The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in that region.
George is currently studying a Bachelor of Business (Hospitality Management) and is one of 125 scholars announced who will study and undertake internships across the Indo-Pacific this year.
Currently living and working in NSW, George is a full-time chef who has been completing his study part-time online with Torrens University Australia. When asked why he chose to study a Hospitality Management course. George explained, “I am interested in the cultural significance of food and the importance of sustainability and socially conscious gastronomy in the hospitality industry.”
Motivation for applying for the scholarship
This motivated him to apply for the New Colombo Plan scholarship as he, “wanted the opportunity to work and study abroad overseas, but even more so be immersed in and seek a deeper cultural understanding of another country.” As his area of study in hospitality is not traditionally seen as ‘academic’ he said, “I have a lot to offer in terms of innovation, problem-solving and critical thinking and as Australia is being faced with a skilled worker shortage in the Tourism and Hospitality industry, I believe this scholarship will help me build connections and skills to become a future leader in this area.”
Malaysia is a large contributor to international students in Australia and that adds relevance to what I can contribute on my return.
George chose Malaysia as his host country, with the plan to study at Taylor’s University. “The quality of the tourism and hospitality industry [in Malaysia], in addition to the education institutes available made Malaysia the strongest choice.”
He explains how “one of my interests as a chef is the development of Australian cuisine and how Australian migration patterns and geographical position in the Indo-Pacific influences the formation of national cuisine. With a country like Malaysia, there is a multitude of diverse cultural backgrounds that influence their national cuisine.”
Taking inspiration from their diverse layers of cuisine George hopes to, “explore how these different cultures have influenced the cuisine in Malaysia, and reflect on how this approach may be used in forming Australia’s culinary identity.”
Before commencing study in Malaysia, George plans to undertake local language training at the National University of Malaysia, to ensure he can immerse himself as much as possible in the culture, to ultimately reflect on his food and bring it back with him to Australia.
When asked why George believes the NCP scholarship is important he said, “it’s important for a broad array of students with diverse areas of study to gain a deeper cultural understanding of other nations in the region.”
Find out more information about the New Colombo Plan here.