The New Colombo Plan was a cornerstone for social entrepreneur and development leader Thomas Da Jose
2016 New Colombo Plan (NCP) Thailand Scholar Thomas Da Jose is used to having many balls in the air. He is the founder of Masy Consultants, an Australian social enterprise working to provide water, sanitation and hygiene access for vulnerable communities in the Indo-Pacific, as well as a full-time student at the University of Sydney.
Thomas credits his experience as an NCP Scholar in Thailand for being a catalyst for building relationships in the region ─ many of which developed into strong friendships and have supported the growth of Masy Consultants in managing social infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific.
“Many current and former team members from Masy Consultants were founded on friendships formed throughout my NCP experience.”
This widespread connectivity and opportunity to share ideas with like-minded professionals is what first drew Thomas to apply for an NCP Scholarship.
“Of particular interest to me was the NCP community, making friends from across the world, stepping outside my comfort zone, and developing my professional craft through a range of experiences.”
Thailand was a familiar host location for Thomas, a country where he had already developed a deep connection with the people and culture while teaching English in Thailand’s rural provinces.
As a key hub in South-East Asia, Thomas also knew Thailand represented an enabling environment to pursue a career as a humanitarian engineer.
Thomas studied international business management at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, along with learning the Thai language, which helped Thomas to better understand cultural behaviours and build relationships.
Thomas also had the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders in Thailand as an intern at Meinhardt and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
In the years since completing his NCP Scholarship, Thomas has used his experiences to establish himself as an emerging leader in Australia-Asia relations, recently being announced as a Westpac Future Leader Scholar.
His NCP connections also helped him co-found the ASEAN-Australia Strategic Youth Partnership. He has also an alumnus of the Australian-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program.
For Australian undergraduates looking to follow in his footsteps, Thomas recommends showcasing examples of your leadership in improving the lives of others.
“I encourage everyone to reflect on how they see themselves making a difference in communities and ensure their story is woven into their application”
The NCP aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.
If you are interested in an NCP Scholarship, reach out to your university’s study abroad office.