Study Abroad’s Outback Adventure
The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle
Study Abroad students from the USA studying the cultural and spiritual life of Aboriginal People in an academic unit offered by Notre Dame’s College of Arts, went on a unique outback adventure to Kalgoorlie last semester for a first hand experience of Aboriginal culture.
Students were personally guided by Aboriginal Elder Geoffrey Stokes, who introduced students to his Wangatha culture.
The students camped in Mr Stokes’ fathers country at Mt Celia where they were given a traditional welcome to country. They also visited significant sites and the Mt Margaret Aboriginal Community, where students also had the opportunity to meet with the community manager and local school children.
Aboriginal Studies Lecturer Michelle Carey said even though this was a pilot trip its success has set a solid foundation to build upon.
“We wanted the students to go beyond the city and be part of a real cultural exchange. Students had to survive in the outback for five days, they had to learn how to ration water and deal with not being able to have a shower. Although western food was available, traditional bush tucker was also on the menu including damper, kangaroo, emu, goanna and witchetty grubs.
Apart from learning about Aboriginal culture, the experience tested the students about their personal and cultural boundaries,” she said.
Ms Carey concluded, “Cultural studies field trips are an important part of the University’s commitment to reconciliation. We hope that the Study Abroad students not only learn about the complexity of Australia’s history and contemporary society, but can take those lessons back and begin to think through their own relations with America’s First Nations peoples.”
Ebbs, Michelle, "Study Abroad’s Outback Adventure" (2005). Media Release Archive. 526.