International Pathways

About the Program

Since 2010, Aurora has supported high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to attain academic excellence at some of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Through the Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour (the Study Tour) and International Scholarships Program (the Scholarships Program), Aurora opens pathways to international academic excellence. These include the Charlie Perkins Scholarships and the Roberta Sykes Scholarships, which are delivered by Aurora.

We also deliver Roberta Sykes Bursaries to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander managers and leaders to undertake short course executive programs at leading international universities.

The Need

Prior to 2010, there had never been an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person studying for a full-time degree at Oxford or Cambridge – consistently ranked as 2 of the top 5 universities in the world.

We know this is not due to a lack of talent – the Scholars’ journeys since then have proven this. We have seen that when students are shown that they can do it, and financial impediments are removed, the results are outstanding.

 “When you sit down with a professor from one of these institutions, tell them what you are passionate about and what motivates you to succeed in such a challenging environment, and engage with them in an intellectual discussion about what you would like to do in the future, it shows you that you truly belong there.  She didn’t give a damn that I had done well at university for an Indigenous student; she thought I would be a strong applicant purely because it was true.  It was such a great feeling.” Teina Te Hemara, University of Western Australia

Our impact

118
Study Tour Scholars
39
of these accepted to universities visited
23
graduated with international postgraduate degrees (20 Study Tour Scholars)

Our Approach

Together, the International Pathways provide a spectrum of opportunities for students to explore, apply to and succeed in leading international universities as shown below:

The Study Tour runs over 5 weeks and includes visits to UC Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, New York University and Stanford in the US, and Cambridge, London School of Economics and Oxford in the UK.  Successful applicants for the Study Tour need to have attained a Distinction average or better, or have, or are heading for, First Class Honours or upper Second Class Honours. Unlike at Australian universities, there are no alternative entry programs for Indigenous Australians at universities such as Cambridge or Oxford.

Study Tour participants become part of a strong network of Indigenous peers, all with a record of outstanding academic success. Many participants have returned from the Study Tour resolved to pursue study overseas, either immediately or in the future. Others have decided to pursue study or employment in Australia. In either case, the Study Tour has helped participants to make better informed decisions about their pathways. The Scholars are also inspiring the next generation, enthusiastically contributing to Aurora Outreach.

Those who secure entry into prestigious international postgraduate and executive programs can apply for scholarships and bursaries through the Charlie Perkins Scholarship Trust and the Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation, which are delivered by Aurora.

Our International Pathways work to empower Indigenous Australians with the qualifications to enter professional careers, and to create a new pool of Indigenous academics and leaders who will step up to influence policy and drive change.