2022 New Colombo Plan Scholar - Cooper Williams
Cooper Williams is a Bachelor of Media and Bachelor of International Relations student. As a recipient of a 2022 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Cooper has been funded for his exchange and internship experience in Fiji and New Caledonia.
Cooper grew up in Rockhampton, Queensland, and Tasmania until he started University. He loves the natural world and enjoys photography, film, radio, and all things media.
Can you describe to us the moment you found out you were accepted as an NCP Scholar?
I was in the middle of a final assignment for a class. I was tired and almost at breaking point. I received an email from the New Colombo Plan team informing me I had been successful with my application. I had a skip in my step for the rest of the day and even treated myself to a bahn mi and an iced coffee from the uni cafes.
What made you choose your scholarship destination?
I believe there is a significant opportunity with media and journalism coverage in the Pacific region given its unique history, environment and array of challenges facing the region. Once I had narrowed down the region I wanted to apply for, I chose Fiji as my primary location due to its role as a media communications hub in the Pacific region. I further proposed New Caledonia as a second location as I have previously visited the country, observed significant opportunities for cross-cultural sharing and media coverage and found internship opportunities with a local film festival that excited me.
Have you been overseas before?
Yes. I have travelled to New Caledonia and Vietnam. Both were great experiences and gave me a real taste for experiencing the diverse way people live.
What is something you’re most excited about regarding your exchange?
I’m most excited about finding unique stories and environmental challenges to communicate within my host countries and back home. I am also looking forward to meeting my fellow scholars and collaborating with a group of highly intelligent and motivated people.
What’s something that surprised you about the process of applying for an NCP Scholarship?
I was surprised by the broad range of applicants and their fields of interest. The experience opened my eyes to the numerous possibilities to enhance cross-cultural connections. I have met people interested in languages, research, environmental law, film and journalism and countless other disciplines and backgrounds.
How will your exchange help you advance in your field?
My exchange will open the door to various networks and connections in the Pacific region and the opportunity to meet diverse people with untold stories to share. I am hoping the scholarship will give me credibility in the region and an understanding of the news/media sector.
Is there anything else that the scholarship will do to help benefit your career?
I am hoping to create a photography and film portfolio to share back home and with various media organisations. The scholarship will give me the opportunity to develop an in-depth insight into the gaps in media coverage of the area.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
My plans are constantly changing and there are so many things I am interested in and want to try. Currently, I would like to continue my interest in environmental conservation, photography, film, and other forms of media to become an established journalist, filmmaker and/or media practitioner specialising in Australia and the Pacific.