Written by Jason Emmanuelle – Bachelor of Arts – Languages (Major in Japanese and Linguistics)
On the 25th of June, 2014, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced the inaugural recipients of the New Colombo Plan at an awards evening in Canberra. The New Colombo Plan Scholarship recipients will travel across the four pilot countries – Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore – to undertake an exchange program and internship. The program aims to develop people-to-people relations across the region as a means of promoting bi-lateral aid and cultural and language literacy. The day’s proceedings allowed for the scholars to become acquainted with each other, discussing their intentions to study a variety noble causes such as law, paramedicine, engineering and mechatronics. Each had been selected after an almost five-month-long, rigorous selection process that involved university screening, shortlisting of written applications and an interview at the Department of Foreign Affairs building in Canberra. The forty successful applicants will be departing over the next six months for their international destinations.
The awards night was attended by distinguished guests, politicians and business representatives, some of who sat on our interview panels just a month prior. I had the honour of sitting between Australia’s previous ambassador in Japan and the group general manager of the ANZ bank, just to give an example of the high-level company we were in. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop shared the story that lead to the fruition of the program, detailing how she realised the value of the original Colombo Plan and conceived the idea to create a New Colombo Plan eight years ago, when she was still the Minister of Education. Her speech concluded on the personal note of how her own exchange experience allowed her to grow as a person – an experience we will all soon come to share.
The Foreign Minister continued to introduce the four Fellows, that is, the top representative for each country, and I was formally announced as the Kishi Fellow, taking the name from previous Prime Minister Kishi, for Japan. The title is a representation of both past achievements and future ambitions. Thanks only to the support I received, particularly from Global Engagement team at Monash University, was I able to realise the importance of this opportunity and fully apply myself with the intention to attain the title of Fellow.
I will begin my study this October at Osaka University through an exclusive immersion program, allowing me to take a full study load of linguistics units in Japanese classes. I am interested in future cross-linguistic research, hoping to specialise in second-language acquisition. Additional to this, I aim to make strong connections from both within my host institution as well as externally through my internship component. Upon graduating from Monash, I intend to find employment at a Japanese business firm seeking international expansion. My studies at Monash have lead me to understand the importance of exchange programs in cultivating international awareness, cross-cultural understanding and a skillset that fuses foreign exchange and domestic education as business throughout the world continues to evolve into a global enterprise.”
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