Double degree student, Samantha Wilson, was inspired to apply for a New Colombo Plan Scholarship on the back of an eye-opening experience in China last year.

The 21-year-old from the Gold Coast was part of a global exchange initiative run by the Griffith Asia Institute with Peking University.

With the cultural awakening that came through the Asia Future Fellows Program, Samantha sought to build on this experience. “I wanted to learn more about the tourism and HR industry and how they work in such a diverse region,” she says. “The entire experience really opened my eyes up to the world.”

Samantha is one of six Griffith Honours College students named by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop MP, as 2018 New Colombo Plan scholars.

The full list of Griffith University scholars for 2018 is as follows:

  • Nicholas Mclean, Bachelor of Laws /Diploma of Languages (Mandarin)
  • Conor Gould, Bachelor of Engineering (Software)/Diploma of Languages (Mandarin), also named the New Colombo Plan China Fellow
  • Oliver Thompson, Bachelor of Government and International Relations/ Bachelor of Asian Studies
  • Kimberley Bates, Bachelor of Criminology and Criminal Justice/Bachelor of Psychological Science
  • Samantha Wilson, Bachelor of Business (Human Resources)/Bachelor of International Tourism and Hotel Management
  • Grace Manahan, Bachelor of Laws/Bachelor of Government and International Relations

Samantha (below) will travel to Hong Kong in mid-2018 to study for two semesters at Hong Kong Polytechnic University where she will focus on human resources and international tourism, core components of her double degree studies at Griffith Business School.

She is also planning to undertake an internship with Hong Kong Tourism Board and hopes to set up a mentorship with Carmen Tam, Tourism Australia’s manager in Hong Kong. “It would be amazing to have that kind of experience with someone who is incredibly knowledgeable about the tourism industry in the Indo-Pacific region,” she says.

“The New Colombo Plan scholarship is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to immerse myself in a region that is so unique and upcoming in the tourism industry. It’s going to be of enormous benefit to my future career and the future of Australia’s workforce.”

This exciting experience will follow a successful internship as part of the Volunteer Selection Team at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC). This led to full-time employment within the Workforce functional area, where she now supports Games Shapers on their journey towards the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018).

The New Colombo Plan scholarships are awarded annually by the Australian Government and support high-achieving undergraduate students to undertake further studies and industry internships across the Indo-Pacific region.

Professor Sarah Todd, Vice President (Global), Griffith University congratulated Griffith’s 2018 New Colombo Plan scholars.

“In a world where a global outlook is increasingly valued and sought after by employers, a New Colombo Plan scholarship places an undergraduate student in a strong position as they work towards graduation and look to their career,” she said.

Remarkable endeavours

Professor Todd also highlighted the “remarkable endeavours” of Griffith business student, Courtney Organ, who has been appointed to a key mentoring role for New Colombo Plan scholars going to Japan in 2018.

Courtney was also in Canberra for Monday’s prestigious awards ceremony to formally take up her new position and set about immediately guiding new scholars on their first steps of networking with representatives from government, business and the diplomatic corps.

During the previous week Courtney was in Vietnam as part of a Griffith Enactus working on the ground-breaking School Bag Challenge founded by Griffith graduate Chris Eigeland. In October, her two-month New Colombo Plan internship in south Japan was referenced by Minister Bishop MP in a speech to the Tourism and Transport Forum Leadership Summit.