2022 New Colombo Plan Scholar - Rhys Gaylard
Rhys Gaylard is a Bachelor of Law and Advanced Economics student who will begin studying at Yonsei University in South Korea in Semester 2, 2022. As a recipient of the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Rhys has been funded for his exchange in South Korea, as well as an additional internship experience.
Rhys comes from a Korean background, which has shaped his decision to study at Yonsei University. Born in Port Lincoln, South Australia, he is half-Korean and lived in Seoul for three years as a child. This experience has translated into a strong desire to live and study in South Korea as an adult, with an additional goal of developing his Korean language skills.
“I have been fortunate enough to travel around the world growing up and as a result, I have developed a fascination in global politics and organisations such as the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the United Nations.”
On the process of applying for the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship, Rhys says:
“One thing that pleasantly surprised me was the level of seniority of those involved in the NCP Scholarship application process. For example, one of the people on my interview panel was a former deputy head of mission to South Korea. During my interview, she was able to share some insight into the roles and responsibilities of being a diplomat, which I found incredibly interesting and has provided me with a source of inspiration for my career moving forwards.
“When I graduate, I am interested in working in diplomacy and have been keeping a keen eye on the DFAT Graduate Program. The opportunity to study and intern in South Korea will allow me to acquire some of the skills and experiences necessary to help me represent Australia in a region which has experienced heightened tensions in recent years. In particular, I hope to develop a deep understanding of the cultural nuances that both sets Australia and South Korea (and the broader Indo-Pacific region) apart, but that can also be used to bring us closer together too.”
One of the aspects of his experience that Rhys is looking forward to is developing his Korean language skills in-country:
“To be honest, I have been trying to learn Korean for quite some time, but I have found it difficult without being immersed in an environment where I am forced to speak and improve my skills. I can’t wait to live in South Korea, take dedicated language classes, and develop my language skills to the point that I am able to communicate with locals, whether it be at university, whilst playing sports, or in my internships.”
In ten years, Rhys hopes to be working as a diplomat for DFAT, ideally at the Australian Embassy in Seoul putting his NCP program to use.
Keep up with Rhys’ journey via our Instagram.