Meeting with Queensland undergraduates preparing to embark on New Colombo Plan programs in Indonesia and Japan today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Brett Mason, emphasised the role the students will play in building closer relationships with Australia’s neighbours.
“The New Colombo Plan will not only expand education and employment opportunities for Australian students across the Indo-Pacific through unique in-country experiences but will also help to build stronger people-to-people and institutional linkages across the region,” Senator Mason said.
Senator Mason met with Science and Engineering, Creative Industries and Business students from the Queensland University of Technology, who will undertake short-term study programs in Indonesia. He also met with Architecture, Film and Language students from Griffith University, who are preparing for practicum, study and internship programs in Japan.
These undergraduates are part of a group of more than 700 Australian students who will participate in New Colombo Plan programs in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan as part of the 2014 pilot phase.
Providing $100 million in new funding over five years, the New Colombo plan will see Australian undergraduate students pursue semester‑based and short-term study, teaching practicums, research, clinical placements, internships and mentorships across a range of disciplines in the Indo-Pacific region.
Over 300 student experiences have already been supported under the first round of New Colombo Plan mobility funding. A second round of mobility funding will be announced shortly, followed by the award of around 40 prestigious scholarships in June.
The New Colombo Plan will be rolled out more broadly across the Indo-Pacific region in 2015.