Scott Gigante

Bachelor of Science graduate, Scott Gigante, talks about his exchange experience in China as a New Colombo Plan scholar.

Find out more about Scott’s story in this video.

I chose to pursue a major in Mathematics and Statistics after taking Accelerated Mathematics 1 in my first semester at the University of Melbourne. This basic introduction to algebra and proofs spurred my interest in mathematics and led me to consider a career in academic research.

During my studies at Melbourne, I have been part of a cohort of engaged and interesting peers, brilliant professors at the forefront of their fields, and a team of support staff who go beyond the call of duty. Without the University of Melbourne, I would not be who I am today.

The highlight of my studies has definitely been my experience as a New Colombo Plan scholar; spending 12 months in China, where I attended Fudan University in Shanghai. I learned an entire language in six months, sat in on a patent review board conducted entirely in Mandarin Chinese and won a 400km bicycle race. Travelling with a cycling team I joined when I first arrived to rural and remote areas was one of my favourite experiences as it afforded me the opportunity to see the ‘real China’.

As part of my New Colombo Plan scholarship, I also undertook a six-month internship at VMware, Shanghai. During my placement, I learned three different programming languages, familiarised myself with virtualisation, an exciting area in computer science. On top of that, I had the opportunity to submit an invention disclosure for the work that I did, which may one day lead to a patent application. I was also able to gain credit for my internship through the Science Internship subject, which was an added bonus!

I would strongly recommend going on exchange to any student, no matter where, but Fudan University was certainly a good place to do it.

My final piece of advice would be to take as broad a selection of subjects as you possibly can in first year - you never know what might interest you the most! Plan your degree well in advance to make sure you keep your options open as to which major you choose - I hadn't chosen for sure until my third year.

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