Australian New Colombo Plan Scholars in Asia: Settlement, Academic Learning and Connecting

Dr Mark Rahimi

Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Since 2014, the New Colombo Plan (NCP) has awarded around 50,000 scholarships and mobility grants to support Australian undergraduate students to study and gain work experience in the Indo-Pacific region. NCP scholars or scholarship holders often undertake their study or internships in one or several countries in the region between six to 18 months. They are positioned as not only as learners and temporary residents in those countries but also as actors of public diplomacy making connections between Australia and their host country. This presentation will address their settlement, academic learning and experience as being new bridges between Australia and the Indo-Pacific. It is based on empirical research, including policy analysis, fieldwork, an online survey and a longitudinal study involved around 250 interviews with NCP students and key stakeholders in Australia and the Indo-Pacific. The presentation also analyses the Australian government policy on sending Australian students to the Indo-Pacific region. It concludes with a discussion of the implications for providing support for Australian students in Asia and maximising the effects of the mobility and public diplomacy nexus.


Dr Mark Rahimi, Postdoctoral Fellow at Deakin University, is a data analyst and social sciences researcher. He has extensive experience in quantitative and mix-methods research in education. His research interest is devoted to inbound and outbound mobility of graduates in an international context and new methods in data science.



The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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