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Every day that I’ve spent at Balkanu has been invaluable, for the nature of the job cannot be truly realised until you’ve seen the day-to-day struggle of ordinary people trying to make change.

Tanja Amanovic,
placed at Cape York Balkanu Development Corporation (CYBD)

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 to the UK and the US?

The annual Aurora Indigenous Scholars International Study Tour takes place in October or November of each year, taking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university undergraduates who have completed at least two years of their course of study, to visit overseas institutions in the UK and US. University graduates are also welcome to apply. Applicants should have maintained a Distinction average or equivalent throughout their studies.   

The group of successful applicants will leave Australia in late October 2015 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 an insight into the realities of undertaking postgraduate study at these premier institutions, and involves meetings with key admin staff and faculty from each university, as well as current students in the areas of the participants’ interest.  ​

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

Sixteen Indigenous students participated in November 2013.  Here are some reflections from the 2013 Tour:

​“Prior to Oxford and Cambridge, I was mostly convinced I would need to wait another year before applying. But following successful meetings at both these schools, it became more of a question of - why wait?”

-       Jessyca Hutchens, University of Western Australia – 2014 Charlie Perkins Scholar

“Before the Tour I never knew so many Indigenous scholars existed across a variety of fields. … In the past I've felt quite isolated as a scholar who identifies as being Indigenous but now I don't.  Now I feel empowered and reassured that there is a worldwide network of people who have had similar experiences and struggles and that together we can accomplish just about anything.”

-       Tamara Murdock, Edith Cowan University – 2014 Charlie Perkins Scholar

“Despite my academic success, and subsequent work in the field, I never could have imagined myself sitting in an office in New York City having a conversation with the UN’s leader in Indigenous Human Rights, or being at Harvard University sharing thoughts on racial identity with academic representatives from some of the Western worlds most ostracised Indigenous cultures.”  

-       Nathan West, University of Newcastle - 2014 Roberta Sykes Scholar

 You can read more reflections on the November 2013 trip here and the reflections on the November 2014 trip here.

Applications for the 2015 Study Tour will open on Friday 1 May, and will close at 5pm (AEST) Monday 1 June 2015. To apply
 Complete the online application form available on this website
 With 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)
  • A list identifying one academic contact (such as a Professor) that you would like to meet at each academic institution you are interested in visiting (Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, NYU, Cambridge and Oxford), and one administrative contact (such as a Course Coordinator).  We would ask that you do not make contact with your nominated academic and administrative preferences, until receiving instruction to do so.  In most cases, we will get in touch with these contacts on your behalf 
  • Confirmation of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent through a signed written statement (including common seal) of an Aboriginal Heritage Association, Aboriginal Corporation or Land Council in the community where you live or have lived
  • A high-resolution photo (headshot preferably) that could be used in promotional material, should you be selected to go on the 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 Indigenous Scholarships team at Aurora. 
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 Indigenous Scholarships team on (02) 9310 8402 or email