Student mobility rebounds with New Colombo funding

Students will travel to destinations in the Indo-Pacific, like Hong Kong, as part of the New Colombo Plan Mobility Program. Photo by Jimmy Chan from Pexels.

Griffith University students will finally return to the Indo-Pacific after COVID-19 forced eagerly anticipated New Colombo Plan (NCP) Mobility Program internships and exchanges online for two years.

The 2022 NCP Mobility Program funding of $902,000 has been awarded to Griffith by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

It will support 189 students across all disciplines – from those studying dentistry and humanities to sciences and accounting – to participate in internships, exchanges, and study tours in 40 countries in the region, like Fiji, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea.

This comes as six Griffith University undergraduates are named as New Colombo Plan Scholars for 2022.

Vice President (Global) Professor Sarah Todd.

Vice President (Global) Professor Sarah Todd said while the program had continued through the pandemic in an innovative online format, it was exciting to know that students would soon be able to participate in-person.

“Over the past couple of years, we have seen some great innovation in terms of virtual international internships and other virtual mobility experiences, but it is really exciting to think that Griffith students will again be able to travel as part of their degree and enhance their understanding of the world and how they can contribute to it,” Professor Todd said.

“The funding received from DFAT, through the NCP, means that we can financially support students to experience life first-hand in another part of the Indo-Pacific region.

“Funding has been received for a variety of programs, which means a wide range of opportunities is available to Griffith students, either in their specific academic area, or as part of a multidisciplinary program.”

Dr Andrea Haefner.

Griffith Asia Business Internship (GABI) Lead Dr Andrea Haefner said the program wasn’t just an opportunity for work and study, with plenty of chances for fun cultural experiences too.

“Students who take part in the mobility program will be encouraged to engage in activities like cooking and language classes, K-Pop karaoke and film writing,” she said.

“By immersing themselves in these experiences, it allows the students to properly experience their host country and its culture to the fullest.”

Bachelor of Asian Studies student Willow Perhouse recently completed a six-week internship with The Australian Chamber of Commerce (AustCham) Korea, the peak body representing the Australia — Korea business community.

Willow Perhouse (top left).

“It was a pleasure to work alongside the AustCham Korea team and learn more about their role in Australia-Korea bilateral ties, especially during the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Australia and Korea working together diplomatically,” she said.

“I have learnt many new skills and made lots of valuable connections during my time interning with AustCham Korea.”

Dr Haefner said participation in the NCP Mobility Program helped give students a competitive edge after finishing their studies.

“It is important for students to bolster their ability to perform well in dynamic workplaces and in varying cultural settings,” Dr Haefner said.

“These experiences are an excellent way to foster Asia-literacy and strengthen ties within the region.

“Students will develop their knowledge and skills, while establishing professional networks and enhancing their employability outcomes.”