Five students from the University of Canberra are looking forward to life-changing global adventures in 2019, after receiving prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) 2019 scholarships with a combined funding amount of up to $300,000.
Presented at an awards ceremony at Parliament House, the scholarships will support the five students in combining international study experiences with global internship opportunities.
In addition to being a scholarship recipient, travel-loving Bachelor of Arts student Taylor Meers was also named Australia’s top scholar for Thailand at the ceremony.
She’ll be going to the University of Bangkok, where she’ll deepen her knowledge of global studies and international tourism; then, it’s on to Tahiti in French Polynesia for language study and an internship in the tourism industry.
Ms Meers decided to carve out a career in the tourism after a high school mission trip to East Timor.
“It was amazing to see how much the tourism industry can help a place to emerge from tragedy,” she said. “It was really inspiring.”
“This will be an invaluable opportunity, adding a dimension to my study experience I wouldn’t otherwise be able to recreate,” Ms Meers added. “This is experience you can’t get out of any textbook.”
It’s a double celebration for brothers Jai Cornish-Martin and Malachi Murljacic, who both attained the scholarships.
The two Kunja men, whose mob is from South East Queensland, were chosen as scholarship recipients out of only six Indigenous applicants from across the nation.
“This is a chance to broaden and deepen my cultural knowledge and intercultural communication skills, combined with an academic approach,” said Mr Cornish-Martin, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science in Psychology & Bachelor of Exercise Physiology & Rehabilitation.
“I’m very thankful to my mentors, like my mother and Associate Professor Dr Scott Heyes from the Faculty of Arts & Design,” he said. “Having faith in yourself, and allowing others to have faith in you, is a real key to success.”
Mr Cornish-Martin will head to the Hong Kong Baptist University, where he intends to immerse himself in local culture.
“In Hong Kong, there is both huge economic growth and strong ties to culture – I want to explore the intersectionality of that, and how it might be used to help my own culture,” he said. “I feel it’s important to draw the links between cultural knowledge and connection, workplace autonomy, and economic and personal growth.”
Mr Cornish-Martin will also pursue an internship with the Hong Kong Rugby Union.
Bachelor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation student Mr Murljacic is currently on an exchange program at Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada. He will be heading to the University of Bangkok for his NCP scholarship experience, with planned internships in Thailand and China.
Bachelor of Primary Education (Creative Arts) student Timothy Walshe will be completing an arts internship with the Oceania Dance Theatre at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji, then go on to the Education University of Hong Kong.
Mr Walshe, who has been dancing since he was nine, counts ballet, jazz and tap in his repertoire, and teaches urban dance at the Tuggeranong Art Centre.
“My time at the Oceania Dance Theatre will give me a chance to explore a cultural side of dance that I haven’t experienced before,” he said. Mr Walshe will also undertake a mentorship with the dance theatre’s Artistic Director.
Bachelor of Journalism student Megan Hobson has decided on the University of Hong Kong as her destination, and is planning to intern with a newspaper in the territory, to prepare her for a future as a foreign correspondent.
Ms Hobson’s main aim during her NCP program is to gain an understanding of politics and the press in China and Hong Kong, and to learn both Mandarin and Cantonese.
“Journalism plays a crucial role in shaping people’s views on different cultures. I hope that the insight I gain can be applied to my future work as a journalist, and that I can play a role in building media connections in the region,” Ms Hobson said.
“I think the experience will prove crucial to networking, developing adaptability and uncovering complex issues of history and culture, and give me a head start in an incredibly competitive industry,” she said.
“I am really proud of all five scholarship recipients,” said Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Deep Saini. “Each has demonstrated immense commitment in their respective fields, and the NCP scholarships will afford them the opportunity for enriching, life-changing international and intercultural experiences.”
The New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in Indo-Pacific locations. In 2019, the program will support 125 scholars from across Australia, as they head out to 24 locations.