Winner of the first Indigenous scholarship offered by Student Exchange Australia New Zealand
Emma-Lee Foy, 14, comes from the tribe of Warlman Yawuru and is proud to be the sixth generation of her family to live in Broome. In 2010 she was the winner of the first Indigenous scholarship offered by Student Exchange Australia New Zealand. Valued at $10,800, Emma-Lee faced tough competition from all over Australia and New Zealand to win the award. She will spend 10 months living in the Netherlands with a local host family and attending high school in 2011.
A Year 10 student at St Mary’s College, Emma-Lee was a stand-out applicant for the scholarship. She is an active participant in a diverse range of activities both within her school and the local community. She is a member of navy cadets, scouts, as well as dance, drama and sport groups. Emma-Lee has demonstrated an excellent work ethic, strong leadership skills and high academic achievement, accelerating a year in high school. “When I heard about this exchange I jumped at the chance to apply. I am extremely interested in different languages, traditions and cultures and I think the exchange will be a major eye-opener. Seeing another place other than Australia and learning about that place will be incredible.”
When choosing between twenty-one possible countries, Emma-Lee chose to spend her exchange in the Netherlands because she knows nothing about this country. “Hopefully I’ll learn heaps and will be able to come home and share my knowledge. I also hope to share stories of my home town and make heaps of lifelong friends, and keep in contact with them.”
Emma-Lee is passionate about her indigenous heritage, culture and community. She loves exploring Broome and learning from her elders to recognise different bush fruit, native trees and animals. In this close-knit community, they regularly go camping, fishing, collecting oysters, and hunting for salt water animals as well as land animals. Although she has lived in Broome her whole life and loves it, Emma-Lee has always wanted to leave Australia in order to discover a different place, and share her own culture with others. She has described this opportunity as “one of the best things that could ever happen to me.” Emma-Lee is hoping to develop her interpersonal and leadership skills during her exchange. From learning how to cook their traditional meals, to fitting in with the new routines of her host family in the Netherlands, her excitement is contagious.
Emma-Lee also believes that it is important to encourage her peers to work hard and give things a go. She cannot wait to tell others about her experience, share photos, and encourage them to do an overseas exchange. It presents an amazing opportunity to become a part of another community, and gain unique insights and experiences into a different culture. In addition to twenty-three Language, Creative and International Affairs scholarships, three Indigenous scholarships will be offered each year by Student Exchange Australia New Zealand from 2011. They are named after Fay Wilmerding, who helped establish the student exchange industry in Australia during a distinguished 30 year career.
In the future, Emma-Lee hopes to study at university in order to become a teacher in Broome, and perhaps specialise in languages. “I wish to become a role model in my community.” We congratulate Emma-Lee on her achievement, and know that she will be greatly missed by her community during her overseas exchange.
Three full Indigenous scholarships are available every year to eligible Indigenous students from Australia and New Zealand. The next deadline for receipt of applications is 30 April 2011, please visit www.studentexchange.org.au for more details.