Third scholarship group of Former North Korean students completes English studies

Mr Dong-Bae Kim; Ms Tonya Shallcross; Mr Alex Murphy; Dr Bronwen Dalton.
Mr Dong-Bae Kim; Ms Tonya Shallcross; Mr Alex Murphy; Dr Bronwen Dalton.

The Deputy Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in Sydney, Mr Dong-Bae Kim, Manager of the Australia Korea Foundation (Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) Ms Tonya Shallcross, and UTS’s Head of Department (Management), Dr Bronwen Dalton, were special guests at a Sydney farewell event for five students who has spent their formative years in North Korea.

The students have just completed an intensive 30-week Academic English program with UTS Insearch to improve their English language skills, meet people from many different countries and enhance bilateral relations between Australia and South Korea.

This unique scholarship program is a collaboration between UTS Insearch, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (through its Australia- Korea Foundation), and the South Korean Ministry of Unification (through its Hana Foundation). Running for three years, it has now been extended with a Memorandum of Understanding for a further three years, which will also grow the program from five to seven students each year.

The scholarship assists university-level students from North Korea, who are now South Korean citizens, to learn English.  It covers 30 weeks of English language tuition, return flights from South Korea to Sydney, and accommodation and living expenses in Sydney, with the total scholarship program valued at around $200,000 per annum.

Managing Director of UTS Insearch, Mr Alex Murphy is proud to be investing in improving the students’ English skills and support bilateral relations between Australia and Korea: “We believe that the scholarships and the students’ experiences in Sydney have enriched their education and career prospects and inspire a deep interest in Australia-Korea relations.”

One of the students William* reflected on his experience and his new global ambitions.

“When I stayed in Korea, I did not have enough chances to meet people who came from other countries. But now I have a lot of friends who came from Spain, France, Swiss, and Germany. I could not improve my speaking skills in my country because it is not easy to meet foreigners speaking English. However, after I came to Australia, a lot of things have made me change.  

“When I lived in Korea, to understand other cultures was really hard because I just learned other cultures through the text book. But I can understand culture differences directly, with meeting people who have different cultures.

“I was thankful to the Australia government and UTS because they give me a lot of chances for making dreams again. Before I just thought [I would be] only a robot engineer in Korea. However, after studying in Australia, I have another dream - I want to go abroad and get a PhD and live in harmony with more diverse cultures.”

Application for the 2019 English Language Scholarships for Former North Korean Students  are open until 8 March 2019 via the Hana Foundation.