10 May 2010: More than 100 Indigenous students from around the country arrived at Australian Catholic University’s Strathfield Campus recently for their residential week.
Completing either an associate degree, or a bachelor’s degree in education, the students live and work in their own communities, and come to Sydney four weeks a year for face to face lectures.
Chris Richardson is in his third year of the Bachelor of Teaching/Bachelor of Arts, and works with Indigenous children in Alice Springs to help them secure traineeships and university places.
“I strongly believe that education is the key to empowerment, and I find it extremely rewarding to learn,” he said.
“I like to think that down the track I’ll be able to make a difference to Aboriginal kids in my community and lead by example. I mean if they look at me and see that I can do it, then so can they.”
Narrandera resident Samantha Williams is completing a Bachelor of Education (Primary), and said the existence of the residential component of the program was essential in allowing her to study.
“I actually began a course at another university, but travelling there and back every day became too much to juggle with my work and family obligations,” the 22-year-old said.
“Coming to Sydney for the residential program for four weeks a year is much easier for me, and I’ve made friends for life from all around Australia.”