Hello VU students!

My name in Renee Andrews and I am in my final year of a Bachelor of Education (P-12), majoring in Food Technology, at Victoria University in Melbourne.

I have just become Victoria University’s 2019 New Colombo Plan Alumni Ambassador, and I would like to share my journey with you!

The New Colombo Plan grant

As part of my tour to China, all food, accommodation and transport were covered by the New Colombo Plan (NCP) grant.

If we wanted to buy anything outside of meal times or do personal shopping, that was at our own cost.

Financially, this was ideal as I was working part-time and couldn’t afford to travel.

The study tour

During the week, our time was divided between cultural activities, school visits and group meetings regarding our assessments.

On weekends we visited tourist attractions and caught up on any work we needed to complete. Some of the activities we participated in included Chinese language classes, traditional tea-making, pottery and Tai Chi.

Learning about Chinese culture and the education system was a highly valuable experience and we gained huge respect for their traditions - socially, academically and culturally.

“With support from VU and the Australian Government, overseas study is a fantastic way to enhance academic learning and personal growth.”

Every morning for an hour before breakfast we would practise Tai Chi with our master. He was so graceful and attentive.

Becoming an NCP Alumni Ambassador

It’s important to make the most of the opportunities that are on offer to students, especially when the experience can help polish our profiles, broaden our networks and career paths, and possibly change our lives!

For me, this exciting journey began with an orientation with fellow ambassadors from other Australian universities in November 2018 in Canberra.

This marked the beginning of a 12-month tenure of voluntary service to represent VU in promoting the NCP and overseas study opportunities to the student body, as well as advocating for the value of Indo-Pacific study and work experience.

This is my study tour family with everyone’s buddies from Shijiazhuang Vocational Technology Institute on our last night together at a buffet restaurant.

My goals

During my ambassadorship, I will encourage students to step outside their comfort zone and explore another culture through a study tour or overseas study program.

Students of all disciplines should apply and take advantage of everything the NCP and VU’s overseas study programs can offer!

This was my favourite activity of the trip! We learnt about Chinese pottery and then tried it for ourselves.