New Colombo Plan stories and scholar profiles

Scholar profiles

Emma Roberts

Emma Roberts, Australian National University
New Colombo Plan Yudhoyono (Indonesia) Fellow

Emma Roberts is studying Asia-Pacific Studies and Law majoring in Indonesian and Pacific Studies and will spend a total of three semesters in Indonesia. She spent her first semester studying Indonesian language as well as university courses taught in Indonesian (including law and gender studies) at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta. During her second semester, she undertook field research (while based at Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung) to write a 10,000 word thesis on gender equality and access to justice. Emma’s scholarship study program is being coordinated by the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies. After completing her field research, Emma plans to undertake internships in her third semester with organisations specialising in women's legal justice from both the public and private sector. She hopes this experience will assist her in understanding the approaches currently taken by different bodies to improving legal justice associated with gender-based violence.

Emma is passionate about pursuing a career in improving women’s access to justice in Indonesia and sees her New Colombo Plan scholarship as a key stepping stone. “I envisage that by spending a year in Indonesia, I can deepen my current understanding of Indonesian culture, religion and society” said Emma prior to departure. “I hope to form strong connections with more individuals and institutions working in human rights and gender equality which will benefit me in my future career.”

Emma is also looking forward to contributing to Australia’s relationship with Indonesia. “Because Indonesia is Australia’s closest neighbour, I believe the strengthening of this relationship should be a top national priority. My view is that this can be best achieved by fostering a generation of linguistically and culturally fluent young professional who truly understand the political and anthropological climate of Indonesia.”

Jason Emmanuelle

Jason Emmanuelle, Monash University
New Colombo Plan Kishi (Japan) Fellow

Jason Emmanuelle is undertaking an immersion exchange program at Osaka University over two semesters from September 2014 to August 2015.  This will include a full linguistics workload in Japanese classes and forms part of Jason’s current Bachelor of Arts (Languages) at Monash University. 

Jason was the highest ranked scholar who applied to study in Japan, following a competitive selection process.

In the future, Jason has developed a clear goal to work in Japan at a Japanese enterprise seeking global expansion.  He decided to study at Osaka University because it offered him the chance to interact with a range of companies while completing his studies, enabling him to establish linkages with Japan’s business sector.  

While in Japan, Jason plans to undertake an internship placement tailored to complement his academic experience.  He will also be mentored by a Monash University Alumnus during the period of his studies and internship. 

“I see my role as an inaugural ambassador to create an environment that sees Japanese businesses opening their doors further to Australian students” said Jason. “Surrounding myself with students preparing to face the same job-searching struggles is essential to adopting the correct mindset to successfully find work in Japan.”

Rebecca Wardell

Rebecca Wardell, Australian National University
New Colombo Plan Singapore Fellow

Rebecca Wardell studied a Bachelor Philosophy (Hons) in Science at the Australian National University.  Through her New Colombo Plan scholarship in Singapore, Rebecca spent a semester at the National University of Singapore (NUS) studying biomedical science with a focus on public health.  She also completed language training in Mandarin throughout the semester.

While in Singapore, Rebecca also undertook an internship focusing on infectious disease control at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, at the NUS. The collaborative work that Rebecca completed during her internship is considered ground-breaking. Through her internship, Rebecca developed a greater understanding of infectious disease epidemiology, skills that are applicable to a wide-range of infectious diseases that have the potential to affect Australia. 

Rebecca aspires to become a leader in the field public health, and is interested in the interconnectedness of her own field and other transnational challenges, such as globalisation, antibiotic resistance, disease prevention, climate change, and governments’ responses to these. Through her New Colombo Plan scholarship in Singapore, Rebecca gained networks and knowledge that will lead to future collaboration to solve global health challenges, and ultimately contribute to better health policy.

Rebecca is also committed to community service, having volunteered at a local hospital in Rwanda, and as a mentor for Indigenous Australian high school students.

Sarah Mitchell

Sarah Mitchell, University of Adelaide
New Colombo Plan Hong Kong Fellow

Sarah Mitchell is undertaking one semester of study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, encompassing units on linguistics, Asian history and psychology. This study will form part of her current Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Adelaide. She will also undertake in-country Cantonese language training. Sarah was the highest ranked scholar who applied to study in Hong Kong, following a highly competitive selection process.

Sarah opted to study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong due to its international reputation and interesting courses of study, including on speech disorders and language acquisition among deaf children, which are areas in which Sarah may seek to work in future. She is also keen to participate in the extracurricular activities and volunteering opportunities that are offered by the university.

Sarah is looking forward to having the opportunity to do an internship in a different linguistic and cultural environment, and is investigating internship options in linguistic research or in a non-profit organisation assisting those with communication disorders.

“I had an opportunity to volunteer in Vanuatu for six months after leaving school, and that experience showed me the importance of travelling abroad and engaging with our country’s neighbours to gain a better understanding both of other countries and our own,” said Sarah. “I really value the personal and professional relationships that I developed as a result of that experience, and look forward to making new friends and professional contacts in Hong Kong as a result of my New Colombo Plan scholarship.”

Kara Menzies

Kara Menzies, La Trobe University
New Colombo Plan Indonesian Scholar

Kara studied a Bachelor of Education at La Trobe University’s Bendigo campus in regional Victoria. She undertook the one-semester Indonesian Language Teacher Immersion Program at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta coordinated by the Australian Consortium for In-Country Indonesian Studies, of which La Trobe University is a member. This included formal study as well as school practicum experiences. Kara also completed four weeks of language training while in Indonesia and an unpaid internship as an English teacher for seven weeks in Bali.

