Two La Trobe University students have been awarded 2016 Hamer Scholarships by the State Government of Victoria. The scholarships provide funding for students to take part in a cultural immersion experience and undertake intensive language study at nominated universities in China, Indonesia, Japan and Korea.
The students, Rowan Petz and Stuart McKenzie, have both been awarded $15,000 Hamer scholarships to study Korean for six months at Yonsei University in Seoul, one of the top three universities in South Korea.
Rowan Petz (pictured) is a mature-age student about to complete his Bachelor of International Relations at La Trobe University.
“I’ve visited Korea twice before on scholarships, and it’s an important part of getting an edge when it comes to furthering my career,” says Petz. “I look forward to the opportunity to take intense language classes, and without the scholarship I would never have had this opportunity.”
Petz has a particular interest in North Korean politics and activism, and hopes to continue his studies in that area.
“People should realise the importance of exchange and the opportunities it presents,” he says. "For someone like me, who spontaneously came back to study later in life, I couldn’t have done it without exchange programs.”
Stuart McKenzie is in his fifth year of a double degree of Law and International Relations, as well as studying a Diploma of Languages in French. It will be his fourth
trip to South Korea, including an exchange student in 2015 to Yonsei University and as part of an Australian Government Internship Program.
"I am looking forward to developing my Korean language skills and increasing my interaction with the Australian-Korean community,” says McKenzie. “I enjoy interacting with people of different cultures and backgrounds and I am excited to engage more frequently and more confidently with Korean people in all facets of daily life."
McKenzie graduates soon and hopes to work in Korea, and the scholarship will give him an opportunity to further familiarise himself with Korean society.
"This grant is a huge honour and is one that will permit me to represent Victoria at an international level,” he says. “The ability to network and foster close relationships within the
Australian-Korean community is something that is very important to me."