Development Studies student Adam Kennedy is moving on to new adventures after his colossal New Colombo Plan Scholarship experience in Singapore.
The New Colombo Plan provides opportunities for Australian undergraduate students to live, study and work in the Indo-Pacific region. Excitingly now the program will also include New Caledonia and French Polynesia.
Hi to all back at home! It has been a while since I have updated you all on my travels and experiences of undertaking the New Colombo Plan – but here it is!
My journey came to an end in Singapore in late May, where I successfully completed my exchange at the National University of Singapore and began my internship program with the Housing Development Board (HDB) of Singapore. The internship experience was a once in a lifetime opportunity to observe and comment on how Singapore has successfully implemented a public housing system that houses over 85% of the 5 million population (82% owning their flats). The HDB has always taken great care in planning flats, blocks, estates and entire towns that are inclusive, open, integrated and accessible where residents are able to “live, work, play and learn” within their locality without the need of travelling long distances for services. The HDB have also achieved the key to appropriate urban density, where housing blocks do not seem too high, monotonous or over-baring by creating open park breaks and variation in size of blocks. On finishing my internship I presented my findings of two HDB towns to the Research and Planning Department Director, Dr Chong Fook Loong whom was able to provide tips on achieving the best urban living environment.
I departed Singapore to Brunei Darussalam in the beginning of July; Brunei is a small Sultanate to the north of the island of Borneo. Brunei has been extremely interesting culturally, politically, socially and in urban planning, with supreme control given to the Sultan of Brunei, much of the development and social progress is guided by his order. Bruneians’ are some of the richest inhabitants in South East Asia (due to the massive reserves of oil) and would be considered as developed (minority) world citizens. All Bruneian’s are extremely friendly and are willing to assist you in any need you have (they are also very switched on to their current social and political position). Importantly, the food variety is some of the best in Asia with daily night markets of fresh seafood, BBQ and Malay vegetarian cuisines to choose from!
During my stay in Brunei I have been interning at the Department of Town and Country Planning under the Ministry of Development: Department of Town and Country Planning, where I have been given a variety of urban development projects such as reviewing island conservation zonings, recommending urban design improvements and suggesting approaches to improve place making in the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan. The Brunei planning system has been extremely fascinating due to the many challenges of implementing and enforcing masterplans and receiving legal adoption by the Sultan.
As my time draws to an end with Singapore, Brunei and the New Colombo Plan I reflect back on all the great experiences I have had and many long-term friends I have made. I must say to any student out there thinking about applying – JUST DO IT!
This is truly a once in a lifetime experience that will allow you to see Asia and elected officials that many will never get the opportunity to see or meet.
The New Colombo Plan is also a major edge in employability after completing your studies, and best of all you are fully supported by the Australian Government every step of the way!
… So just do it already!
To find out more or apply, please find further information here.