekong region as part of the NCP program.