Four UWS students will soon be heading to Asia in pursuit of study and internships in their field. Last month, Candice Skelton, Jasmin Hammond, Patrick Gan and Timothy Mann each received a prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship.
On Wednesday 25 June, these students joined 36 other NCP Scholarship recipients at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of a pre-departure briefing program. Here, they heard from former ambassadors of the host countries they will be travelling to, and also met Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, and Governor-General Peter Cosgrove. "This made me really appreciate how prestigious these awards are and what a great achievement it was for me to be chosen as an NCP scholar," says Bachelor of Natural Science student Jasmin, who will be heading to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in September.
"Being awarded this scholarship is a huge achievement for me, as an undergraduate student and as an Aboriginal woman," she says. "I hope that by being awarded this scholarship for my dedication to receiving high academic results at university, I will inspire young Aboriginal children to follow in my footsteps."
Timothy, who is studying his Bachelor of Science (Advanced Science) at UWS, is trying to learn as much Japanese as he can before flying out to study at the University of Tsukuba in September. He will be in Japan for nine months, spending a month in Asian language training, a semester at university and completing a two-month internship at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute.
"As I'm pursuing a career in research science, this scholarship is an opportunity to build much-needed international contacts in my field for future collaboration," says Timothy. "Studying at the University of Tsukuba and Internship at RIKEN will complement my studies at UWS with practical skills and help guide me to the field I want to research. On a more personal note, it's an opportunity to make many new friends and get a much greater appreciation of a foreign culture."
Candice, who is studying her Bachelor of Natural Science at UWS, was inspired by the stories of other scholars she met at the Minister's event on 25 June. "Hearing about the achievements definitely drives my aspirations for the future," she says. "I feel extremely privileged to have been selected to be part of the first cohort of NCP scholars, not only by our government but by UWS. Without this scholarship I may have never had the challenging, yet thrilling, opportunity to live, study and work overseas." Candice will be heading to the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she has been accepted into the International Asian Studies Programme.
Patrick Gan, Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Advanced Business Leadership)/Bachelor of Laws student, is excited about being an ambassador for both UWS and Australia when he travels to Japan to study at Meiji University. "These are two things I am incredibly passionate about," says Patrick. "It's an exciting time to be in this age demographic in the context of the dynamic Asia-Pacific. It means that hopefully in the future I'll be able to play a key role in fostering the institutional relationships between Australia and Japan, and hopefully in the Western Sydney region as well."
The $100 million Commonwealth Government New Colombo Plan aims to increase the knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia and build people-to-people and institutional relationships through study and internships undertaken by Australian undergraduate students in the region.