Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, discussed why Thailand is more than just a holiday destination but rather a perfect international study opportunity, in his recent visit to Swinburne University of Technology.
Ambassador Wise said Thailand has a strong track record in dealing with international students and delivers high academic standards, an uncomplicated visa process and competitive tuition costs.
“I’m very confident that Australian students studying in Thailand will have a marvellous experience.
“What Australian students will gain is confidence and that’s what we need. We don’t have enough people who have lived in the region for extended periods and therefore are confident in dealing with Asia,” Ambassador Wise said.
Swinburne’s Vice-President (International and Future Students), Jeffrey Smart, said Swinburne is in the process of forging new relationships with Thai universities which will give students the chance to study abroad in Thailand.
“We welcome many Thai students each year who come to Australia to study a wide range of programs. But we also want to create opportunities for all Swinburne students to study abroad, and we are building study tours, exchange programs and other opportunities that will give our students access to Thailand's excellent education sector,” Mr Smart said.
The Federal Government backs the importance of Australian students studying in Asia through the development of the New Colombo Plan (NCP), launched by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in December 2013.
The New Colombo Plan is designed to deepen Australia’s connections with the Indo-Pacific region and makes available $100 million over five years for universities to provide subsidies to Australian undergraduate students to participate in mobility programs.
Launched this year as a pilot program in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore, the full NCP will be implemented in 2015, with study opportunities offered across the broader Indo-Pacific region.
Ambassador Wise said Thailand’s universities are already hosting over 20,000 foreign students, with close to 2000 from United States and Europe.
“Thailand is our neighbourhood; we should be having students studying in our neighbourhood. That’s the beauty of the New Colombo Plan – it caters for this.”
The New Colombo Plan will also create a springboard for research collaborations between Australia and Thailand.
“To put in place outward mobility arrangements, Australian universities need to build a relationship with a Thai university. This engagement has the ability to grow deep links between the universities, and I think in some cases we will see strong research collaborations come from this,” Ambassador Wise said.