Housies mentoring Indigenous teens through the InspireU program have described the experience as ‘incredible’ and ‘deeply powerful’.

A University of Queensland (UQ)  and International House (IH) partnership program, InspireU aims to provide greater tertiary awareness and campus familiarity for Indigenous high school students with academic aspirations.

Housies, Alexandria BennettMeghan Ah-NimPieter van der Have and Emma Pelcener volunteered to assist UQ staff introducing the Indigenous secondary students to the Faculty of Health Sciences.

“It was an awesome experience being a mentor. I was very excited to welcome the teenagers to IH and couldn’t wait for them to discover our UQ campus. It really only took a day or two to feel the connection with the kids and I just can’t believe how fast the week went when you’re having a good time,” said French Housie, Emma Pelcener.

InspireU always proves popular with our resident mentors, not simply for the invaluable mentoring experience, but also the firsthand opportunity to learn more about unique Aboriginal culture and history.

Meghan Ah-Nim explains, “The other mentors and I were able to create a unique bond with the students in just a few days. One of the things I am so happy to have gained from this experience is friendship with the Murri kids. I knew that living here at IH would open doors to such opportunities but being a part of the InspireU program exceeded all my expectations.”

IH mentors, mentees, InspireU guests, IH donors, and friends gathered for dinner in I-House. The evening featured storytelling from both the Indigenous teenagers and IH Director, Dr Carla Tromans.

“I’ve never been taught much of the Aboriginal culture in my high school years and it was so powerful to listen to the teenagers share their stories about where they come from, their family and homes. I realised that learning about the history and culture of Indigenous people through the stories they were willing to share is ten times more powerful than learning in a textbook. It led me into a very deep reflection, that understanding our history, the history of Australia is my duty to be able to explain,” said Emma Pelcener, from France.

“I did not know how diverse the mobs were. Learning about their individual stories and their backgrounds was incredible. I had the opportunity to hear about Indigenous ancestors and how they used to live,” added Meghan.

The InspireU camp also exposes students to a wide range of career and study options available to health science students and graduates. Students and mentors participate in activities throughout the week that are both interactive and informative, including sessions on sports psychology, careers in Indigenous health, psychology, nutrition and dietetics, biomedical sciences, human movement, pharmacy, and pathology. Fun is also on the agenda with city excursions and a day trip to Movieworld.

“I’ve learned to listen to people in a way I never did before, each and every story from this camp will stick with me for the rest of my life. InspireU definitely marked the beginning of my journey to learn about the Aboriginal culture. I still a lot to learn and more stories to hear, but it’s a great start. Inspire who? InspireU! Indeed everyone at this camp inspired me,” Emma exclaimed.


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