Kara has studied Indonesian from a young age and appreciates the opportunity presented by the New Colombo Plan to finally travel to the country for the first time. She hopes her new skills and relationships will strengthen her ability back in Australia to inspire her students with a passion for Indonesia – as her teachers have inspired her.

“I will also research and create my own materials that will be beneficial to my future teaching career back in Australia. This will include having opportunities to collect teaching aids such as photos, posters and music” said Kara prior to departure. “New contacts I make in Indonesia will assist me to become a better educator back in Australia, as I will have the opportunity to discuss ideas and communicate with other teachers from across the world; this will also allow my students to have access to other students so that they can practise their skills. I know that the relationships I develop in Indonesia will be valuable resources and great friendships for the future.”

Pratul Awasthi

Pratul Awasthi, Curtin University of Technology
New Colombo Plan Singapore Scholar

Pratul Awasthi is undertaking one semester of his Engineering degree at the prestigious Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He is also undertaking some short-term language training in Mandarin.

Pratul is living on campus at Nanyang, in order to “get a feel of the vibrant Asian lifestyle and culture” there. Following his engineering courses, Pratul also wants to complete an internship, in order to build relationships with other engineers in the region and gain an insight into Singapore’s working culture. He hopes to return to Australia having built a network of academics and professionals in his field.

Pratul received the John Curtin Scholarship and the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Scholarship in 2013.

Alongside his studies, Pratul is committed to community service. He volunteers for a not-for-profit organisation which deploys university students to rural schools in Western Australia, with the aim of helping to overcome educational disparity between rural and metropolitan schools. He is also passionate about using engineering to overcome global challenges – he has participated in the Global Green Challenge and the Electrical Vehicle Challenge.

Pratul sees his New Colombo Plan experience as an opportunity to meet and learn from people from varied cultural backgrounds and from different work cultures. “The world today is a global community where no enterprise can operate in isolation” he said. “At any given point in time a firm’s clients, consumers, bankers, creditors will be from every possible nationality and culture.”

Kristie Higginson

Kristie Higginson, the University of Queensland
New Colombo Plan Japan Scholar

Kristie Higginson is studying international business and economics courses for one semester at Waseda University.  This forms part of Kristie’s current Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) and Economics at the University of Queensland.

While in Japan, Kristie plans to undertake an internship with an investment bank or an economics consulting firm, which she believes will enable her to gain experience in the field of economics and apply the theoretical knowledge gained from her studies in a global environment.  Kristie undertook Japanese language training before her semester overseas commences, to learn basic vocabulary.

In the future, Kristie would like to work overseas and contribute to industry on a global scale.  She believes that having the opportunity to study overseas and fully immerse herself in a different culture will result in vast benefits in terms of career prospects and personal development.

“The ever-increasing level of globalization has seen a rise in trade and investment towards the Indo-Pacific region such that in terms of my career, there are immense gains in expanding my cultural awareness to this region” said Kristie prior to departure. “Studying overseas will broaden my horizons and help me to further understand and analyse problems and theories from a more world-wide perspective – a critical skill to gain in hopefully achieving my desire to one day work overseas.  I will have the opportunity to develop and enhance essential skills such as cultural understanding, effective communication and appreciation of international dimensions whilst also developing new networks and lifelong friendships across the globe”. 

Jasmin Hammond

Jasmin Hammond, University of Western Sydney
New Colombo Plan Hong Kong Scholar

Jasmin Hammond studied units including chemistry, environmental science, physics and calculus and linear algebra at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology as part of her current Bachelor of Natural Science (Environment and Health) degree at the University of Western Sydney.

Jasmin noted that "gaining exposure to emerging regional and international environmental issues will help me realise my aims of advancing public and environmental health in Australia". She hopes that living in Hong Kong for a semester has enhanced her cultural awareness and adaptability to live in new environments, and provide many other new and exciting experiences.

When not undertaking an NCP scholarship and pursuing her studies at the University of Western Sydney as an external student, Jasmin also works full-time as a Trainee Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer at the Cowra Council, where she is involved in the food inspection program, and mentoring other trainees. In future Jasmin wants to take advantage of her own educational experiences to promote the importance of education to Aboriginal children.

"I would also really like to encourage other Aboriginal undergraduate students to consider applying for a New Colombo Plan scholarship as a stepping stone to realising their future dreams" she said.

Emily Chen

Emily Chen, the University of Queensland
New Colombo Plan Hong Kong Scholar

Emily Chen studied biological sciences at the University of Hong Kong under the Faculty of Science this year, as part of her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Queensland. Her units of study included human physiology, genetics, and pharmacology among other things, in preparation for later courses in medicine that she will be undertaking at UQ at post-graduate level. Emily believes that the knowledge gained about natural sciences over the past few decades impacts directly on the health and lifestyles of Australians, and she wants to take advantage of a New Colombo Plan scholarship to ensure that she can herself contribute to the best of her abilities to further studies in this field.

Emily said “I love to challenge myself to adapt to new learning environments. Hong Kong is famous for having a diverse and multicultural learning environment, and the wide selection of courses, clubs, committees and societies that are available there will greatly assist me in achieving my goals in advancing my academic career to the next level and gaining insights into Asia-Pacific cultural interactions.”

Emily participated in a research project in the field of biomedical sciences at the University of Hong Kong’s Faculty of Medicine.

In addition to her studies, Emily is an accomplished violinist and volunteers her time in support of a number of charities. She is also involved in a number of student associations at UQ, supporting foreign students studying in Queensland.


Last Updated: 6 January 2015