CDU offers outback experience to US students 


A group of students from the United States has swapped their regular lecture theatre for the wide expanse of the Australian outback this week as part of a study abroad program facilitated by Charles Darwin University.

The 15 students from the University of Dayton, Ohio have been learning about Aboriginal culture and Central Australian geology as part of their Geology and Sociology studies, in conjunction with CDU’s Educational Travel Program unit in Alice Springs.

CDU has organised the Central Australian component of Dayton University’s Study Abroad program for four of the past five years.

Since arriving last Wednesday, the students have attended lectures on Aboriginal land ownership, art and traditional medicine. They have also visited the Old Telegraph Station, the Western MacDonnell Ranges, the Alice Springs Desert Park and the Watarrka and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks.

Manager of CDU’s Educational Travel Program, Martin Ludgate, said the students gain credit towards their studies through the completion of a research essay and their field notes journal during the Australian program.

“Central Australia provides an ideal environment for this course, giving students a great opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal culture and issues as well as being able to travel through the ancient landscapes for the geology aspect of their course,” he said.

University of Dayton student Jason Bollman said the region was a lot different to what he was expecting and he was surprised by the diversity of the natural environment and animal life.

“Actually seeing it gives you an understanding that can’t be compared to the classroom setting or reading a book,” he said.

He said the United States can learn from Australia’s approach to its Indigenous people.

“I’m interested at how remorseful Australian people are towards Aboriginal people – it’s something that is not matched in the US with its Indigenous people.”

The group will depart for Cairns tomorrow.