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Australian university students gain valuable experience in Asia and the Pacific.



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JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Dr Brendan Nelson MP Minister for Education, Science and Training

AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS GAIN VALUABLE EXPERIENCE IN ASIA AND THE PACIFIC

19 March, 2003 MIN 307/03

More students than ever before will be able to study with an Asian-Pacific university this year under a programme supported by both the Commonwealth Government and the Australian Vice-Chancellors’ Committee.

International scholarships will be provided to 350 Australian university students under the Australian University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) programme to enable them to experience first-hand what it’s like to live and study in the Asia-Pacific. This is the largest number of students ever to be supported in a single round of the programme.

By the end of the 2003 round, 3129 Australian students will have benefited from the Australian UMAP Programme since its introduction.

This year the Commonwealth Government will provide $1.4 million in funding to 29 institutions for the scholarships.

Students, mainly undergraduates, will be able to study for one or two semesters at a university within the Asia-Pacific region. Students are given tuition fee waiver and receive full academic recognition for successful overseas study in a broad range of disciplines.

"International education exchanges such as UMAP foster closer personal ties, cultural understanding and tolerance which are particularly important in the current climate of global uncertainty," Dr Nelson said.

Australia is a primary exporter of education, pulling in an estimated $5 billion in income alone this year. With some 150,000 international students currently studying with Australia universities, this programme is a valuable initiative to redress the imbalance by assisting Australians students to study abroad.

President of the Australian Vice-Chancellors' Committee (AVCC), Professor Deryck Schreuder, said UMAP was an excellent example of a successful partnership between Government and the universities.

"Students are able to gain valuable experience through this programme as well as contribute to the institutions at which they study. The programme facilitates an enormously beneficial exchange for students, including helping them to develop personal and professional contacts by studying at a university in another country," said Professor Schreuder.

Exchanges supported under the 2003 round of the Australian UMAP Programme include:

• two undergraduate students from Curtin University of Technology will undertake a 12 week programme at Maejo University in Thailand;

• three undergraduate students from the University of Queensland will undertake a 34 week Japanese language programme at Waseda University, Sophia University or Shimonoseki University in Japan; and

• four undergraduate students from La Trobe University will undertake a 12 week programme including supervised, accredited work experience at East China Normal University, China.

In 2003, student placements include:

Country Number of Students

Canada 59

Chile 10

China 48

Hong Kong 17

Indonesia 12

Japan 48

Malaysia 12

Mexico 24

Philippines 12

Singapore 2

South Korea 11

Taiwan 2

Thailand 17

USA 76

Full details of the successful 2003 UMAP exchanges are available online at: www.dest.gov.au/international/awards/umap.htm

For further information: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

AVCC: Vicki Thomson 0417 808 472

Dept of Education, Science & Training: Alison Richens 0412 652 590