Eleven Griffith students are headed on overseas adventures after being awarded scholarships to work and study internationally under Australia’s New Colombo Plan.

The program aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia, with students supported to study for up to a year in several regions and undertake an internship, mentorship, practicum or research.

The Plan encourages a reciprocal relationship with the rest of our region, deepening Australia’s individual, academic and business relationships.


Sophie Nakamura has been frustrated at not being able to make tangible impact on sustainable clothing production in Asian countries but that will soon change when she embarks on her prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarship in late 2023.

The Griffith Honours College student will spend a semester at Thammasat University in Bangkok and Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia after being successful with her NCP application.

She also plans to intern with the United Nation’s Office on Drugs and Crime in Bangkok.

“I’ve always been passionate about slow clothing and the child labour and exploitation in these regions. I feel like everything I’ve been doing in that movement hasn’t really led me very far.

“I feel the New Colombo Plan scholarship would be the next step to help me achieve my passions and learn more about what I’ve been interested in for so long,” Sophie said.

Two years into a double degree in law and government and international relations, Sophie hopes the NCP scholarship will lead to valuable connections and networks with those agencies at the coalface investigating modern slavery and human trafficking.

“It’s a very nuanced issue and easy for us to condemn trafficking as something that’s inhumane. But I think there’s a lot more to it than that and I’m very excited to learn about the nuances of it and have a more holistic understanding of it, and maybe the different ways to approach it”.

Joshua Waterfall is off to Thailand and Singapore on his NCP Scholarship


It was during Joshua Waterfall’s school years that both he and his friends were exposed to and learnt to adapt to a community with different beliefs to their own.

Joshua is passionate about LGBTQIA+ rights and helping others, and his aim for his NCP program is to facilitate bilateral cooperation between Australia and Thailand on LGBTQIA+ issues in the criminal justice system.

“I will travel to Thailand and Singapore as part of my NCP program. I am aiming to learn how these countries tackle LGBTQIA+ issues in their criminal justice and legal systems and apply these lessons in Australia in order to enhance our existing systems.”


Powering through a Law and Asian Studies double degree, majoring in Japanese Language, Sofie will spend 16 months at Sophia University in Tokyo, immersed in Japanese culture and developing her language fluency.

During her current studies, Sofie works as a Legal Assistant with a family law firm and volunteers as Editor in Chief of the Griffith Journal of Law and Human Dignity.

Growing up at the Gold Coast, Sofie joined Scouts Australia, where she developed skills in teamwork, leadership, volunteering and community service, and received the Australia Scout Medallion after ten years dedication.

Influenced by Scouts, Sofie is interested in environmental issues and aspires toward a niche expertise, facilitating cross-jurisdictional dialogue between Australia and Japan relating to hydrogen energy which will be crucial to ongoing global energy transitions.


Psychological Science and Business student Mary Higgins is off to Vietnam and Cambodia thanks to her New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

She is passionate about ending gender-based violence (GBV) and hopes to learn how Southeast Asia addresses GBV, and how they support survivors.

“Growing up in Allora, a small town of just 1200 people, I’ve seen my community come together through droughts, floods and many other crises, which has inspired me to work further toward social justice on a grander scale,” Mary said.

“This will undoubtedly be a rich learning opportunity both culturally and formally and I hope to build lasting connections with like minded individuals to create positive impact internationally.”


Griffith University Honours student Kate McGuire is about to head to Soka University in Japan on scholarship where she’ll study how regional communities can build economic resilience and promote sustainability to ensure a better quality of life.

This is a topic close to her heart as Kate hails from Grafton, in regional New South Wales and has witnessed the negative social and economic effects of floods, bushfires and droughts.

Kate attended Grafton High School and was awarded Dux in 2018 and a Business Plus Academic Excellence Scholarship which allowed her to move to the city and support herself while studying.

At the end of her first year she was invited to apply for the Griffith Honours College whereby she undertook an Honours College Research Bursary with the Policy Innovation Hub, under the supervision of Professor Susan Harris Rimmer in November of 2020.

