Physics student wins scholarship to study in Korea

December 24, 2015

Justin Freeman (centre) with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Governor General Peter Cosgrove

Justin Freeman (centre) with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Governor General Peter Cosgrove

A Murdoch University student will be studying in South Korea in 2016 thanks to a federal government scholarship.

Justin Freeman, who is in the third year of a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Nanotechnology course, will be based at Yonsei University in Seoul funded by a New Colombo Plan Scholarship worth up to $65,000.

He has also been made a New Colombo Plan Fellow which means he was the best candidate of all students going to Korea under the scholarship program.

“It’s a very surreal experience having won something that I wanted so much and worked so hard for,” said Justin, who was a botanist in environmental consulting for several years before beginning his degree course at Murdoch.

“When I read the email informing me of the scholarship, I almost jumped out of my skin with joy to know all my hard work had paid off.”

Justin said he hoped to gain a new awareness of the world of science and innovation through his experience in South Korea and to think in original ways.

“South Korea is one of the leading countries in scientific research and development as one of the highest investors per GDP in the world,” he said.  “They are also huge leaders in green technology and material science.

“I also hope to build a strong understanding of Korean culture and an ability to communicate with leaders in science and technology in Korea.  By building institutional relationships and networks at Yonsei University and around South Korea I am hoping to open up opportunities in research and collaborative projects that will benefit both Australia and South Korea in future scientific endeavours.”

With this in mind, Justin is also hoping to gain a summer internship at the Centre for Evolutionary Nanoparticles, a leading nanotechnology research facility at Yonsei University.

They are developing new nanomaterials for next generation energy capture and storage among many other revolutionary applications of nanotechnology, he said.

“My primary goal in physics is to help improve renewable energy technologies – particularly batteries and photovoltaic cells – to help bring them closer to ubiquitous adoption, thus this experience will be incredibly valuable to me,” he said.

Justin said he would also be enrolling on an intensive Korean language course and was interested to see an e-sports event in Seoul to “experience the fervour with which the locals celebrate online gaming”.

Justin was one of only 100 Australian students to earn the scholarship under the New Colombo Plan. He was selected on the basis of his academic performance, community leadership and proven commitment to forging long term relationships with the Indo-Pacific.

He will be travelling to Seoul in February and will spend most of 2016 in Korea.

The New Colombo Plan offers these scholarships every year, alongside numerous grants for short-term programs to the Asia-Pacific Region. The 2017 will open mid-year 2016. If students would like further information, please contact Jeannette Geesmann, Student Mobility Officer (Outbound) at or 08 9360 7836.

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