GK Member Awarded New Colombo Plan Scholarship

danielWe are excited to share that Daniel Eastwood-Whitaker, Golden Key member and president of the Swinburne University of Technology GK chapter in Melbourne, Australia, has been awarded a prestigious New Colombo Plan Scholarship from the Australian Government.

The New Colombo Plan is an initiative of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, initiated by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. It involves an international exchange scholarship for study of up to one year in Indo-Pacific countries and an internship for up to six months, aiming to deepen professional and personal relationships in the region, and build stronger cultural awareness. The program also offers a flexible mobility grants program for short and long-term study, internships, mentorships, clinical placements, practicums and research.

We had the chance to ask Daniel about himself and receiving this scholarship.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I live on the Mornington Peninsula, approximately 1 hour south of Melbourne, Australia where I have lived for my whole life. I went to Red Hill Consolidated Primary, and graduated from the Peninsula School in 2011. I started the Bachelor of Aviation (Management) / Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) in 2012 at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia and will finish my degree in 2015. When I am not studying, I work as a supervisor at the Dromana 3 Drive In Cinema, and also as a house painter across the Mornington Peninsula.

Where are you going for the exchange program? Why did you choose this location?
I will be heading to China in mid 2015 to finish my degree, and from there I will be conducting an internship in an area of aviation or finance before my return in mid 2016. I decided to select China as my destination, among the many offered under the NCP Scholarship, for a number of reasons. My initial exposure to China was through my studies at high school of Mandarin, Chinese history and culture; this is where I developed my initial interest. Continuing my studies at Swinburne, I began to understand the importance of China’s role in the future economic growth within the region, and how important Australia – China relations would be in the present and near future. Armed with these experiences, for me China was the place to go.

When you embark on your exchange, what main activities will you be involved in?
The main goals of the New Colombo Plan are to enhance the relationships between Australia and Indo-Pacific countries by forming personal and business relationships, as well as enhancing the knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region in Australia. When in China, I aim to fulfill these goals by immersing myself in university life, as well as in the local community by engaging with the locals through various events, extracurricular activities and volunteering. My role in China is very much as an Ambassador of Australia, and I will represent the best of Australian students in every opportunity I am given.

What are you looking forward to the most?
What I look forward to the most in my experience in China is really developing an understanding of Chinese culture, history and business practices. These things can be better learned through experience, rather than in the class room. As well as visiting the big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, I will travel to regional China to gain an insight into a more traditional China. Throughout this experience I hope to make new and lasting friendships.

What knowledge and experience do you hope to bring back with you to Australia?
When I return to Australia, I hope to use what I have learned in my time in China to enhance our relationship with the Chinese people, both on a personal and professional level. I hope to gain employment when I return to Australia with an international focus within the Indo-Pacific region, where I can use my knowledge and experience from China to increase Australia – China relationships and to increase the prosperity of both of our nations.

How has Golden Key helped you achieve your potential?  
The New Colombo Plan has three key criteria when applying; demonstrated academic excellence, leadership in the community and an understanding of the NCP experience enhances their cultural awareness, employment potential and the ability to operate in new and changing environments. These NCP goals and requirements align very much with the values of Golden Key, Academics, Leadership and Service. Golden Key played a key part throughout my selection process. I used my experiences within Golden Key to prove to the NCP team at DFAT that I have what it takes to represent Australia and fulfil the goals of the NCP scholarship.

Our congratulations go out to Daniel. Feel free to contact Daniel by email at deastwoodwhitaker@gmail.com or connect with him on LinkedIn.

About Golden Key

Golden Key is the world's largest collegiate honor society. Membership into the Society is by invitation only and applies to the top 15% of college and university sophomores, juniors and seniors, as well as top-performing graduate students in all fields of study, based solely on their academic achievements. As an international honor society with more than 400 chapters at colleges and universities around the world, Golden Key is committed to a high standard of scholastic achievement, and an ethos of integrity, innovation, respect, collaboration and diversity.