Asian trips await more than 240 students

More than 240 La Trobe University students will travel to nine Asian countries for up to three months on placements, exchanges and study-tours under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan.

In Malaysia, there will be government and industry internships in Kuala Lumpur and teaching-practice opportunities as far afield as Kuching and Sabah for up to 10 weeks.

Twenty-four physiotherapy and occupational therapy students will work with orphans, impoverished and disabled children in the De Nang region of Vietnam for up to four weeks.

In the Philippines, students will look at women’s reproductive health rights, indigenous refugee settlements, socio-economic development and governance, while there will be clinical placements in Cambodia, India, Indonesia and Nepal.

Thirty-two La Trobe University students will be offered semester exchanges to study at universities in Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, in New Delhi, Noida and Sonipat in India, and in Beppu, Fukuoka, Kumamoto and Saga in Japan.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said: “Through the New Colombo Plan, a new generation of Australians are gaining in-depth knowledge of our region and forging professional and personal networks that will drive our prosperity for decades to come.

“Private sector support has been instrumental in the success of the New Colombo Plan. In 2018, nearly one in three projects will include in-kind or financial support from the private sector.”

Eden Mezzatesta and Emma Colvin are two nursing and midwifery students who have recently returned from Nepal.

Eden said she would advise students try their best to get a scholarship. “My experience taught me a lot about how people have to adapt to what they have access to and make it work for them, which I saw occur many times,” she said.

“Nepal has a lot of poverty and for those who visit for the nursing and midwifery program, they need to be aware that they will probably see things that they're not used to.”

Emma said: “Travelling to a new country taught me about how I adapt to new situations with new climate, language, foods and culture. It was beautiful to see how the Nepalese people lived simple lives with few material things yet be so content with their lives.”

As for healthcare, Emma said: “They did not have access to the technology and equipment that we do, simple things like IV pumps and observation machines were practically non-existent. However they had principles of patient-centred care and a huge involvement with family.”

Media contact: Tim Newhouse – – 03 94792315 / 0416306759