Being a student at UWA provides you with the foundations and support to be able to take on absolutely anything. When an interesting idea or possibly rewarding concept comes to mind, you should take hold of it and run, run, run!
That's exactly what a group of seven UWA students did last semester when planning a week-long cultural awareness trip to the Pilbara. Here, second year Engineering/Arts student Alex Thornton (pictured, second from left) shares with us her experiences of the trip.
"As real city slickers we wanted to broaden our understanding of what it's like to live in a rural area and what issues affect both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. We based ourselves in Karratha and spent the week meeting with people from many different walks of life, which helped us to gauge the different perspectives on these issues. A key aim of ours was to find out more about Indigenous culture and what is being done to help reduce the disparity between ‘white' and Indigenous Australian living standards and quality of life.
"During the trip a number of common stereotypes were completely shattered- beginning with the time we spent with Superintendent Brian Wilson at Roebourne District Prison. It was reassuring to see so many prisoners working to learn a trade so they would be able to do something meaningful on their release.
"The afternoon spent at the primary and secondary schools in Roebourne was one of the most memorable, as interacting with kids closer to our own age provided a completely different perspective on life to that of the adults. We also met with people from the health, justice and mining sectors to find out about the programs in place that are making positive headways in the region, and what still needs to be done to resolve some major issues.
"It was great to have our eyes opened to just a few of the problems inherent in today's society and to remind us of the positive changes we, as the decision-makers of tomorrow, will get the opportunity to implement in the future. This trip would not have been possible without the generous help of Jon Stubbs (Director of Student Services at UWA) and the Fogarty Foundation, who showed so much support for our idea. There is no doubt this experience has shown us that there are an infinite number of directions a university education can take you."