Don’t let self-doubt hold you back: International Study Tour paves the way to overseas study
Monday 25 May 2015
Nathan Canuto was one of 17 students from across Australia selected to attend the 2014 Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour. Entering its fifth year, the Study Tour is now inviting applications for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students considering postgraduate studies in the United Kingdom or the United States in the next few years.
A Torres Strait Islander, Nathan’s interest in psychology started before he commenced his undergraduate degree. He explains,
“Working with Indigenous youth is what inspired me to study psychology; I hope to help Indigenous people gain real freedom of choice in the future. To me this means making choices based on knowledge of all options and outcomes.”
He was involved in several youth initiatives, including the “Kids Living Safer Lives” program that encourages positive life decisions in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youths and helps them develop Indigenous leadership and team building skills.
Nathan graduated with a Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology) at Charles Darwin University (CDU) last year and is now working on his Bachelor of Psychological Sciences Honours degree focusing on Indigenous education.
Some of his other achievements include being awarded the 2014 Top End NAIDOC Scholar of the Year and the 2014 Indigenous Allied Health Student Academic Achievement Award. He is also on the Student Representative Committee for Indigenous Allied Health.
New academic possibilities
Nathan applied to the 2014 Study Tour with expectations of undertaking a Doctorate in Psychology in 2016 within the areas of social, developmental, cultural, educational and organisational psychology.
“I heard about the Study Tour through the Indigenous Support Unit at my university. As I had been studying and in close contact with the Indigenous Support Unit, they approached me and informed me of the opportunity."
“The Study Tour really helped me focus my study direction. I was able to meet with some renowned professors offering some amazing programs in the areas of Indigenous education.”
He found that the Study Tour opened his mind to all the possibilities available to him, and allowed him to hone his future research directions.
“Although I didn’t really think Cambridge would be of interest to me, visiting and engaging with the university changed my mind. Originally I was only looking at the psychology programs, and didn’t feel Cambridge had anything to offer me. After talking to past Aurora scholars, I found an MPhil in Psychology and Education that is an ideal fit for me and my future goals. Being able to contribute to the small body of Indigenous Education research conducted by Indigenous Australians is important to me.”
The Study Tour goes beyond the academic connections students make, linking them to a community of Indigenous high achievers that continue to support each other in their academic and personal journeys. Nathan reflects:
“I believe the relationships I built with likeminded students on the tour will provide the constant source of motivation, inspiration and support that will see each of us successfully achieve our future aspirations, particularly in regards to Indigenous Australian empowerment and positive change.”
Encouraging students to apply to the International study Tour
“If I could say anything to students considering applying for the Study Tour, it would be: don’t let self-doubt hold you back. While I always held high hopes of attending a top university overseas, before the Study Tour, I didn’t actually believe it would be a possibility and I didn’t know whether I would have what it takes. But then I applied for the Tour and was successful and learnt so much from the experience. One of the unexpected advantages of going on the Study Tour is that you make strong connections with other ambitious and motivated students, who are passionate about giving back to their communities and leading the way for Indigenous people in the future. It also became apparent that, like me, most of the students on the Study Tour were also unsure about whether they would be successful candidates. Thus again, I would urge students who are thinking of applying to go for it. Never doubt your potential.”
Applications for the 2015 Study Tour are currently open
The group of successful applicants will leave Australia in the last week of October 2015 and spend 3 weeks in the US visiting Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia and NYU, and 2 weeks in the UK at Cambridge and Oxford.
For more information on selection criteria, itinerary, obligations and how to apply is available here
Applications close Friday 5th of June 2015 at 5:00 pm AEST.