Media contact

Yolande Hutchinson
UNSW Sydney External Engagement
0420 845 023

Three outstanding UNSW students are among 125 awarded a prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship to live, study, learn a language and gain work experience in the Indo-Pacific region in 2022.

Ashraf Olife, Ellen Mitchell and Max Kwok will study at leading universities in Japan and Thailand.

Ellen and Ashraf have also been selected as a Fellow for their country. Fellows are selected from the most highly ranked applicants by the NCP selection panel and are encouraged to play a strong leadership role in promoting the NCP while on their scholarship and as part of the alumni when they return. 

Ashraf, who will study Human Society at Kyoto University in Japan, said: “The NCP is deeply meaningful for me as it will support a long-time dream to study, work and live in Japan, whilst also providing access to an extraordinary alumni and mentor network to develop my personal and professional lives.”

Ellen will study Chemical Engineering at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand.

“Being an NCP scholar means taking on the role of an ambassador for Australia when overseas, having the opportunity to experience life in the Indo-Pacific region and stepping out of my comfort zone,” Ellen said.

Max will study International Development Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, as well as undertaking internships at the United Nations and Mekong River Commission.

“Thailand was an obvious choice for me as Bangkok is the hub for international development in the Indo-Pacific region. I am eager to learn more about its approaches to grassroots capacity-building,” Max said.

“I am incredibly grateful to the International Studies program and the mentors I have within the Arts, Design & Architecture faculty for challenging me to expand my horizons and providing numerous opportunities to take my studies abroad.”  


Now in its seventh year, the NCP Scholarship Program provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to undertake semester-based study and internships or mentorships in participating Indo-Pacific locations. NCP scholars gain valuable new skills and understanding that they will bring to their future workplaces, supporting Australia’s future competitiveness and economic growth.

The scholarships include language training tuition, a travel allowance, an establishment allowance, a monthly stipend, health and travel insurance and a dedicated case manager.

UNSW Head of International Rhys Palmer congratulated the successful UNSW students on having the opportunity to study overseas.

“UNSW has worked closely with the New Colombo Plan scholarship program since its inception in 2014, which has provided so many of our students a life-changing ‘rite of passage’ experience within the Indo-Pacific region.

“As our new cohort of scholars embark on their international study experience, they will experience new people, cultures and create life-long memories that will enrich their education, develop their leadership skills and enhance their career opportunities to become truly global citizens. I wish our new cohort of scholars the very best of luck.”