Caitlin Gauci (fr 2014) has been named a New Colombo Plan Fellow and will study, live and work in the Maldives in 2016. This is a prestigious honour, as one of only four University of Sydney students to be named a Fellow. The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Australian Government, aimed at enhancing knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region in Australia. Caitlin will be the first student to study in the Maldives within this program.
The University of Sydney has published a piece about the scholarship and the recipients here.
Caitlin reflects on her upcoming opportunity below.
1. Can you tell us about the process you went through to becoming a New Colombo Plan fellow – why were you interested in it?
The New Colombo Plan interested me as a great way of preparing today’s students, and tomorrow’s leaders, to do business in the Indo-Pacific region. I wanted to become a NCP Fellow as it would enable me to be more Asia literate and engage with like-minded youth across Australian and in my host location. The application process started with a written proposal and panel interview at Sydney University, before two rounds of candidate screening by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.
2. What are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
I am most looking forward to meeting, and learning from, Maldivian students during my time on exchange. This is an opportunity for me to gain different perspectives on global issues.
3. What challenges do you anticipate in the year ahead?
The main challenges I anticipate during my time in the Maldives is learning to work within different cultural frameworks. I expect to learn that culture shock is not just about the food, language and surroundings, but extends to process, hierarchies and business etiquette as well.
4. Do you have any plans as yet following your time in the Maldives?
As part of my NCP exchange experience, I hope to intern for a Not-For-Profit in the Maldives. I am keen to witness the role that grassroots organisations play, with particular reference to how women interact with politics in their communities. I hope that this first-hand experience will assist me in pursuing further academic research in politics and diplomacy.
We congratulate Caitlin on receiving this honour and we look forward to following her journey in the Maldives throughout the next year.