Aust student completes study at Divine Word

Youth & Careers

The first Australian student to study in Papua New Guinea as part of the prestigious Australian government’s New Colombo Plan scholarship programme this year has just returned home.
Gina Zheng arrived in mid-July and had been studying towards her double degree in Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (Development Studies) at Divine Word University in Madang for the last three months.
“It has been an incredibly humbling and eye-opening experience for me as Australia’s inaugural New Colombo Plan scholar to Papua New Guinea,” Zheng said.
“The immense learning support I received from World Wide Fund and the opportunity to work collaboratively alongside students with Equal Playing Field, have made my time in Papua New Guinea highly formative and meaningful.”
She said she was leaving with a renewed understanding of Australia’s closest neighbour and lifelong memories.
“I am very grateful for the support provided to me by all my colleagues, peers and friends,” she said. “This opportunity through the New Colombo Plan has absolutely solidified my professional interest in pursuing sustainable development and youth and women’s empowerment in the Melanesian region.”
Zheng met with the Australian High Commission staff in Port Moresby and told them that she took part in all aspects of student life and joined her DWU classmates in both curricular and extracurricular activities.
Zheng also undertook an internship with the World Wide Fund and supported non-governmental organisation Equal Playing Field, assisting with implementation of their first gender-equality tertiary programme.
Australian Deputy High Commissioner Bronte Moules congratulated Zheng for successfully completing her studies and for being an outstanding ambassador for Australia.
“The New Colombo Plan scholarship is a prestigious award and we are delighted that Gina chose Papua New Guinea as her study destination,” Moules said.
“Gina has contributed to the Papua New Guinea-Australia partnership, building strong life-long connections with her peers and teachers and enhancing her understanding of Papua New Guinea.”