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AIIA WA Bursary

About the Bursary program 

The Australian Institute of International Affairs for WA Inc. (AIIA WA) launched the AIIA WA Bursary for Studies in Asia program in December 2011 as an initiative to encourage and support students of WA universities to undertake educational activity in countries of Asia. However as of 2017 the Bursary is now open to all young Western Australians under the age of 30.

The initiative was established on the basis of the Institute’s overall mission of promoting interest in and understanding of international affairs, and is supported entirely through donations by AIIA members and supporters.

Thanks to the generous backing of the program to date, the AIIA WA has been able to gift $2,000 bursaries to two students each year towards their chosen educational activities in Asia. In return, the AIIA WA has enjoyed hearing from returned bursary recipients on their experiences and the difference the program has made to their own personal and academic development.

Owing to the success of the WA program, this model has since been adopted by the AIIA at a national level with the establishment of the Euan Crone Asian Awareness Scholarship in 2013.

While donations over AU$500 qualify donors to be recognised as an official Friend of the AIIA, all donations to the AIIA WA Bursary for Studies in Asia program are gratefully received and are tax deductable. A receipt is provided to donors before the end of the financial year for tax purposes.

If you would like to consider donating to the AIIA WA Bursary for Studies in Asia program and supporting the improvement in Asian literacy amongst our leaders of tomorrow, please follow the link below to donate online or contact us for alternative ways of donating via cheque, manual credit card payment or via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).

Donation instructions and a form for manual payments (such as cheques) can be downloaded here.


Applying for the AIIA WA Bursary

The AIIA WA traditionally offered two $2,000 bursaries annually to support students of WA universities to undertake educational activity in countries of Asia and as of 2017 this offer is extended to all young Western Australians under the age of 30.

Bursary applications open in February each year and close the following month on 30th March. Review and selection processes take place during April and May.

To apply, applicants must complete the official application form and attach their academic transcript and personal statement. It is important that applicants declare any other sources of funding for the proposed educational activity as it is not expected that the bursary will cover all necessary expenses. Applications for the 2017 Bursary will open on the 27th of February and the application form and eligibility criteria form can be viewed here:

AIIA WA Bursary Application Form 2017

AIIA WA Bursary Selection Criteria 2017

A selection panel consisting of academic representatives from each of the five Western Australian universities (also members of the AIIA WA) review all applications and make a recommendation to the AIIA WA Bursary Committee. In 2017, the judging panel consists of:

  • Dr Jane Hutchison | Murdoch University | Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Studies
  • Dr Daniel Baldino | The University of Notre Dame | Senior Lecturer and head of Politics and International Relations program
  • Dr Kelly Gerard | The University of Western Australia | Lecturer in Political Science and International Relations
  • Mr Chris Ryan | Curtin University| Lecturer in International Relations

An additional Judge will be chosen from AIIA WA

Successful and unsuccessful applicants are notified as soon as the Bursary Committee has accepted the recommendations from the selection panel.

Successful applicants must provide evidence of the planned travel before the bursary is paid.

Following the funded educational activity, bursary recipients are required to provide a report to the AIIA WA Bursary Committee and may also be invited to give a short talk on their experience at an AIIA WA event. Upon return, bursary recipients are encouraged to attend AIIA WA events and to become involved with the AIIA WA Young Professionals Network to share their experiences and encourage other young Western Australians to apply for the bursary program. 

NOTE: All applications must be emailed to wa.bursary@internationalaffairs.org.au by midnight on 30th of April, with the applicant’s name in the subject headline.

2017 Bursary program

Applications for the 2017 Bursary Program will be accepted until the 30th of April.

All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application as soon as the selection process has been finalised. It is anticipated that this will be in late April or early May.

Like and follow the AIIA WA Facebook page to keep up to date with all the latest news and events!

2016 bursary recipients have been announced

After working through a record number of applications, the judging panel and the bursary committee are proud to announce that two recipients of the 2016 AIIA WA Bursary to study in Asia are James Panarettos and Maija Ala-Kauhalouma. The winners will each receive $2,000 to put towards their educational endeavours.

is studying a Bachelor of Philosophy (Accounting and Finance) at the University of Western Australia. He is currently completing his Honours in Economics and is studying in Singapore as a New Colombo Plan Fellow. James will put the bursary towards travelling to Peking University in China. There he will spend six months researching development economics, with a particular focus on poverty in China.

Version 3
Maija is completing a Masters in Development Studies at Murdoch University. She will be attending the 7th University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Hanoi, Vietnam, in August. Maija is passionate about volunteering, gender rights and education, and is hoping to gain a global perspective on these issues at the Symposium.  Maija also works as a Community Development Officer with the City of Subiaco, and will be looking to bring back knowledge gained at the Symposium and apply it to her work with her local community.
Maija 1 Profile 2016
The AIIA WA would like to thank all applicants for putting a great amount of time, effort and thought into their applications. The applications were of a very high standard and demonstrated a great interest in international affairs. We would like to welcome all applicants to our upcoming events.

What previous bursary winners have said

Natalia Saeed [2015] 

I will be travelling to Cambodia on a Humanitarian Design Summit through Engineers Without Borders Australia (EWB) in July 2015.Through this Summit I will gain hands on experience on how community develop projects are run using Development Technology with the involvement of the local community groups from the start to the finish of a project, therefore allowing for a greater effectiveness and success of the program. It will give me a chance to apply the knowledge and skills gained at university and apply them to a team design project in Cambodian community context. I am using the Design Summit as a research internship for my Masters, where I will be focusing on the effectiveness of EWB and its community partners in Cambodia, focusing on the involvement of women in these projects, if there exist any tensions between the Government and INGO’s and the overall sustainability and effectiveness of such programs on the local community.

