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New Colombo Plan helps Australians engage with Indo-Pacific

New Colombo Plan helps Australians engage with Indo-Pacific

Professor Ly Tran

Full article issued by Deakin University.

An ARC-supported evaluation of the Indo-Pacific international study program, the New Colombo Plan, has found that most Australian students who participate go on to work in jobs based in the region or with employers engaged with those countries.

The study found three quarters of New Colombo Plan (NCP) alumni who were surveyed either work in or with the most popular host countries of Japan, Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Republic of Korea, India, Singapore and Malaysia.

Lead researcher, Professor Ly Tran, an ARC Future Fellow from Deakin University's School of Education, said the findings demonstrate the success of the program at building cross-cultural ties and regional engagement among young Australians with our Indo-Pacific neighbours.

Professor Tran surveyed 1,371 NCP students and alumni and included 298 interviews with NCP-related stakeholders and in-country fieldwork. The research found that students' primary motivations for learning abroad in the Indo-Pacific were to challenge themselves (96 per cent), gain experience and broaden their understanding of the Indo-Pacific region (96 per cent), become familiar with another culture (96 per cent), and travel to a new place (95 per cent).

'Despite challenges and areas for improvement, the New Colombo Plan is a stellar example of reversal mobility, re-balancing regional and global student mobility, through which students from a developed country in the Global North like Australia enrich their learning and experiences through living and studying in the Indo-Pacific,' Professor Tran says.

'The findings show that formerly colonised countries in the Indo-Pacific such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Brunei, Fiji and Papua New Guinea which used to be periphery learning abroad destinations now provide powerful learning spaces for students from a Western country like Australia.'


ARC Future Fellow, Professor Ly Tran. Credit: Deakin University.

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