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International higher education conference brings the world to WA

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More than 2000 higher education professionals from across the world will visit Perth for the 2024 Asia Pacific Association of International Education (APAIE) conference and exhibition from March 4-8.

Co-hosted by Curtin University, together with Western Australia’s other four universities, the APAIE conference will bring the region’s higher education sector together to forge strong global partnerships and enhance the student experience by creating new opportunities to learn abroad through study programs and collaborative projects.

Curtin Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the Curtin community was excited to showcase the Bentley campus to international visitors, including the University’s partners and representatives from its strategic alliance with the University of Aberdeen and University of Calgary.

“Our Bentley campus is a unlike any other in Western Australia, from our spectacularly refurbished TL Robertson Library, to the cutting-edge Exchange precinct where students, staff and the wider world meet among purpose-built student accommodation, restaurants, cafes and eateries,” Professor Hayne said.

“I look forward to welcoming APAIE delegates and Curtin partners from all over the world to our friendly and inclusive community and furthering important collaborations that will help create opportunities for our students.

“Studying abroad, student exchange programs and student mobility overall offer amazing opportunities and potential benefits to students to further enrich their university experience.”  

Creating globally minded graduates

Curtin graduate Mr Pratul Awasthi said his time studying abroad had an extremely positive impact on him and helped shape his life, both professionally and personally.

Mr Awasthi was one of the inaugural 40 scholars selected for the New Colombo Plan (NCP), a Federal Government initiative supporting Australian undergraduate students to study abroad to deepen relationships and understanding between countries in the Indo-Pacific region, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

Through the NCP, Pratul spent a semester studying at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore as part of his Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Commerce double degree studies.

Since completing his studies in 2016, Mr Awasthi has gone on to work as an oil and gas engineer and is currently a management consultant at multinational strategy firm, McKinsey and Company.

“I’d always had an interest in Asia and Singapore is a central hub for trade and finance,” Mr Awasthi said.

“I saw the NCP as a great opportunity to go away, study, build connections and build an understanding of the region.”

Mr Awasthi’s time as an NCP scholar sparked a passion for learning and working abroad, which saw him go on to study at Purdue University in the United States, return to Singapore for an internship and work for periods in Indonesia and Vietnam after graduating.

He says his global experience has been valuable throughout his career and his personal growth through the NCP completely changed his understanding of the world.

“Living in a country, you really get to understand what drives perspectives: what are people’s experiences, their motivations, their fears,” Mr Awasthi said.

“That understanding has helped me a lot when I’ve worked overseas; in the first couple of years of my career, I think it helped set me apart from a lot of the other young graduates.”

Mr Awasthi urged students to take advantage of opportunities to live and study abroad.

“When you’re in another country, things inevitably won’t always go as smoothly as they would if you just stay in your own city and in your own comfort zone, but you will grow as a person and learn so much about yourself,” he said.

“I genuinely believe it is the opportunity of a lifetime and you will develop long-lasting networks and friendships which will last throughout your career: I still have really important networks I built in Singapore 10 years ago.”

The 2024APAIE Conference and Exhibition is held at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, with this year’s theme being Collaborating for sustainable impact: partnerships across the Asia Pacific.

Curtin will have a dedicated space in the Australian Pavilion for Study Abroad and Exchange conversations.

As a truly global university with campuses around the Indian Ocean rim the Global Curtin stand will host Curtin’s Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Mauritius campuses as well as partners for business development opportunities.

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