Three UNSW students will spend their first semester studying in Japan under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan, which aims to enhance students’ cultural connections in the Indo Pacific region.  

The Plan will increase the number of students studying in the region. Currently in its pilot phase, more than 300 undergraduate students from 24 Australian universities are taking up places at universities in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong. A second round of grants will be awarded to universities later this year.

UNSW’s pioneering students have each been awarded a $5,000 grant. Heading to Kyoto University is Commerce student Joanne Chau and Engineering’s Kai Nagara Simms. Susan Chen, also from the Australian School of Business, will study at Kansai Gaidai University.

Chau, who will learn Japanese while on exchange, says students shouldn’t shy away from studying in Asia for fear of not being able to take classes in English.  

“All of my subjects will be conducted in English, which means you don’t have to go to these countries with any language skills. This new plan really encourages more students to consider these destinations as an option for exchange,” she says.

With an interest in pursuing a career in international business, Chau says the exchange program is the perfect opportunity for her to begin building her professional skills.

“I’m not really someone who wants to stay in one place to progress in my career. There’s always something to learn from other customs and countries,” she says.

In 2015, the government will embark on a wider roll out of the New Colombo Plan across the Indo Pacific region, with the aim of creating a two-way student exchange.

UNSW has also nominated some of its brightest students for the prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarship, with recipients to be announced later this year. The $67,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to up to 40 high-achieving students for a year-long study and mentorship program.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) Fiona Docherty says UNSW looks forward to sending more students to the region as the program rolls out.   

“UNSW is excited to see our students embracing this dynamic part of the world. In the years to come, we know many will see studying and working in our region as an essential part of their university experience.”

“This marks an exciting new chapter in our ties with Asia, as UNSW was the first university in Australia to welcome some of Asia’s brightest students under the original Colombo Plan more than 60 years ago. The New Colombo Plan has a special significance for us and demonstrates our continued commitment to educate global leaders.”

Visit the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for more information.

Media contact: Cassie Chorn, UNSW Media Office, 9385 8107,