9 December 2014
USC student Abe Burford is on the fast track to international success after being awarded a prestigious competitive scholarship.
The 22-year-old International Studies student received one of 69 New Colombo Plan scholarships from Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop in Canberra last week.
This scholarship scheme is an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is aimed at improving relationships and knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region in Australia.
Abe’s scholarship, valued at $67,000, will provide him with access to study in the Indo-Pacific region for up to a year.
He plans to travel to Indonesia in mid-2015 and complete intensive language training in Yogyakarta before studying international business and diplomacy at the Parahyangan Catholic University in Bandung, Java.
He will also undertake an internship with the Indonesian Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“This scholarship program is an unbelievable opportunity to serve as an unofficial diplomat and contribute to positive bilateral relationships between Australia and the Indo-Pacific region,” Abe said.
“I am looking forward to using my cultural literacy and intelligence to help establish a professional network of international contacts to help me in my future career.”
Abe is well-known at USC as the co-founder of the student adventure club, USC Activate, and is a member of the Australian Indonesian Youth Association.
He said the language skills he gained from USC’s Indonesian language program, taught by Lecturer Phillip Mahnken, would greatly benefit his future studies and career.
USC International Projects Manager Dr Sheila Peake congratulated Abe and said this was the second consecutive year that a USC student had received a New Colombo Plan scholarship.
“This is an exceptional achievement for Abe and we are proud to have one of our students participating in a program that is leading the way in strengthening relationships and opportunities in the region,” Dr Peake said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has also awarded USC a number of New Colombo Plan mobility grants for short and longer-term study and research in the Indo-Pacific region. These latest grants total $70,300.
In 2014, USC received grants from the Australian Government totalling $314,000 to help fund a range of international projects in 2015 including Psychology and Tourism students researching whale watching in Tonga, Sustainable Tourism students in Cambodia, Planning students in Hong Kong and Creative Advertising students in China.
— Julie Schomberg