Students takes Bendigo to Asia

A Bendigo La Trobe University student has won a prestigious national award in the form of a $67,000 scholarship to study at Lingnan University in Hong Kong for a semester.

Second year Bachelor of Business student Jake Schatz was presented with his New Colombo Plan Scholarship by Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop at an awards dinner in Canberra on Tuesday night.

Jake is the second La Trobe student studying at Bendigo to receive a New Colombo Plan scholarship. Bachelor of Education student Kara Menzies travelled to Indonesia as part of the 2014 scheme. 

'We live on a planet that has become immensely interconnected and the existence of the New Colombo Plan is in itself a strong indicator of the importance that Australia places on its foreign relations,' Jake said.  

'When I decided that I wanted to study on exchange, Hong Kong was an easy choice for me. As a business student, there are few better study locations that Asia's biggest financial centre.

'I'm excited at the prospect of networking with students that are from a regional background like myself, and plan on actively contributing to the Lingnan and Tuen Mun communities.'  

Bendigo Economics and Finance Lecturer Earl Jobling said Jake was a deserving student.

'Teaching Jake has been an absolute pleasure - he is one of those rare students who is not only quantitatively gifted, but can apply what he learns to the real world,' Mr Jobling said.

'Throughout the year, one of the attributes that really impressed me about Jake was his willingness to help his classmates in understanding what were often difficult math's problems. In short, Jake is an outstanding student and he has all the attributes to be a leader of the future – you just wait and see.'

The New Colombo Plan is based on the Federal Government's 1950s scholarship program that allowed thousands of students from Asian countries to study at Australian universities. The initiative provides grants of up to $67,000 to allow students to study in Asia.  

The Federal Government also recently announced that they would provide another 91 La Trobe students scholarships worth a total of $265,900 to visit Indonesia, India, China, Malaysia, Samoa, Singapore and Taiwan. 

La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the New Colombo Plan provided invaluable opportunities to students.

'Not only do our regional students get to travel and experience life outside Australia, they also build strong relationships with some of the country's closest neighbours,' Professor Dewar said. 

'These scholarships enable students to experience opportunities they might otherwise not be able to access, which from a learning perspective is crucial.' 

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