(KPL) Strong people-to-people and educational links between Australia and Laos continue to grow, with a new group of Australian students choosing to undertake educational experiences in the Lao PDR under the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan mobility programme.
The students, who are undergraduates from Curtin University and the University of Adelaide, will travel to Laos in 2019 to participate in short term research and practical activities in physiotherapy and biology.
Australia’s Ambassador to the Lao PDR Jean-Bernard Carrasco said “Australia has been supporting human resource development in the Lao PDR for more than 50 years, with over 2,400 Lao professionals benefiting from an Australian education experience and developing an understanding of our country,” Carrasco said. “The New Colombo Plan gives us the means to ensure this exchange occurs in both directions.”
Ambassador Carrasco stated that young Australians, particularly the country’s future leaders, need a stronger knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region, and Australian students have a lot to learn from neighboring countries.
“For these 21 New Colombo Plan students, their 2019 placements in the Lao PDR in the physiotherapy and biology fields will be an exciting opportunity to experience this fascinating country, hone their professional skills and establish new friendships and links between Australia and Laos that will last a lifetime.”
During their time in the Lao PDR, the Australian undergraduates from two of Australia’s leading universities will exchange knowledge and build improved professional networks with Lao counterparts and organizations, and also gain a greater understanding of Laos and South-East Asia.
Mr Chris Tate, an Australian National University student, said he developed both personally and professionally during his visit to the Lao PDR with the New Colombo Plan in June this year.
“The Australian Government’s support has allowed me to travel to Laos and work in an environment unlike anything I would normally experience in Australia. With the New Colombo Plan I have been able to apply the skills I developed during my degree and have been pushed beyond my usual comfort zone.”
“I have had so many amazing experiences here, especially the food and the beautiful landscapes Laos has to offer, and I have loved getting to know the Lao people who always do their best to help you in any way they can, even if our different languages sometimes made it difficult.”
The New Colombo Plan is a signature initiative of the Australian Government which aims to strengthen knowledge of among future leaders by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
Since 2015, 185 New Colombo Plan students have travelled to Laos to study a diverse range of fields, including veterinary and health science, nursing and midwifery, farming systems, water resource management, business management, engineering and archaeology.