Clemente Australia is about people realising possibilities, new options and making life changes — people moving from where they are today to a place where they believe ‘someone like me would never expect to be’. Education can be an end in itself or a way to drive other changes you want to make in your life.

Who can study?

To be a Clemente student you need to:

  • be over 18
  • have challenges in your life
  • be eager to learn
  • be able to read and discuss a newspaper article
  • commit to a 12-14 week program.

You don’t need a specific qualification or school certificate and there is no upper age limit.

How do I apply?

Admission to the course includes a conversation process. During the conversation, course information is provided, learning needs discussed as well as your willingness and ability to participate in the classes and activities.

Take the first step. Contact your local Clemente program

Clemente induction NSW 2019

Why do Clemente?

Student motivations for starting Clemente include:

  • for knowledge
  • to prove to myself I can achieve
  • wanting to learn
  • for personal satisfaction
  • to move on from where I am
  • to undertake recognised academic study
  • to learn additional skills
  • to move into employment
  • to make new friends.

Participating in Clemente strengthens social networks and increases resilience. Other benefits include increased confidence and self-esteem; more structured lives and opportunities to exercise your intellect and imagination.

What support is provided?

Student university fees, course books and materials, library access and other support services are covered by ACU and community partners. Community volunteers participate as learning partners, helping you with study and writing skills and supporting you in your learning journey. 

Most sites have internet and computer access for Clemente students and with each lecture session there is the time to talk and engage with others over light refreshments. 

How much time and study is involved? 

You will study humanities subjects such as history, literature, philosophy and art. These subjects have the same content, readings and assessment tasks as on-campus undergraduate subjects. 

Two subjects are offered each year – one per semester. Each subject is taught over 12-14 weeks with a two-hour lecture each week and a further two hours for tutorials. You sign up for one subject at a time. Classes usually have 15–20 students and are often held in community locations. 

On successful completion of four subjects, you receive an accredited Certificate in Liberal Studies from ACU. Generally, you would complete the four subjects over a 2-year period. 

If you decide to continue with your studies, the four Clemente units may be credited towards an ACU undergraduate degree. 

What kinds of people study in Clemente?

Clemente students are a very diverse group and can include people:

  • aged 18 to over 60 years old
  • from non-English speaking backgrounds
  • who have missed out on education because of poverty, illness, homelessness, imprisonment, or age discrimination
  • who want to increase their social and community connections.

What do past students say about Clemente? 

…it just gave me confidence…that I can do what I always wanted to do…it just didn’t exist in my family, going to university, it didn’t exist…. So university was like other people done that and that was it and it’s just not for you…
Clemente student
Everything here is provided for us. Access to a computer, learning partners, general help, you can ring someone up, you know it’s all there for us, this place here we can use as a base if we don’t have one  … so when the inevitable question comes, oh what is it exactly you do, I can be more than just a carer for my son. I can say also well I’m doing a course up at Mission Australia.
Clemente student
Well I’m on the disability pension and when I stopped work it was unplanned but my back just got too bad and I couldn’t work anymore and I sort of thought, have a three month break, you’ll be OK and it just didn’t happen and it’s degenerated so much that I can’t ever go back to that type of work. That then sort of popped me on a downward spiral with the depression and I put on weight which made my back worse and just everything you know, all seemed to fall apart  …. 

… I’m thinking now of going back to uni and looking at some sort of a proper positive career and looking forward and actually seeing that there is a future you know which is really good.
Clemente student

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