International career beckons New Colombo Plan scholar

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with Nicholas Mclean, 2018 New Colombo Plan scholar.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop with Nicholas Mclean, 2018 New Colombo Plan scholar.

New Colombo Plan scholar Nicholas McLean has a dream to forge a career as a dispute resolutions specialist in the Asia Pacific region.

“Even as a boy, I was fascinated by how societies collapse, evolve and function — ultimately this steered me in the direction of law” he says.

“I’ve always viewed law as the mechanism which regulates and upholds a society. Without it, we’d be at the mercy of anarchy. I think my legal studies have made me more aware of how our way of life is maintained, as well as honing my analytical skills”.

“Ideally, I’d like to combine comparative political analysis with legal knowledge of dispute resolution practices to become a government relations specialist in the Asia-Pacific Region”.

Already making a mark in the international arena, Nicholas is a World Economic Forum Global Shaper, a former Hansard scholar and more recently a Griffith Asia Future Fellow. This last experience, he says, has proved particularly beneficial to his future career ambitions.

“The Fellows program allowed me to expand my knowledge of Chinese culture, which I think is invaluable given China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is going to change the face of the globe” he says.

He is also studying Mandarin through a Diploma of Languages offered at Griffith University.

“Being able to speak and understand the language will be invaluable to both my personal and professional growth.”

As part of his NCP program, Nicholas will travel to Shenzhen where he will study cross- cultural and border negotiations at the Peking University School of Transnational Law. Then he plans to undertake internships across the Asia-Pacific in the legal and energy resource sectors.

Nicholas, who initially started his law degree at Bond University, says making the move to Griffith has been one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“As a Griffith Honours College student there are a wealth of opportunities for academic, leadership and extracurricular development. Further, the sense of community at Griffith is fantastic. I applied for the NCP in part because of the encouragement I received from my peers – this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“I was a little incredulous when I found out I’d been selected’’ he confesses.

“I’m the first in my family to go to university, so they are immensely proud but explaining to my mother that I would be away for up to 18 months was a little difficult.”

Nicholas is one of six Griffith students who have been awarded 2018 New Colombo Plan Scholarships.