Bright futures: new Colombo Plan scholars set for Indo-Pacific adventures

New Colombo Plan scholarships will take six UNSW students to China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan in 2019.

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"Amazing oportunities" await for, from left, Laura Wratten, Sean Yeoh, Samuel Jackson, Adam Hegedus and Nancy Cai.

Six outstanding UNSW students were among the 125 awarded a prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship to live, study, learn a language and gain work experience in the Indo-Pacific region in 2019.

Nancy Cai, Adam Hegedus, Samuel Jackson, Michael Liang, Laura Wratten and Sean Yeoh will study at a range of leading universities in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Taiwan in 2019.

Laura Wratten and Sean Yeoh were also selected as NCP Fellows for China and Japan.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, formally announced this year’s recipients at a ceremony in Canberra this week.

Michael Liang will spend the first six months studying at Fudan University in Shanghai before undertaking an internship at a Chinese technology startup.

“I'm in awe having been chosen for this award and part of me doesn't really believe it. I'm excited for the amazing opportunities that it opens up for 2019 and am restless to get to know the other incredible scholars better as each are so incredible and unique in their own field of study,” said Michael.

“I'm most looking forward to being completely outside of my comfort zone and experiencing a real culture shock. I'm craving the adventure that NCP is now enabling.”

Now in its fifth year, the NCP Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in participating Indo-Pacific locations. NCP scholars gain valuable new skills and understanding that they will bring to their future workplaces, supporting Australia’s future competitiveness and economic growth.

The scholarships include language training tuition, a travel allowance, an establishment allowance, a monthly stipend, health and travel insurance and a dedicated case manager.

UNSW Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) Laurie Pearcey congratulated the successful UNSW students.

“UNSW has worked closely with the New Colombo Plan scholarship program since it launched in 2014. We have seen many of our students travel, work and study in a variety of new cultures and countries in the Pacific region to become real global citizens.

“The benefits these scholarships provide are unparalleled. Not only do they benefit students’ careers, they provide invaluable experience, new leadership skills and help broaden our young people’s minds. This life-changing moment will create memories forever. I wish our new cohort of scholars the very best of luck.”

This year, undergraduates will study in 24 locations in the Indo-Pacific region, including the first scholars heading to Samoa, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia.