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Determined to serve, Vlad signs up for diplomatic mission

As Australian borders remain closed and other nations impose strict regulations on visitors, international relations have been tough throughout 2020.

Amid this strange global setting, one young Australian is determined to contribute to the country’s international relations: Vlad Shulyak will soon head to Indonesia as a New Colombo Plan Fellow.

An initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the New Colombo Plan aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region.

Vlad Shulyak, a Bachelor of Business and Commerce/Bachelor of Arts student at the University of Southern Queensland, dreams of one day joining DFAT to help make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous.

“I immigrated to Australia from Ukraine, coming from a culturally and linguistically different environment,” Mr Shulyak said.

“I had to adapt to integrate into the Australian society, learn a new language and overcome culture shock. Now I want to use that experience to embrace Indonesian society and help increase their awareness of Australian culture and values.

“Indonesian students who study International Relations are likely the future leaders in Indonesia as prospective business people, diplomats, public servants and politicians.

“Studying with them and making connections can help develop an understanding between multicultural Australia and multicultural Indonesia.”

Vlad will start his journey with a six-week intensive language training at the Mataram Lingua Franca Institute via The Regional Universities Indonesian Language Initiative in conjunction with the University of New England.

Then he will move on to study international relations and Indonesian language at Parahyangan Catholic University before undertaking an internship.

“There are many options… but I’m personally really hoping to get a place with DFAT’s Australian Embassy in Jakarta,” Mr Shulyak said.

In addition to his studies, Vlad has proved a top University of Southern Queensland student: contributing linguistic skills as a volunteer translator for Ukrainian and Russian languages; joining the International Relations Student Association, and helping others achieve their academic and professional goals via his work in the Student Support team.

The upcoming journey won’t be his first diplomatic endeavour, having attended the Peace Summit of Emerging Leaders at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok earlier this year.

man smiling
USQ student Vlad Shulyak will soon head to Indonesia through a New Colombo Plan Scholarship