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Meet Bond’s 2021 New Colombo Plan scholars

New Columbo Scholarship recipient standing against Arch brickwork for a photo

Two Bondies have been awarded a prestigious Australian government-funded scholarship, setting them up for invaluable international experiences in the new year.

The New Colombo Plan Scholarship is an Australian Government initiative. It provides highly competitive scholarships for students to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region. The scholarships, worth over $70,000 each, are awarded to a diverse range of undergraduate students in Australia.

Meet Bond’s 2021 scholars.

Bachelor of International Relations
Destination: Yonsei University, South Korea

Why did you apply for the scholarship?

I initially heard about the scholarship when my lecturer brought it up in my Intro to International Relations class back in the first semester of 2020. It immediately sparked my interest due to the amazing opportunity that it presented. Having the ability to travel to another country, study, complete an internship and learn a new language is a once in a lifetime opportunity, where I knew that if I didn’t try and go for it, I would definitely regret it. Asia also has such a significant influence both on a global scale and in Australia, where our country continues to gain insight from the region in strategic, political, cultural and economic aspects. I knew that the scholarship would provide me with invaluable knowledge and experiences that I could bring back to Australia to help advance Australia’s own development.

Why South Korea?

I have always been a person who loves to learn ways to do things better, which ties into my interest of sustainable development. I chose South Korea specifically due to its history of development. South Korea has transformed itself into an economic giant with a high-functioning liberal democracy. The scholarship will give me the opportunity to understand their culture and how they have been able to progress into the prosperous country it is today. South Korea is actively working towards reaching the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where despite having approximately 27 million more people compared to Australia, South Korea emits 4.6 tonnes per capita of carbon dioxide less than Australia.  Australia can learn greatly from the South Korea’s model to reduce our own carbon dioxide emissions and improve socio-economic conditions among various other things.

What does next year look like for you?

After completing the first two semesters of 2020 at Bond, I am going to study at Yonsei University, complete an internship at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Seoul Policy Centre and undertake language training at the Best Friend Korean Language School. Yonsei University is located in Seoul and is regarded as one of South Korea’s oldest and most prestigious universities. They offer a world-class tertiary education which includes multiple subjects taught in English, where I will be studying Political Science.

I will undertake my internship at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Seoul Policy Centre, which is located half an hour away from Yonsei University.  The UNDP focuses on helping governments to achieve the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), where its Seoul Policy Centre specifically looks at developing South Korea’s partnerships with developing countries through the UNDP network.  Interning at this Centre will provide the perfect opportunity to experience how a global organisation operates while also gaining invaluable first-hand knowledge on how a country manages its international partnerships and goals. I will also undertake Korean language training at the Best Friend Korean Language School in Seoul for up to 10 hours per week during part of my time in South Korea.

What’s your advice for Bondies thinking about applying for the scholarship?

I would say just go for it! When I first applied, I thought I had next to no chance seeing as I had only just started my degree, but I pushed myself and it paid off in the end.  It doesn’t matter which semester you are in, everyone that applies has the same helpful resources available to them through Bond. I would also recommend doing your research. Find a destination that suits your interests and plan your program based on what you want to achieve and get out of the program. This will enrich your application and your enthusiasm will show through.  Also try and be as authentic as possible. Use personal experiences in your application and relate it back to how these experiences make you the best candidate for the scholarship. The application process is long, but its 100 percent worth it in the end and you will be supported the entire way as well, so don’t let that deter you!

Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of International Relations
Destination: University of the South Pacific, Vanuatu

What was the scholarship process like?

The process started early in second semester in 2020, when I applied internally within the University to be nominated to apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. From there, we had to complete a written application and then be shortlisted for an interview. This process took four to five months and then there was a significant waiting period until all shortlisted applicants were notified individually of whether or not they had been successful. Hannah from the Exchange Office was extremely helpful through the entire application process, as well as Moira from the Career Development Centre who helped applicants with mock interviews.

Why Vanuatu?

I have visited Vanuatu in the past and I loved the natural beauty, the culture and history of the islands. I am also a French speaker and relish any opportunity to practice my skills in a Francophone country.

In addition, there is a legal research area that I am interested in which looks at countries which have both a common law system and a customary law system. While I am at the University of South Pacific School of Law in Vanuatu, I hope to explore this further. I also look forward to exploring options for an internship in a secondary location that has a similar dual legal system, like India.

What does next year look like for you?

Depending on travel restrictions, the plan is to travel to Vanuatu in June/July next year and complete a Study Abroad semester at the University of South Pacific School of Law. I will be undertaking three law elective subjects, namely Current Developments in Pacific Law, Public International Law and Legal Clinic. The third subject involves practical legal work in the Community Law Information Centre operated by volunteers from the University. I look forward to helping the team there to translate the law for members of the community and empower those who cannot afford private legal advice or representation.

Simultaneously, I will be undertaking a mentorship under Dr Eric Colvin who taught in the Faculty of Law at Bond from 1989-2011 and then was Head of the USP School of Law from 2011-2019. The mentorship came about because of a happy accident. When I was doing my readings for Criminal Law, I noticed that one of the authors, Dr Eric Colvin, had taught at both Bond University and the University of South Pacific School of Law. I reached out to Dr Colvin over email and introduced myself and that I was hoping to go to Vanuatu if I was successful with the Scholarship.

Following my time in Vanuatu, I hope to travel to another location which will further provide me with knowledge and experience that I can use in my studies and my future career. Currently, I am looking at internship and language training opportunities in India, including in the Indian Supreme Court of Justice in New Delhi and at the Law and Policy Research Centre in Bangalore. I look forward to the coming 12-18 months and I am extremely excited to capitalise on these fantastic opportunities.

What are your goals for the scholarship?

I aim to use the knowledge and experience that I acquire through my overseas study, mentorship and any internships or language training I complete to better inform my knowledge of the countries that I visit and the unique challenges that they face. In addition, I hope to use the connections that I will form both with fellow NCP Scholars, alumni and those I meet while overseas to better establish academic, economic and cultural exchange between Australia and other countries in the Indo-Pacific.

New Colombo Plan Scholarship

See Bond’s past scholars and learn more about the New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

Read more

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