New Colombo Plan (NCP) 2022 Scholar, Benjamin Sofo, has always been adventurous when it comes to exploring opportunities. As someone who enjoys being outdoors, travelling, and using new technology, he is pursuing a career which brings all these things together.
A geospatial science student at the University of South Australia, Benjamin is currently on his NCP program in Thailand. He chose Thailand as there are numerous opportunities to gain spatial industry experience from world class organisations. Thailand is a spatial hub in the region with key organisations like the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre based in Bangkok. He was also drawn to Thailand’s ecological diversity.
As part of his NCP program, Benjamin is studying at the Mahidol University International College and will be undertaking several internships.
“The NCP internship component allows me the freedom to travel abroad and gain spatial industry experience from world class organisations. This experience will elevate my career prospects and equip me with industry connections.”
While the NCP offers Scholars an extraordinary chance to make meaningful connections and gain experience in the Indo-Pacific, it also provides them with unique cultural experiences.
“My first impression of Thailand was that it is busy, hot and wet! The largest cultural adjustment was understanding the people. Thai people initially come across as quiet, shy, and reserved but once you connect a little deeper, they open up and become quite extraverted.”
Appealing to Benjamin’s sense of adventure, Thailand’s beaches, mountains, and jungles are calling out for Benjamin to explore.
“So far my favourite experiences are the student life at Mahidol University International College and kayaking amongst the limestone formations in Ao Phang Nga National Park.”
“I also have an interest in Muay Thai. So continuing my Muay Thai training in the country where it was invented was an exciting prospect.”
“My tip for Scholars who are starting out on their journey is to join or create an NCP group chat for the country you are in. For me, reaching out to other NCP Scholars has been the best way to troubleshoot problems. Also get involved with clubs and be social. This is how I’ve had the most authentic, meaningful experiences.”