New Colombo Plan Scholarship opportunities

May 16 / 182

Scott Gigante and fellow racer at the finish line in China
Scott Gigante and fellow racer at the finish line in China

A few days still remain for interested applicants to apply for 2017 New Colombo Plan scholarships and grants, which support students to study, live and work in partner countries in the Asia-Pacific.

Organised by the federal government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarships Program is a prestigious scheme supporting around 100 Australian students to study overseas each year. 

Associate Director of Global Mobility at the University Dr Davina Potts says the NCP scholarships, now in their fourth year, complement the original Colombo Scholars program, established in 1950. 

“The original program was intended to build human capacity and long-lasting relationships in co-operative economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region,” she says. “Thousands of students came to Australia to study, many of whom are now prominent leaders in government and industry. In many ways the initial Colombo Plan marked the start of internationalisation of education in Australia.”

The scholarship program provides opportunities for a select number of undergraduates with a grade-point average of 70 per cent or above to spend a semester or year of study in Asia or the Pacific, and complete either an internship or mentorship.

Dr Potts says the program is intended to support long-term personal and professional connections among its alumni, who are supported after their return with networking events and professional development opportunities.

“These scholarships aren’t just a semester studying away, they are the starting point for our students to build long term relationships and international experience,” Dr Potts says.

“In its most recent Growing Esteem strategy the University articulated a goal of increasing the numbers of under-graduate students who include an international experience as part of their degree, to help them widen perspectives and build networks. The NCP will be an important part of achieving that."

Scott Gigante is a recent NCP alumni who studied at Fudan University and completed a research project with VMWare in Shanghai in 2015.

“In addition to receiving the New Colombo Plan Scholarship I was supported by the Australian Consulate-General in Shanghai, who introduced me to the Australia-China Youth Association, and I am now volunteering as National Portfolio Manager,” Scott says. “Through the New Colombo Plan, I have made lifelong connections with engaged young people involved in the Australia-China space, and I expect these people-to-people links will continue to contribute to my career development in the future. 

“On top of that, while in China I joined a cycling team, which allowed me to travel around the country for free, riding my bike through tiny Chinese villages and at one point winning a 400km road race. 

“Another highlight was a week I spent living in a village of 10,000 people named Jili, located in the northeast of Yunnan province, where I lived with a friend's family for the duration of Golden Week, a seven-day national holiday. I had the opportunity to see the real China and travelled on China's train network with the 200 million others travelling the same week. It was truly a unique and incredible experience.”

Applications are being accepted now for study in Semesters one or two of 2017 to one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Kiribati, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Nauru, Nepal, Niue, Pakistan, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu or Vietnam. 

Eligible applicants will be Australian citizens aged between 18 and 28 years of age (on 1 January 2017), have completed at least 75 credit points of their main degrees, and have at least 37.5 points (for a semester) left in their Bachelor or Bachelor Honours Degree (in order to receive credit from study overseas). 

More information is available at the University’s Global Mobility website  and at DFAT's information page.

Please direct any enquiries to Melbourne Global Mobility Officer Belinda Price: 61 3 9035 6114 /

Story by Katherine Smith.

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