Kate has since been involved in ENACTUS, the Sustainable Business Collective and is a Griffith Business PASS leader.

Kate was supported by the Honours College in her application to be a NCP scholar to Japan and found their assistance invaluable.


Jared Noble is passionate about the environment and creating solutions to combat climate change.

It’s what led him to study a Bachelor of Business majoring in Sustainable Business, and a Bachelor of Government and International Relations majoring in Politics and Public Policy.

As part of his New Colombo Plan scholarship, Jared will study in Japan to learn about their waste management systems use it as the basis for a food waste initiative pilot through ENACTUS at Griffith.

He will then report on the outcomes to the Brisbane City Council to create positive changes. “I hope to create meaningful connections with the people I meet in Japan to understand how Australia can be a good neighbour in the Indo-Pacific to help itself and others solve the waste problem.”


Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) student Isabelle Khamsone is extremely passionate about understanding why we behave and think the way that we do and hopes to remove stigmas around therapy for Asian-Australian mental health.

She will soon head to Taiwan to learn about the country’s mental-health approach and gain further insight into barriers to effective mental-health care.

Isabelle hopes to return to Australia with more knowledge on how to bridge the gap between collectivistic and individualistic approaches towards mental health, and to one day create an organisation that considers multicultural differences influencing mental health, advocating for equity and diversity.


New Colombo Plan Scholar Jordan McGrath’s is heading to the National University of Singapore on scholarship where he’ll aim to develop stronger governmental and institutional relationships.

Thanks to the Griffith Honours College, which Jordan credits as being an incredibly friendly and committed community, he’ll also undertake an internship at the NUS Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions.

After this, he will fly to Vietnam to complete a second internship doing wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

The program will help Jordan develop skills and tools necessary for his aspiring career as a researcher in the wildlife sciences and applied mathematics.

He also hopes to share his indigenous background to improve global awareness of Australian Aboriginal culture.


With a degree in Music and Violin performance at the Queensland Conservatorium, Griffith University, Eden Annesley is excited by the adventure of completing honours at the International College for Liberal Arts in Yamanashi, Japan.

Eden will then join arts NGO, Cambodia Living Arts where musicians are supported to advance their artistic ambitions and she hopes to enrich her passion for strengthening cultural economies.

Growing up in Grafton, regional NSW, immersed in music through family and church, Eden was the youngest person to join Grafton’s Clarence Valley Orchestra at the age of 12, then graduated to concert master as first violinist by her senior year of high school.

Having played in the Queensland Youth Symphony and volunteering with her string quartet to entertain nursing home residents around Brisbane, Eden has an innate sense of community and gives credence to music as a means for shifting perspectives and bringing community together.


Bachelor of Science student Cedar Lett is heading off to Japan to study at Hiroshima University as part of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship.

She wants to learn from a society with one of the longest life expectancies in the world and wants to apply this learning to help indigenous communities in Australia.

Cedar will undertake culturally inclusive preventative health research, which will allow Indigenous Australians to have better health outcomes and information that caters to the unique differences in culture and way of life.

“I hope the research I am interested in will help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people further understand and implement preventative health strategies into their lives.” Cedar said.

“I think this is a step towards personalised medicine which I think is the future and a goal for all researchers and healthcare professionals, as it would allow the best health outcomes for all Australians, and humanity as a whole.”

“Throughout this whole process, Griffith Honours College brought to my attention other opportunities for personal and professional growth, as well as putting me in contact with more wonderful people within, and outside, Griffith University.”


Isabel Matthews is embarking on a journey to Singapore, thanks to support from Griffith Honours College, to discover how music can make out communities better.

Through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program, Isabel is heading to Singapore to further her studies, giving her a world view on how she can make a difference in her community.

Studying at the National University of Singapore at their well-established Yong Siew Toh Conservatorium of Music, Isabel said she hopes to use music in disadvantaged and disconnected communities.

“I want to better understand and use the power of music through this and empower people to make more meaningful connections in society,’ she said.

“Studying at Griffith has given me the opportunity to apply and receive this amazing opportunity, and I hope I can use it to help connect people through the power of music.”