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University of Pennsylvania students touring Northern Territory

UPenn students
University of Pennsylvania students come to Charles Darwin University (CDU) to study Australian First Nations history and culture.

A diverse group of 20 students from the University of Pennsylvania will visit the Northern Territory to learn about Australian First Nations' history and culture as part of a study tour at Charles Darwin University (CDU).

The students will come from the US, Hong Kong and Kenya and are studying a variety of degrees including Arts, Engineering, Nursing and Business.

The group of students will spend time at CDU’s Casuarina Campus from May 13-19 where they will learn about the history of colonisation and First Nations arts and culture from academics at the College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts.

CDU College of Indigenous Futures, Education and the Arts Dean, Professor Ruth Wallace, said she looked forward to welcoming the group from the United States to this cultural learning opportunity.

“The students from Pennsylvania will have a unique opportunity to experience the Australian outback and have the chance to learn from our Northern Territory First Nations communities,” Professor Wallace said.

“They will learn about the similarities and diversities between the American and Australian First Nations peoples and will go home with a valuable cultural experience.”

University of Pennsylvania Professor Carol Muller who is teaching ‘Seeing/Hearing Globally – Indigenous Music and the Arts of Healing’ will accompany the students to Australia.

The University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League university and is world-renowned for its academic prestige. This will be the first time that it has partnered with CDU to introduce international study tours to its students.

During their time in Darwin, the students will visit the Northern Territory Museum and Art Gallery to immerse themselves in local history and art.

They will also spend three days in remote Northern Territory locations including Daly River, Twin Hills Station and Litchfield National Park.

Northern Territory Indigenous Tours guide Tess Atie will lead the group in these remote areas. The students will have the experience of learning from local Elders and participate in hunting, spear making and other cultural activities.

The students have been learning about Indigenous approaches to research, history, politics, music and art from First Nations peoples in Canada, the United States, South Africa and Australia.

University of Pennsylvania’s Professor Muller is excited that her students will have the opportunity to have intensive lived experience with Australian First Nations people.

“I’m hopeful that the students will return to the US to think about First Nations people in the US in new and compassionate ways,” she said.

The group will fly to Sydney to spend three days before returning home to Philadelphia.

The group will continue exploring the theme of First Nations history and approaches to learning through a First Nations perspective through a Rocks Indigenous Tour with Aunty Margaret in Sydney.

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