An international relations student who speaks five languages and an environmental remediation enthusiast have been awarded incredible 12-month adventure overseas as Flinders University’s New Colombo Plan (NCP) scholars for 2020.
Flinders students frequently participate in the shorter New Colombo Plan mobility scholarships, but last year marked the University’s first recipient of a prized NCP Scholarship award.
This year saw a doubling in Flinders student success, with two winners announced yesterday and preparing to ‘set sail’ for Indonesia.
Bayan Yazdani will begin his quest in January 2020, heading to Indonesia to study international relations at Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung. Following this, he hopes to complete the internship segment of his scholarship with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at its Australian office in Taipei.
The triple degree student is studying a Bachelor of Psychology, Bachelor of Letters (French) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations at Flinders University.
Born in Iran, Mr Yazdani moved to Australia at the age of three and has spoken fluent Persian and English since childhood. He is also fluent in mandarin and conversational in French and Cantonese.
The ability to speak multiple languages combined with a robust understanding of diverse cultures will be valuable assets as he pursues his aspiration to work in international relations.
Last year he visited New Caledonia through an NCP mobility grant, together with Hong Kong through a Hong Kong Endeavour Award where he learnt Cantonese – the only student in the class whose first language was not Chinese.
Mr Yazdani says he will return to Flinders in 2021 to finish his psychology honours year, together with a couple of outstanding topics in his other programs.
He is currently in Canberra undergoing training for the trip, together with fellow Flinders student Hannah Trudinger who will also visit Indonesia through her NCP scholarship.
Ms Trudinger was inspired to apply for a scholarship following the success of her friend, Flinders’ first NCP scholar Legal student Hannah Brimstone, who is now in the final weeks of her exchange to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.
“I really didn’t expect to win!” Ms Trudinger says.
Ms Trudinger has completed three years of a Bachelor of Science majoring in clean technology, and will now complete her honours year in Indonesia. She will spend six-months at the University of Surabaya in East Java, followed by a six-month internship yet to be finalised, but likely to be in either Sumatra or Bali.
She is concurrently studying a Bachelor of Letters in Indonesian. Already fluent in Indonesian, Ms Trudinger’s trip will improve her cultural understanding of the region while building knowledge in her honours topic on the remediation properties of mangroves.
“My general focus is climate change mitigation, but I’m particularly interested in the carbon sequestration capacity of mangroves, which is the topic of my thesis,” she explains.
Ms Trudinger intends to take a study break for most of next year and leave for Indonesia in September, commencing her immersion with the language training component.
In its sixth year, the NCP scholarships are an Australian Government initiative run by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. They are designed to help undergraduates develop a deep understanding of the Indo-Pacific region and equip them with valuable cross-cultural skills.
Mr Sebastian Raneskold, Vice-President and Pro Vice-Chancellor (International) at Flinders University says: “It’s great to see Flinders students successfully pursuing NCP scholarship opportunities, they make the University proud.
“A lengthy cross-country learning experience will be valuable for Ms Trudinger and Mr Yazdani and is likely to shape the direction of their future careers,” says Mr Raneskold.