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New Colombo Plan Indigenous applications now open

New Colombo Plan: Exciting Opportunities for Indigenous Students

13 Jul 2016

Nominations are now open for the 2017 round of the New Colombo Plan scholarships program and close on 29 July 2016. 

The program is an Australian Government initiative which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and intern in the region.

It includes scholarships for study of up to one year, as well as internships, flexible mobility grant programs for short and longer-term study, clinical placements, practicums and research.

Indigenous undergraduate students interested in studying and interning in the Indo-Pacific through the New Colombo plan are encouraged to talk to their international office, faculty or Indigenous support office.

The video above  features two Indigenous students, Ziggy Fatnowna and Brianna Ozies, who travelled to Bali, Indonesia this year as part of the program. 


[Brianna] My name is Brianna Ozzies and I am a third year student at the University of Western Australia studying a Double Major in Human Anatomy and Biology, and Indigenous Knowledge, Heritage and History.

[Ziggy] My name is Ziggy Fatnowna and I’m currently in my undergraduate. I’m doing a Bachelor of Science with a Double Major in Anatomy and Human Biology, and Indigenous Knowledge.

What did you do through the New Colombo Plan?

[Ziggy] I went with a group of 10 Indigenous students, we were all Indigenous scholars, and the unit we did was called Indigenous Ways of Knowing. So we were exploring cross-cultural dialogue and innovative ways that we can teach through Indigenous ways of knowing. It was an incredible experience to not only learn about a new culture but to also explore how to share the knowledge that I’ve gained about my own culture.

[Brianna] What we did was really engage with the local Indigenous people of Bali. So not only did we stay at a traditional homestay but we also had a chance to go into the town and learn dances, learn music and every kind of art form in the Balinese culture.

What surprised you on your New Colombo Plan experience?

[Brianna] While we were there it felt like home. You know, it was something that I wasn’t expecting that feeling, but the way that we were welcomed and the way we were so immersed in the culture and the way we were relating their Indigenous culture back to our Indigenous culture, it just felt so similar and it felt so safe, it felt like home, and I think that’s something I wasn’t expecting whatsoever.

This plan is offering a chance to give Indigenous people a new worldview beyond their own, a new way of looking at nature, looking at the environment, looking at everything. So just exploring, and even seeing the similarities, whether it’s culture wise, whether it’s morals and values, or even history, as well. It gives Indigenous people the chance to explore all those different plains of all those other different Indigenous cultures.

[Ziggy] Given these opportunities as Indigenous scholars, to be able to shape ourselves, to be able to get a global context of what is going on in the world, and that is what was so amazing, is that, I was able to go to Bali and relate to people who were from different walks of life, but they were able to understand the message that I was trying to pass on. So I feel that, for Indigenous students, its empowering.

What is the best thing you learnt on your New Colombo Plan experience?

To actually go from seeing words on a paper to seeing what is culture in real life was such an incredible experience, I felt very privileged to be a part of it.

[Brianna] It’s a life-changing-experience. It changes the way you see the world. It changes how you also see yourself and, I think, it also gives you that kind gratitude as well.

[Ziggy] I feel like, the alumni, the initiative, it’s all about just trying to leave what we have, better than how we found it for the next generation.

[Brianna – on stage] It is an experience that I am eternally grateful for, and it’s actually inspired me to learn more about my own culture.

[Ziggy – on stage] The value of this experience cannot be measured in credit points, and for this, I feel truly thankful for. Given the opportunity and platforms, I know that you and I can continue the catalyst for positive change. I am hopeful. I hope that you are too. The New Colombo Plan brings that hope. Thank you.

Find out more

You can find out more information about the New Colombo Plan on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's website.