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Doors open to a world of opportunity thanks to New Colombo Plan

Three students are finalising their plans to travel to the National University of Singapore where they will take part in an immersive, international study program within the Indo-Pacific Region.

Meg Phillips, George Grover and Josh Rowlands, pictured,  applied through the University of Tasmania (UTAS) and have been eagerly awaiting the reopening of international flights out of Australia since being granted a New Colombo Plan Scholarship in 2021.

The scholarship provides financial support for high achieving students to undertake up to 19 months study in places like China, Fiji, Singapore, India and Thailand through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For Meg Phillips, the chance to continue her Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering studies at the National University of Singapore.

“I've always loved math and I've always liked the idea of making things, making gadgets. That was what interested me the most and studying science and engineering seemed like the best thing to pursue,” Meg said.

“In Singapore I’m hoping to do some work as part of the internship with a couple of electronics or power companies and I’ve been looking into companies like Samsung and Sony, but there might also be the opportunity to do some work with the toy company Mattel in their Hot Wheels manufacturing.”

Meg, who previously won the Samsung Australia Solve for Tomorrow competition with her system to warn animals of approaching vehicles, said while the internship part of her New Colombo Plan Scholarship was yet to be finalised, she was looking forward to the chance to work in the field of manufacturing automation in the second half of 2022.

George Grover said he was excited about the chance to study and work overseas for 12 months.

“I am very grateful to have been awarded this scholarship - studying and working overseas is an extremely exciting opportunity. I hope to spend my time in the Indo-Pacific growing my knowledge and connections within various areas of public international law,” George said.

“I genuinely would never have been able to do this without the scholarship. Spending a government-funded year overseas working and studying is a unique opportunity for a university student.”

George plans to spend some time studying Mandarin before completing a semester of studies for a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science in Singapore.

Following that, he plans to undertake internships with organisations working within the international climate change, trade and humanitarian law space. This will build on the work he has already done with the UTAS law school's International Justice Initiative.

Josh Rowlands spent his middle schooling years living in China with his family. When he discovered he was successful in obtaining a New Colombo Plan Scholarship he knew he wanted to return to China to explore new opportunities.

Josh graduated with a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Arts in 2021 and is currently completing his Business Honours year on leadership and entrepreneurship, this will mean he will be eligible to undertake the internship and language training aspect of the scholarship at the end of the year.

“I’d love to work in the international relations space, particularly related to China. That’s kind of my passion,” Josh said.

“But I also really love entrepreneurship and starting businesses and understanding leadership - how it works to create opportunities and make a difference.”

In his spare time Josh works at a mountain biking shop and has noticed the booming interest in the recreational activity in Tasmania as people take it up.

“It’s been great to see it from a Tasmanian perspective, people buying bikes and getting into it, but I’d love to go and visit the opposite side of things and see the factories in the Indo Pacific where most of the mountain bikes sold across the world are manufactured,” Josh said.

“I’m hoping internships in this area will give me insight and experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in Australia. I’m keen to connect to what I’m passionate about and that’s Tasmania, business and leadership.”

UTAS students interested in finding out more about the New Colombo Program can find out more at

Published on: 06 Jun 2022 10:48am