Mish Khan: 2017 Fellow Myanmar

New Colombo Plan
Friday, April 24, 2020 - 12:00
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Completing a New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship program in Myanmar provided Mish Khan with the opportunity to connect with different world views and develop a deep understanding of the aspirations and complexities of Myanmar.


Applying for the NCP

Studying a Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Arts (Asian
Studies) at the Australian National University, Mish received the prestigious
NCP scholarship in 2017.

Receiving an NCP scholarship was crucial for 2017 NCP Fellow
Mish Khan to spend time outside of Australia and enabled access to
opportunities that may not have been possible without the financial support and
esteemed backing of the NCP.

Inspired by the unique opportunity to undertake extended
study and work in Myanmar as a young Australian, she applied for the scholarship
program and attributes her confidence for this to her NCP mobility experience.

“I took part in the NCP in the
winter break of my first year of university, spending four weeks in Tokyo on a
mobility program. This experience helped me feel confident about applying for
the full scholarship to spend my last year of university studying law in

NCP Myanmar

She undertook Burmese language training, studied at the
University of Yangon, and completed an internship at the International
Investors for Minerals Development Association (IIMDA).

Throughout her program, Mish established relationships in
the region by connecting with a broad network of professionals ranging from
lawyers, non-governmental organisations, academics to musicians and start-ups.

 “I have learned to connect with a wide range
of people, who have different personalities, aspirations and worldviews, and
can use this human connection to propel forward relationships and collaborative

The NCP also enabled Mish to develop a unique insight into
the Australia-Myanmar relationship.

“I was proud to be an Australian
scholar studying in Myanmar because of Australia’s unique friendship with the
Indo-Pacific region. Many Burmese people had some form of connection to
Australia, whether through a relative or friend who is a part of Australia’s
Burmese diaspora, someone they knew studying abroad in Australia, or that
Australia maintained a presence in Myanmar during periods of military rule
where many large Western countries chose to exit.”

Mish’s experience highlights the value of studying in the
region to gain understanding of another country through experience, beyond the
boundaries of a classroom, a textbook or mainstream media. Reflecting on her
NCP experience, Mish developed a greater understanding of the opportunities and
challenges that Myanmar faces.

“Being in Myanmar, a country in
transition, helped me appreciate the dichotomy between the aspirations and the
complexities at play in a region like the Indo-Pacific. While Myanmar is famous
for being naturally beautiful, resource-rich and immersed in rich cultural
history, and while the youth in Yangon listen to hip-hop and love Krispy Kreme,
if you take a step back and look at the political and economic challenges it
wishes to resolve, there is still a lot of support it needs to achieve its
desired potential as a nation.”

Career after NCP

Following her NCP experience, Mish’s engagement with a
variety of professions and communities motivated her to join the diplomatic
profession, which would offer the ability to work with the diverse range of
people living in Indo-Pacific countries and understand their worldviews and passions.
Mish seeks to continue working within the Indo-Pacific region wherever