Aid to study in Asia
ONE of the most sought- after scholarships for students looking to study overseas is the Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Awards. The scholarship program is administered by the federal Department of Education, Science and Training, which has a five- year sponsorship agreement with the Cheung Kong Group, a Hong Kong- based property and investment conglomerate known for its philanthropic activities.
Under the agreement, the Australian Government and the Cheung Kong Group have each contributed $ 3.75 million in funding over five years, starting in 2004- 05.
The money is to support about 860 undergraduate students in institution- to- institution student exchange programs, and fund about 130 postgraduate and postdoctoral research fellowships.
Half of the awards are available to Australians undertaking study or research in Asia and half to Asian scholars doing the same in Australia.
A requirement of the Cheung Kong Group is that two- thirds of the awards are allocated to China ( including Hong Kong).
‘‘ This is the only public- private partnership offering scholarships of this type in Australia, although they are more common overseas,’’ says Helen Thompson, co- ordinator of the program in Australia.
‘‘ A motto of the Cheung Kong Group is ‘ learning has no boundaries’, and that is the principle that underlies the program. It is about breaking down the barriers between cultures, giving young people a greater level of insight as a part of their study.’’
Under the program, to date Australian students have studied in Asian institutions as varied as Kyoto University in Japan, the Hong Kong Institute of Education, the National Geophysical Research Institute in India, and Nong Lam University in Vietnam.
The fellowships are designed financial support for postgraduate to provide students to undertake short- term research ( up to six months), and are available to Australians students studying in Asia and Asian students studying in Australia. While the nature of the research is not specified by the program, the project should help the development of the social and economic environments of the region.
For example, in 2007 Australian postgraduate awardees researched mental health, interreligious violence and literary translation.
Thompson, who has compiled the stories of awardees into a booklet, notes that language differences have not been an obstacle for Australian students in the program.
‘‘ According to the feedback we have received, the students have not found many problems,’’ she says.
‘‘ They have performed well academically, and the experience has helped them when they returned to Australia.
‘‘ But many of them have said that they have learned as much from generally being in a different culture as from the actual university experience. Every story speaks volumes.’’ Up to 21 awards will be offered in 2008. Eight will go to Australian students to undertake research in China and Hong Kong, and three for students to undertake research in India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Undergraduate students can apply for an Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Award through the scholarships office of their university.
Postgraduate students should apply using an online form through the Department of Education, Science and Training website at: