The Scenic Route

By Seth Robinson

It’s a well-used metaphor, but there’s no doubt that higher education is a journey. For some it’s a fast track, high school, university and on to a career. For others, there’s something to be gained by taking the scenic route. For Nick Johnson, the scenic route offered an alternate entry pathway into the University of Melbourne, and on to international experience in New Colombo Plan funded International Business Experience study tour of India.

Nick Johnson grew up in Melbourne “just around the corner”, so attending the University of Melbourne was always a goal.

“Unfortunately, I just missed out on the ATAR, so I went to another university here in Melbourne. I spent a semester there working on the marks, then transferred into the Bachelor of Commerce. I applied through VTAC again, much the way you do on your first application. I was given credits for my previous subjects, so it was all pretty seamless.”

From that point onwards, Nick was a UoM student, immersed in all the BCom had to offer. One such opportunity was the International Business Experience (IBUS20007) study tour, which takes students to India for an intensive, international learning experience, and provides students with a $3,000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant.

Photo of Nick Johnson
Nick Johnson

“I saw the India study tour advertised in the Faculty Newsletter. It sounded like an awesome opportunity, so I applied, went through the interview process, then we got right into it! There were a couple of sessions here in Melbourne, which provided some context and went through the broader aspects of the Indian economy, then we spent two weeks in India. We did some organisational visits – which is one component – to places like EY, and some Fintech startups. Then there is the university component, where we spent a couple of days at Shri Ram College of Commerce, at the university of New Delhi, and did an assignment, which was very similar to a case-competition. Throughout all of that there’s also a third, cultural component, where we did tours of New Delhi, and activities like Bollywood dancing.”

Visiting India also provided Nick with a point of difference from his previous travels in Asia, and of course, his hometown.

“I went to Nepal in December, which borders India, so I felt like I had started easing myself into the culture of the region, but it’s still a huge contrast. Everything is amplified in India, especially in New Delhi, where it’s so condensed. You have the entire population of Australia in New Delhi alone. That’s my new favourite fact,” he says. “You’re also travelling with a really interesting mixed-bag of students. I like that the subject is open to everyone, so you have first, second, and third years. You’re travelling with people who are at every stage of the uni experience. It adds an interesting dynamic, and of course, with that time travelling you become quite close.”

Interested in applying for mid-year entry into the Bachelor of Commerce? Applications close 5.00pm, Friday 7 June, 2019. Find out more via the VTAC website now.


Now, for his last semester, Nick is studying part-time while working at a financial planning firm and considering his options for the future.

“I’ll go full time after graduation, but in the future I’m considering other options as well, perhaps some post-graduate study, or teaching. I love the content, and I think skills like Finance and Management, and at the most fundamental level, Maths, are really important, and I would like to pass that knowledge on.”