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Learning about how a peak national human rights body like the Commission works was perhaps the most useful lesson that I took from my time on placement, enabling me to gain a greater understanding of different perspectives on advocating and achieving social and political change.

Rafael Szumer,
placed at Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

2013 International Study Tour participants

2014 International Study Tour participants


Are you an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander student or graduate interested in postgraduate study overseas?  

Why not consider applying for the Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour?

The Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour (the Study Tour) takes place in October and November of each year, taking Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander university students and graduates to visit leading universities in the UK and US. 

The group of successful applicants will leave Australia in the last week of October 2016 and spend approximately 3 weeks in the US visiting Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia and NYU, and approximately 10 days in the UK at Cambridge and Oxford.  

The initiative provides opportunities for students to gain insight into the realities of undertaking postgraduate study at these leading institutions, and involves meetings with key academics and administrators at each university, as well as current students in the areas of the participants’ interest.  ​

What past participants say
Here are some reflections from past Tours:

​“Prior to the Aurora Study Tour I would not have applied to such high-ranking universities as I wouldn’t have thought that an acceptance would be possible. I expected to get to these institutions and not understand what academics were talking about but, after sitting in on a class at Harvard, I realised that I was able to contribute positively to the class. Immediately I had to re-think my ideas about what I was and was not capable of and be more open to the idea that I could study or work in a place of this reputation.” - Skye Akbar, University of South Australia

“I believe the Study Tour is just as much about finding out what might not be right for you, as it is about finding out what is right for you. I was able to attend classes and realise I was capable of contributing to the discussions, meet with academics to find out which university had the best courses for me, and get a real sense of the what campus life is like by chatting to current students. All of these experiences really helped in deciding which university was the best fit for me.” -    Rhiannon Allan, University of Newcastle 

“When I first started this Tour, I was most definitely going to do a Master’s in Fine Arts.  Now, I know I am most definitely going to do a PhD. I think this experience has helped me realise the potential I have inside of me, but wasn't really recognising before.” -    Allanah Hunt, Central Queensland University 

You can read reflections on the November 2015 trip here and more reflections on the November 2014 trip here

The scheduled itinerary (subject to change) is as follows:

  • Wednesday, 19 October 2016 - Welcome and introductory workshops in Sydney
  • Thursday, 20 October 2016 - Welcome reception in Sydney
  • Friday, 21 October 2016 - Pre-departure sessions in Sydney
  • Saturday, 22 October 2016 - Sydney - San Francisco (Berkeley and Stanford)
  • Saturday, 29 October 2016 - San Francisco - Boston (Harvard)
  • Friday, 4 November 2016 - Boston - New York (Columbia and NYU)
  • Saturday, 12 November 2016 - New York - London - Cambridge
  • Friday, 19 November 2016 - Cambridge - Oxford
  • Friday, 25 November 2016 - Oxford – Sydney

It is possible to join for one or both legs of the Tour.   All costs associated with overseas travel, accommodation and meals will be covered by Aurora and its supporters.​​​

Applications for the 2016 Study Tour close on 14 June 2016

To apply for the Study Tour you need: 

  • To have graduated from your first degree, or have completed at least two years of your undergraduate degree.
  • A strong academic record - applicants should have maintained a Distinction average or equivalent throughout their studies. A strong interest in postgraduate study overseas. 
  • Willingness to act as an ambassador of the program while overseas 
  • Preparedness for an intensive five-week period of travel, meetings and events
  • To have read and carefully reviewed the expectations of participants below

Expectations of participants 
During your interactions with our overseas partners, you will be acting as an ambassador for the Study Tour and a representative of Aurora more generally.  In addition, participants will need to assist us to meet our obligations to funders by maintaining accurate financial records.

To fulfil your obligations as a Study Tour participant you will need to:

  • Comply with the Code of Conduct
  • Attend an event for funders and past Tour participants in Sydney prior to the commencement of the Study Tour, and act as an ambassador of the Study Tour program at VIP events while overseas. 
  • Retain receipts for reimbursement of expenses and maintain an up-to-date expenses spreadsheet while on Tour.  
  • In the timeframes requested, complete reflections on each university visited on the Study Tour, including comments on your academic meetings and your experiences at the university in general, and a final reflection encompassing the Study Tour as a whole.  These reflections will be provided to funders and will be used to promote the program to future scholars. 
  • Fill out an evaluation survey at the conclusion of the Study Tour. 

How to Apply
Complete the online application form.  You will need to attach the following documentation:

  • A cover letter (including a personal statement about your background, career aspirations and reasons for wanting to go on the Tour)
  • A curriculum vitae.
  • An official transcript of all university results (including mid-year results, if available).
  • Confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent through a signed statement (including common seal) from the Aboriginal Heritage Association, Aboriginal Corporation or Land Council of the country of your ancestors.
  • A high-resolution photo (headshot preferably) that may be used in promotional material, should you be selected to go on the Study Tour.  

You will need to arrange for three written references (two of which should be academic references) to be forwarded by your referees directly to the International Scholarships team at Aurora. See Reference Criteria for guidance. 

How the selection process works
Applications will be reviewed by the International Scholarships team and by Aurora’s Director.  Candidates who meet the selection requirements will be shortlisted for interview.  

The successful applicants will be chosen primarily on the basis of academic achievement (Distinction average or higher) but also on the basis of their potential to become leaders in their field of study and in their communities.  Preference will be given to students in the final year of their undergraduate studies.  We are looking for applicants who have the potential to become Charlie Perkins and Roberta Sykes Scholars.

For more information, contact the International Scholarships team on (02) 9310 8402 or email