Finding solutions to global health issues and improving healthcare systems in the Indo-Pacific will concentrate the attentions of Biomedical Science studentAbigailJoseph during her far-reaching scholarship experience, which got lift-off while she was in China. Abigail was in a Mandarin class at Peking University in Beijing, as part of the Asia Future Fellows Program, when the New Colombo Plan email she’d been hoping for dropped into her inbox.

“It was definitely hard to contain my excitement and wait until I returned to our hotel a few hours later to inform my parents that my application had been successful,” she said.

Abigail is driven by a passion to foster healthcare system innovations and promote equal access to high quality and affordable healthcare in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Through the program, I will study two semesters at the National University of Singapore, where I’ll build upon my knowledge from world leaders in global health. I also plan to undertake a community health internship in India and work with a global health policy research institute in Japan to gain further insight into barriers to effective delivery of health services within the Indo-Pacific.”

Abigail plans to study a Doctor of Medicine when she completes her Bachelor of Biomedical Science degree and anticipates “strong network and foundation for my future career ambitions” from her experiences studying, living and interning in Singapore, Japan and India.

An interest in infrastructure and regional development will underpin the scholarship pursuits of double degree student James Fairley who is bound for Vietnam. He will take subjects in trade and investment at the University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, as he explores issues around foreign infrastructure investment in developing countries to alleviate poverty.

“The chance to live and study in Vietnam, particularly at the turning point of key economic liberalisation and strengthened investment, will allow me to gain unparalleled perspective of the country’s economic development,” he said.

The scholarship is ideally timed for James who aims to take advantage of the tightening of ties between Australia and Vietnam, as demonstrated through the signing of the Strategic Agreement and more recently the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) that comes into force in December. James will be active within international trade and diplomatic organisations, supporting economic development in-country.

“Personally, I believe the scholarship will allow me to develop my cross-cultural adaptability and understanding of the Vietnamese people. I believe people shape the nature of institutions, whether they are economic, political or social in nature, so gaining such understanding for an extended period will certainly assist me in my future engagement with Vietnam.”

James previously took part in a student exchange to France where he completed studies at Sciences Po and attended Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, where his interest in regional development was nurtured by a ‘Politics of the Developing World’ course.

Zac Look, who is majoring in politics and public policy, will travel to Indonesia. A student with a pedigree for international experience, he has previously participated in a Student Exchange to France, attended the Asia-Pacific Cities Summit in South Korea and visited China as a Griffith Asia Future Fellow. Earlier in 2018, Zac also made an impression among congress delegates in Washington DC when he completed a five-month Uni-Capitol Washington Internship Program.

“The New Colombo Plan scholarship will allow me to strive forward with greater confidence in pursuit of my academic and professional goals,” Zac said. “It will financially facilitate 12-months of immersion in Indonesian culture, language and society. This will enhance the academic skills I’ve gained at Griffith University through opportunities for on-ground discovery and inquiry.”

Zac has previously applied for a New Colombo Plan scholarship and believes his determination to go through the application process a second time demonstrated his passion and drive to succeed in this area. “These qualities were recognised during the process which also endorses my ability for growth and development. The scholarship also offers encouragement by confirming that I am indeed on the right path towards my goals. I expect that my time at Griffith University and as a New Colombo Plan scholar will allow me to aim higher and reach further than I previously thought possible.”

As she considered embarking on her forthcoming trip to Hong Kong, Millie Vernick described the scholarship as a great head start on her career. “It is a life-changing program which will allow me to undertake an internship, language training and a year of full-time study,” she said.

“It is also an opportunity for me to learn more about the increasing role that artificial intelligence plays in cybersecurity and how the law needs to be developed around these technological advancements in order to protect data and privacy. Given the borderless nature of cyber attacks, multi-national collaboration is crucial and Hong Kong has played a pioneering role in data and privacy legislation, presenting a unique opportunity to learn about cyber law developments.

“It is important to me that I engage with people who are contributing to developments in the field, so that my career is guided by innovation and best practice.”

Millie’s interest in international relations and the law was first sparked during history classes at Tamborine Mountain College where she became intrigued by the way states interacted through the years, and how domestic and international laws were shaped by history.