29 November 2017Share
ACU’s first student to win a New Colombo Plan scholarship, Grace Corcoran, is headed to Micronesia for an internship.
“I genuinely sobbed for half an hour. I couldn’t believe it. That day, every time I told any of my family members that I had received the scholarship, I cried with joy.”
This was the reaction of outstanding ACU undergraduate Grace Corcoran when she won a prestigious New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholarship, a unique initiative from the Australian Government to strengthen ties between Australia and the Indo-Pacific.
In 2018, Applied Public Health and Global Studies student Grace will head to overseas to undertake an internship followed by a semester of studies at the College of Micronesia, gaining invaluable experience, expertise and networks.
She is the first ACU student to win a New Colombo Plan scholarship. This award is the most lucrative and prestigious undergraduate scholarship in the country, and is highly sought after.
Grace said she had always wanted to work in a foreign, remote country.
“Building relationships and gaining knowledge about the Indo-Pacific region will help significantly if I choose this region to be where I live and work.
“It will make me much more prepared and equipped for work in an overseas environment as well as providing me with some important professional links in the community.
“Ultimately I would love to work in women’s health, educating and empowering women to take control over their own health, bodies and lives. This experience will be invaluable.”
She also said she was excited to meet new people and discover new experiences. “I love making new friends and getting to know other people’s stories. I am excited to see the differences between Melbourne life and the life of the community in the Federated States of Micronesia.
“I am hoping that I will also be able to do a course they offer in scuba diving,” she said.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop named the 2018 scholarship recipients in an event at Parliament House on Monday.
Pro Vice-Chancellor International Chris Riley said the New Colombo program was an excellent opportunity for ACU’s outstanding scholars to develop their knowledge and skills in a global context.
“We are exceptionally proud of Grace, who is the first ACU student to win an NCP scholarship. She has shown an excellent commitment to her studies and this experience will open up her career path tremendously,” Mr Riley said.
National Head of the School of Arts Professor Michael Ondaatje echoed these sentiments: “Our goal in Global Studies at ACU is to turn students outward towards the wider world – to open up new opportunities for them to develop personally and professionally while promoting social justice and the common good. Grace is a model student in this respect and I wish her all the best as she embarks on this very exciting – and very worthy – international program.”
The New Colombo Plan initiative was launched by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2013 as an effort to increase student mobility to the Asia-Pacific region. Around 150 scholarships were available in 2018. ACU was also recently awarded over $400,000 of NCP Mobility Grant funding for nine short-term and semester exchange programs to be taken in 2018.