1 November 2017: The world is Fred Leftwich’s oyster.
After spending 30 years working in the Australian Public Service, Mr Leftwich is now on his way to becoming an academic.
And while he's travelling abroad over the next few weeks as part of the Aurora Indigenous Scholars study tour, he’ll take a step closer to completing the transition.
The Aurora Indigenous Scholars tour provides Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander university students with an opportunity to visit leading universities in the United States and the United Kingdom so they can gain insight into the realities of undertaking postgraduate study at some of the world’s leading tertiary institutions.
Mr Leftwich is studying a Bachelor of Social Science in Indigenous Studies at the University of Canberra. He expects to graduate next year and will continue his studies toward becoming a sociologist abroad.
He said the Aurora Indigenous Scholars tour will assist him in choosing which institution and postgraduate course is best suited to his endeavours.
“I initially thought undertaking postgraduate study overseas was beyond me, but I now realise that it is a possibility with a lot of planning and commitment,” Mr Leftwich said.
“I hope to develop a priority list of the postgraduate programs that I wish to apply for after I complete my undergraduate degree at the University of Canberra The Aurora Indigenous Scholars tour has turned a possibility into a reality.”
Mr Leftwich is spending five weeks overseas as part of the program, with visits to Berkeley, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, and New York University in the United States.
The UK component of the trip takes participants to Cambridge, Oxford, London Business School, and the London School of Economics.
While abroad, tour members will meet with academics and administrators at each university. They’ll also have the chance to speak with current students studying in the disciplines they are interested in.
“After I left the Australian Public Service, I wanted to pursue an academic career,” Mr Leftwich said.
“I was talking with a number of social science academics one day and they talked and interpreted the world the way I did. It was then I realised I wanted to become a sociologist,” he added.
“I believe completing a postgraduate degree will provide me with a much broader understanding of the academic sector that will not only help me with my future studies but also help me to identify my purpose in life as well as the type of employment I wish to pursue in the longer term.”
It won’t be the first time Mr Leftwich’s study commitments have taken him overseas. Earlier this year, he participated in one of the University’s faculty-led study abroad programs to Fiji. The trip was aimed at helping students develop a deeper understanding of Fiji’s traditional iTaukei culture.
“There is no better way to learn about your study than to experience firsthand in another Indigenous culture,” Mr Leftwich said.