Alex Whitebrook [2015]
In China I will be using my bursary to study at Fudan University in Shanghai, where I will complete units in International Relations and Asian Studies. I look forward to seeing how these subjects are taught in Shanghai, considering the current political climate of China under the tightening policies of Xi Jinping. Studying in Shanghai will give me valuable insight in to the current state of Chinese political thought and culture. Concurrently I will be studying Mandarin, which will enable my language skills to skyrocket in the cultural emersion that Shanghai will provide. I have been thoroughly enjoying learning Chinese during my time at the University of Western Australia, and look forward to learning much more. This bursary has helped enable me to arrange my study and afford the journey. I hope to make many new friends and connections for my future career.

Janelle May [2013]

The AIIA WA Bursary for Studies in Asia supported my aims to undertake field research in Indonesia for my Master of Arts (Asian Studies) thesis. The bursary enabled me to travel to and live in a small town in Central Java, Indonesia for 2 months researching the socioeconomic impacts of international organic rice certification for small-holder farmers in the region. The bursary is a great support, especially for post-graduate students like myself, where there are not many other funding options available

Hayley Davis [2013]

In 2014 I started my career as a journalist at the South Western Times in Bunbury. I have always been passionate about journalism and civic education from a young age. After spending two months in Indonesia working as a journalism intern last year, I decided I want to work there for at least a few years. The culture and politics of the country captivate me. There are news stories everywhere you look. Reporting there would be such an adventure. I applied for the AIIA Bursary to pursue an immersion Indonesian language course so that I could become proficient in Bahasa Indonesia. Learning the language will hopefully allow me to transcend some communication barriers and report on the country and its peoples accurately and in depth. Through journalism, I eventually hope to foster greater intercultural understandings between Australia and Indonesia. I will take up the language course in the middle of 2014, and will relocate to Indonesia on a semi-permanent basis as soon as my finances allow and after a few years experience in the industry.

Anna Holmes [2012]

I am currently in my fifth year at The University of Western Australia, where I am studying towards a combined degree in Political Science and Law. I have also taken units in Indonesian up to specialist level, having developed a keen interest in the country and language since I first began taking Indonesian lessons in High School. This interest in Indonesia, as well as a hope to pursue an international career, led me to apply for the AIIA (WA) Bursary to undertake and educational experience in Asia. I went to live in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for five weeks so that I could attend one hundred hours of one-on-one Indonesian language tuition. While I was there I lived in a home-stay so that I could more readily immerse myself in the culture and get to know the local people. My time in Yogyakarta was a fantastic experience that gave me more confidence not only in my language abilities but also in myself and my career aspirations.

Michael Sheldrick [2012]

In terms of my program itself, I was able to travel to India in June 2012 to participate in a National Immunisation Round in which approximately 75 million children were vaccinated against polio. Not only was it a great experience professionally (following my work on The End of Polio campaign over the last two years), but also on a personal level it was so inspiring to witness firsthand one of the greatest success stories in public health history. I am incredibly grateful to AIIA for making this trip possible.


Are all WA students eligible to apply for the AIIA (WA) Bursary?

If you are a current undergraduate or postgraduate student at one of the five Western Australian universities, and will be a current student for the duration of your intended educational experience, you can apply for the bursary. Additional conditions are detailed below.

Do I have to be an Australian citizen or permanent resident?

Yes, you must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident in order to be eligible.

Do I have to be a member of the AIIA (WA)?

No, we have changed the eligibility requirements for 2016 so that it is no longer necessary to be a member of the AIIA (WA) to apply.

If you would like to become a member, student membership is  $50 per year. Please visit our membership page or email wa.branch@internationalaffairs.org.au  for more information.

Can I receive the AIIA (WA) bursary if I am currently receiving another scholarship?

Yes, bursary recipients may receive additional financial support from other scholarships. It is not expected that the AIIA (WA) bursary will cover all travel expenses.

Is the bursary restricted only to students of International Relations?

No, any student interested in undertaking study in Asia may be eligible to receive the bursary. Students of all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Are there any restrictions on what kind of educational activity I can undertake?

The AIIA (WA) bursary is open to support a broad range of educational experiences and is intended to enhance students’ appreciation of Asian culture and help them to become ‘Asia literate’. It is not necessary for the proposed educational activity to be in the same field of study as your university degree. However, the bursary may not be used to support personal travel, such as backpacking. See our profiles of previous winners for examples of the kind of activities the bursary can be used to support.

Can I apply for the AIIA (WA) bursary so I can complete an unpaid internship in Asia?

Yes, students wishing to undertake unpaid internships are eligible to apply.

Do I need to have all travel and educational arrangements confirmed before I can apply?

No, you can apply if you have not yet received confirmation of your intended educational program or travel plans. However, you must have a firm idea of the activity you wish to undertake, and at which institution. Applicants must begin making plans before the bursary is awarded. The bursary application will ask about your chosen institution, and it is advisable to make contact and start to make arrangements early. Bursary winners will be asked to demonstrate proof of travel arrangements (e.g. flight confirmation, acceptance into educational program) before they can receive funding.

Do I need to undertake my educational activity before a particular deadline?

No, there is no ‘deadline’ by which activities must be completed. However, if awarded the bursary, you will be required to demonstrate proof that your travel arrangements are confirmed.

Guidelines for the short personal statement:

Applicants are asked to provide a short personal statement of 1-2 pages. Applicants should give a brief outline of their academic experience to date, personal interests and career aspirations, and explain how their proposed educational experience relates to these. The personal statement should consider the questions:

  • What motivates you to undertake this educational experience?
  • What do you hope to gain from this educational experience?
  • How well does this educational experience relate to the AIIA objectives of promoting an interest in and understanding of international affairs?