Students gain passport to China

Four students will head off to China in September after securing Confucius Institute scholarships.

Emily Carruthers and Laurie Finnigan will attend Chongqing University to study for one year, while Matthew Paterson and Husain Al-Kelabi will study at Sichuan University for one semester.

Located at the Melbourne campus, the Confucius Institute at La Trobe University was established in 2011 in conjunction with the Office of Chinese Language Council International (Hanban). The Institute is operated in partnership with Chongqing University. The scholarship program is now in its second year.

Accounting graduate Mr Paterson only started learning Mandarin six months ago and was excited to put his new-found language skills to the test.

'The people at the Confucius Institute have really helped give us the confidence to take this opportunity,' Mr Paterson said.

'I love travelling and living in China will give us the opportunity to really go for it – it's the best way to learn.'

Ms Finnigan was excited yet emotional when she found out she had secured the scholarship.

'I checked the website at 1.30am and then I was laughing and crying,' Ms Finnigan said.

Executive Director of La Trobe Asia Professor Nick Bisley congratulated the students on securing the scholarships – a process which involved a difficult exam.

'I'm really pleased this is happening through the Confucius Institute and that these students will have the opportunity to experience the real China,' Professor Bisley said.

'They'll be able to see what's going on over there, understand it and live with it.'

Scholarship winners are exempt from all University-related fees and will receive accommodation, a one-off resettlement subsidy, monthly living allowance, and outpatient medical services.

They may choose to study in majors including Chinese Language and Literature, Chinese History and Chinese Philosophy.

Photo: Emily Carruthers, Husain Al-Kelabi, Laurie Finnigan and Matthew Paterson have all received scholarships to study in China.

Media contact:

Leah Humphrys, Media and Communications Officer

03 9479 5353