From Tasmania to Arizona, Indigenous students embark on cultural exchange
A group of Aboriginal students from the University of Tasmania jetted off to the United States last month, on a cultural exchange program which saw them visit several universities across Arizona.
The group included Hobart-based students Reece Romagnoli-Townsend, Kaleb Thomas, Wendy Moore and Sally Blanden as well as Caleb Nichols-Mansell, from the Cradle Coast campus. They were joined by five students and two staff members from the University of Melbourne on the cultural exchange.
The group departed on February 4 for Flagstaff, Arizona and were accompanied by Riawunna Head of Service Caroline Spotswood and Aboriginal Higher Education Officer Jacinta Vanderfeen.
Students spent one week at the University of Northern Arizona (NAU) in Flagstaff, before spending a second week at the University of Arizona in Tucson.
Their itinerary included formal study of Native American subjects and cultural exchange through interaction with Native American students, Elders and community members.
This is the second cohort of high-achieving University of Tasmania Aboriginal students who have been on the exchange.
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Aboriginal Research and Leadership) Professor Maggie Walter said the program was designed to challenge and inspire high achieving Indigenous students, facilitate links into international Indigenous scholarly networks and expose students to the wider global field of Indigenous studies and scholarship.
“The trip gives our Aboriginal students the opportunity to experience other Indigenous communities and cultures, recognising the unique differences but also the many similarities,” Professor Walter said.
Native American students from NAU will make their third trip to the University of Tasmania this winter.