With the rise of Asia as a main player on the world stage in what has become known as the Asian Century , the Australian Government has released a White Paper encouraging Australia to embrace its place in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.
The paper argues that Australia s economic future is tied to the success of Asia and that it is in the nation s best interests to develop stronger connections within the region.
Although Australia already has a long history of engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, the White Paper recognises that there are still opportunities to develop stronger ties with Asia. One of the key ways of forging stronger connections is through education.
So how does this apply to you?
- The White Paper has called for universities to substantially increase the number of Australian students studying Asian culture and Asian languages in Australia.
- It encourages universities to establish closer links with regional institutions by building partnerships with Asian institutions and increasing study abroad and exchange opportunities.
- While it is unlikely that Asian studies will become mandatory, the White Paper presents a good argument for students to take up these studies to increase their own employment prospects.
As part of the government s plan to develop stronger educational ties with Asia, it has announced the new AsiaBound Grants Program, which will help up to 10,000 Australian students take up a variety of study abroad opportunities in Asia, including clinical placements. The scheme is designed to remove the barriers for Australian students to study in Asia, encouraging them to experience Asia first hand and develop lifelong friendships and networks.
As part of the scheme:
- university and VET students will be eligible to receive grants of between $2000 and $5000 for short-term study and semester-long exchange opportunities in Asia
- the OS-HELP loan scheme will be broadened to allow more students to access increased loan amounts, with the maximum amount increasing to $7500 in 2014 and eligibility extended to postgraduate students in Commonwealth Supported Places
- grants of $1000 will be available for students to take up intensive Asian language study prior to their study abroad.