Swinburne students Edward Eng and Tani Hooke were awarded 2024 New Colombo Plan Scholarships at a formal event held at the Australian Parliament House in Canberra.
The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting undergraduates to study and undertake internships across forty locations.
The NCP also includes the Mobility Program, where students can participate in exchange projects and study tours. Swinburne have been awarded $639,100 from the 2024 NCP Mobility Grants, which will support 144 students over eleven projects.
This includes two exchange projects and nine study tours, of which there are:
A new academic journey
Scholarship student Edward is studying a Bachelor of Psychology, heading into his third year of study. Using the scholarship, he is heading to Cambodia in July next year, and beginning study there in September.
“This has been an incredible journey that is just beginning, a fact which was really cemented over the predeparture training trip,” said Edward.
“Coming from a Cambodian background myself, I’m excited to travel back and discover a part of myself. To be Australian is to be diverse and the New Colombo Plan is enabling me to explore that.”
Edward Eng (left) is taking the opportunity to study in Cambodia
Tani is taking her double degree studies of Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science to Japan, where she can reconnect with her Japanese heritage. Majoring in biomedical engineering, she hopes to work with researchers who are working on the bionic eye.
“As a future biomedical engineer, I’m super excited to see how the research and development process for biomedical devices works and potentially being able to contribute something to a device that will change people’s lives.
“I’m also really looking forward to connecting with the culture in Japan. I have Japanese heritage so it will be amazing to be able to learn in depth about how Japanese culture has affected my upbringing,” said Tani.
Tani Hooke (second to the left) and her fellow New Colombo Plan scholars
Taking a chance
Edward was honoured to be a part of the largest cohort of scholars since the New Colombo Plan began in 2013.
“This opportunity could not have been possible without the support of my partner, family, and university who guided and supported me at every stage of the application process,” said Edward.
Tani encourages anyone who has considered applying for the scholarship to take a chance, and apply again if you don’t get it the first time around.
“As someone who didn’t receive the scholarship last year and then tried again this year, I was so glad I’d put in the effort a second time around,” said Tani.
“To any potential scholars who have failed once, please try again.”
The prestigious scholarship is given to around one hundred Australian students each year and is worth up to $75,000.