Four UNSW Law students are among the 2018 Westpac Asian Exchange Scholars helping to strengthen Australia’s talent pool of future leaders.

Alexia Fan, Wee An Tan, Meira Chen, and  Julie Li will have the opportunity to study for up to a year at a leading university in China, Singapore or Hong Kong and take part in an eight-month leadership development program, co-created with Common Purpose, a global leader in cross-boundary leadership development.

Westpac Exchange Scholarship students

Left to right: Alexia Fan, Wee An Tan, Meira Chen, and  Julie Li

Meira Chen, who will study at Tsinghua University, is focused on the opportunities she now has to create social change with the brightest minds of Australia and Asia. She has ambitious plans to spearhead an initiative to educate girls in rural China through the Australia China Youth Association, and plans to undertake an internship with AustCham in Beijing.

After her exchange, her goal is to influence education policy in Australia, bringing more focus to Asia in the curriculum of NSW schools.

“I think that the concept of guanxi ( 关系 ) or 'relationships' in Chinese culture can be a conduit for greater bilateral ties,” she said.

“Through collaborating with my fellow Westpac Scholars and staying connected with people I meet on my Asian exchange adventure, I would like to share and open up pathways for more Australian young professionals to tap into learning opportunities in China.”

Alexia Fan (Tsinghua University) believed global networks would open up a world of opportunity.

“The Westpac Scholarship provides me with the opportunity to learn about how to reach China’s vibrant and growing business ecosystem and increasingly prosperous, large customer segment,” she said.

“It’s also a unique opportunity to learn the Chinese language, culture, business and law, which will prove invaluable starting my global corporate career.”

Julie Li (Tsinghua University) said the scholarship would provide an opportunity to be a global citizen as well as opening the door to becoming part of an international dialogue between Asia and Australia.

“Indeed, the Scholarship allows me to truly immerse myself in experiencing Chinese legal relations, conduct of business and culture, placing me at the centre of a strengthening relationship between Asia and Australia,” she said.

Wee An Tan (Hong Kong University) said that with its robust legal system and regional proximity, Australia had significant potential to play a greater role in Asian cross-border transactions and disputes.

“I am interested in strengthening this role. In 2017, I studied the Chinese legal system in an overseas elective in Shanghai. My exchange in Hong Kong will build on this experience, and I aim to return equipped with knowledge, skills and cultural awareness.”

The scholars will start their exchange in August, beginning with a four-day residential program in Shanghai. During this time they will have a unique opportunity to visit world-leading technology and innovation labs, seeing first-hand the inspiring development of the innovation ecosystem in China. 

Susan Bannigan, CEO of the Westpac Bicentennial Foundation, believes the Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship is “much more than a student exchange”.

“It focuses heavily on leadership development, establishing global networks and developing a greater understanding of the region through immersive learning,” she said.

Students will also gain lifelong membership of the Westpac 100 Scholars Network.  

“Growing by 100 scholars a year across our five scholarship programs, this alumni network of inspired and inspiring people is connecting those with bold ideas to build a better future for all Australians,” Ms Banningan said.

The Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship is offered in partnership with eight Australian universities including UNSW. For the full list of 2018 Westpac Asian Exchange Scholarship recipients visit