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Australia announces 2020 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program

New Colombo Plan Mobility Program

The Australian government announced that 1607 domestic students will undertake study and work-based experiences in India as part of the 2020 New Colombo Plan Mobility Program.


The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Australian government, providing Australian students opportunities to gain cross-cultural awareness and experiences that are vital to today’s globally connected workforce.


The New Colombo Plan involves a scholarship program for study of up to one year and internships or mentorships, and a flexible mobility grants program for both short and longer-term study, internships, mentorships, practicums and research.


Acting Australian High Commissioner to India, Rod Hilton, welcomed the announcement and said that India continues to remain one of the most popular destinations for Australian students under this program.


“Next year, Australian universities will mobilise students through 64 exciting projects in India including one on the development of Indian physical education programs and another on improving organic waste management and drinking water quality.”


He further added: “We are supporting a new generation of young Australians who want to deepen their understanding of the people, the business environment and the culture in India, strengthening the ties between our nations.”


In addition to the 1607 students who received mobility grants, six Australian undergraduate students have been awarded the prestigious New Colombo Plan scholarship to live, study and undertake internships in India in 2020.


“I am sure the experiences, the friendships and the professional connections that these scholars make in India will shape them and Australia’s engagement with India for many years to come,” Hilton added.


In the 2020 Mobility Program round, the New Colombo Plan will support more than 11,196 students from 40 Australian universities to participate in 685 projects in 36 locations across the Indo-Pacific.


Since 2014, over 60,000 students have been awarded New Colombo Plan scholarships and mobility grants, demonstrating the Australian government’s commitment to building mutual understanding and partnerships in the region.


Scholar Talk

Zachary (Zac) Wolff, Bachelor of Commerce/ Bachelor of Science – Advanced Mathematics, University of Sydney, spent one year in India as a New Colombo Plan Scholar 2018. Zac shares his experience.


“My time in India began with an exchange semester in Economics at Hindu College, University of Delhi. Learning about the complexities of economic growth and development economics in a country where it is so relevant and with some of the brightest Indian students from varied socio-economic backgrounds, was an amazing opportunity.


Since the college attracts students from all over India, I also got to learn about the variety in the Indian experience and the drastic difference in culture, language and social infrastructure in different parts of the country. While in Delhi, I also took Hindi language courses, tutored mathematics at Salaam Baalak Trust, joined an expatriate cricket team and explored the city with my Indian classmates. Salaam Baalak Trust is an Indian non-profit and non-governmental organization, which provides support for street and working children in the inner cities of New Delhi, and Mumbai.


I did an internship in Data Analytics with Pollinate Energy, an Australian social enterprise bringing solar power to slums in India. Also an internship in Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing with Infosys in Bengaluru, one of the largest technology companies in the world.


One of the most formative experiences was on Jagriti Yatra, a 15-day, 8000km train journey across India with motivated young social entrepreneurs. We travelled the country to meet role models, learn about issues faced in regional areas and help to build rural India through enterprise. The Yatra was launched in 2008 by Jagriti Sewa Sansthan, an NGO that promotes entrepreneurship.


New Colombo Plan Mobility Program
Zac Wolff at a train station (left in blue jacket)


Overall, my New Colombo Plan program in India was the best experience of my university life. I was able to experience a completely different education system, befriend and learn from future Indian leaders, travel to over 20 Indian states and learn so much about India, one of Australia’s most important strategic partners.”


According to Dr Michael Spence, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Sydney, “As society changes and confronts new challenges, university graduates need to have the capacity to contribute to and provide leadership in a changing world; they need the skill-sets that will make them global citizens. The government’s New Colombo Plan scholarships are a great way for our students to gain these invaluable skills.”


For more information on the New Colombo Plan, visit



Featured Image Source: ANU

Author: Malini Sen

Malini Sen is an independent education journalist and content specialist with more than 25 years of work experience in India and UK. She is the former editor of a national education publication for one of India’s largest media groups. And also an international student.


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