The project aims to:
- Advance empirical knowledge by identifying and explaining the nature of Australian students’ learning in and engagement with the Indo-Pacific through the NCP program;
- Analyse whether and how their learning and engagement with the region affects their identity, career directions and future;
- Identify how universities can engage students in post-study abroad activities to support the integration of the study-abroad experiences and extend them for educational purposes;
- Identify the implications of the findings for government and institutional policy and practice for maximising the potential benefits and impacts of students’ learning in and engagement with the region.
While Australia has had strong growth in inbound student numbers from China, its outbound mobility to China (and to Asia more broadly) is also facing an exponential rise. The New Colombo Plan or NCP has been an important enabler of this reciprocal mobility trend, which supports 23% of Australian students undertaking learning abroad. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade data shows that Indonesia, China, India, Vietnam and Japan are the top five destinations for NCP mobility students in 2019.
Times Higher Education. Study abroad follow-up should include all students.
The Abbott Government’s New Colombo Plan and predecessor schemes from the Rudd and Gillard governments have “potential to offer enormous benefits to Australian students, universities and communities,” according to new research for the International Education Association of Australia by Ly Thi Tran and Mark Rahimi from Deakin University.
This Research Digest provides a review of government policies and existing research on the NCP. It begins with an overview of the NCP and a discussion of the context for the Colombo Plan and New Colombo Plan. It provides comparisons with some international policy settings and trends on student mobility. It then discusses existing research on Australian students’ learning abroad via the NCP. This will be followed by a summary of the surveys on the NCP commissioned by DFAT. The Digest concludes with implications for practice and further research.
Learning in and engagement with the Indo-Pacific region has helped some students shift from ‘normal’ ways of thinking about life and career prospects, to being more aware of their own capabilities and potential (i.e. the ‘new possibles’) – something which they thought impossible prior to their experience in the region.
The number of Australian students studying overseas during their undergraduate years has increased rapidly over the past decade, with one in five undertaking learning abroad. A national investigation into the learning and cultural experiences of Australian students in Asia will examine how international study affects formation of their identity, career directions and future aspirations.