Five undergraduates from The University of Western Australia are set to pursue their study dreams overseas after being named as 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholars.
UWA’s Ethan Dowley, Hongye (Henry) Lan, Nicholas Basan, Peter Matthews and Shanae Sung were named as recipients of the prestigious scholarships at a special virtual awards ceremony by Foreign Minister Marise Payne.
The New Colombo Plan is an Australian Government initiative to improve knowledge by providing young Australians with scholarships to study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region.
For UWA Bachelor of Commerce student Peter Matthews there’s the extra honour of being selected as the New Colombo Plan Fellow for Bhutan. Fellows are the highest-ranking applicant for their chosen countries.
Inspired by time spent working as an English teacher in Nepal in 2017, the 22-year-old from Perth plans to attend the Royal University of Bhutan where he’ll study the quantitative efficiency of the country’s hydroelectricity industry before completing an internship there.
Image: The 2022 UWA New Colombo Plan Scholars, from left to right: Hongye (Henry) Lan, Nicholas Basan, Ethan Dowley, Shanae Sung and Peter Matthews.
“The chance to represent the value and uniquity of Australian culture with the people of Bhutan is one that I’ll feel privileged to take part in. I’m passionate about trade within the Indian sub-continent and having the study destination lens expanded to include the Indo-Pacific is fantastic,” Mr Matthews said.
Ethan Dowley from Lathlain, who is studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) majoring in Physics and Mathematics, is another of the high-ranking scholars selected for the 2022 program and will complete his study in Japan at the University of Nagoya.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity afforded me by the New Colombo Plan. I’ve visited Japan twice before and look forward to a longer stay,” Mr Dowley said. “My main interest is in astrophysics, and I hope that connections I make on this exchange will help me in my future career.”
Ellenbrook resident and Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) student Shanae Sung says she hopes to work on Japanese skincare research during her internship in Japan.
“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to study chemistry and Japanese at Waseda University and I’m also excited to experience daily life in Japan over the 18 months I hope to be there,” Ms Sung said.
Nicholas Basan, who is studying a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in Economics and Finance and a Diploma in Indonesian language, is hoping to work in the field of modern slavery while in Indonesia, gaining experience working in a local NGO and the Australian embassy if possible.
“I feel honoured to have the opportunity to head to Indonesia next year, after spending six months there in 2019 fostered a passion for the country. The scholarship is a great way to meet new people and really dive into my topic of modern slavery,” the East Fremantle resident said.
Bull Creek resident Hongye (Henry) Lan, who is studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) majoring in medical science and finance and a Diploma in Japanese language, will study developmental economics in Singapore.
“My work at Venture, UWA’s innovation centre, sparked my interest in innovation and the start-up ecosystem. Given Singapore’s prowess in this space, it will be invaluable to gain practical experience and be able to bring those ideas back to Australia,” Mr Lan said.
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma said the University was very proud of the scholars who would forge important links with partner institutions in the Indo-Pacific, by taking part in an opportunity that would help shape them as future leaders.
“I am delighted that the five UWA students have been awarded the prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarships this year,” Professor Chakma said.
“These students have already worked exceptionally hard to make their mark. They now have the opportunity to be advocates for UWA and Australia, while learning another language and soaking up all that a different culture has to offer.”
More information about the New Colombo Plan Scholarship program is available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.