Zoe Neill, a second-year International Relations student from the University of Sydney, will join 67 other young entrepreneurs as part of this year's China Australia Millennial Project (CAMP).
CAMP brings together people aged 18 to 35 from China and Australia who are passionate about social innovation.
Over 100 days, the students and young professionals develop their creativity and technical skills while working within 15 different think tanks on 30 different projects.
The program kicks off with a week in Shanghai in early March and continues with online coursework before finishing in Sydney.
It won’t be the first visit to China for Zoe, who began studying Mandarin in high school and has travelled to the nation many times in recent years, including through a University exchange to Beijing in 2015.
“There is just so much I love about the country. There is so much history embedded and so much to learn about it. I also really love the people over there and, of course, the food is amazing,” Zoe said.
“Those trips have definitely helped me to get a better understanding of the Chinese perspective on our relationship and politics.”
Zoe said she expects her past experiences will put her in good stead during the CAMP program.
“I am especially passionate about exploring how we can use entrepreneurship to solve critical global issues. Throughout this experience I will strive to be a catalyst for enthusiastic discussions and debates on how the younger generation can create actionable solutions to China-Australia related problems,” she said.
“Asia and Australia depend on each other so much and in the current global geopolitical stage China has become a very important player. We, as Australians, need to understand their culture and politics better than we currently do.”
Ultimately, Zoe hopes that her experiences during CAMP, as well an internship she is currently undertaking at public policy not-for-profit China Matters, will open doors to a career in human rights and social entrepreneurship. But for now, the International Relations student is just grateful for the opportunity to meet new and like-minded people.
“I want to learn from them and am really excited to see what we can achieve together. Building your own network is crucial these days and I hope CAMP will help me in this regard,” she said.
“I am extremely humbled and proud to be a part of CAMP. It is a unique opportunity and will enable me to further develop my skills in China-Australia relations and will teach me how to work effectively over long distances.”