This was a precious experience to all of us, an opportunity that was gladly taken, one that every member of the QAHS Health Trip will treasure for the rest of their lives. The Health Sciences Future Health Leaders Study Tour made us re-evaluate our future goals in healthcare as well as our perspectives on the priorities and the pressing issues faced by remote communities in Australia. The big question is: how can we play a bigger role to contribute to these communities in the future?
During the June-July school break, twelve QAHS Future Health Leaders, accompanied by Mr Tony Nicholson and our Principal Mrs Vanessa Rebgetz, set out on a ten-day journey to the Australian Outback as part of the Health Sciences Future Health Leaders Study Tour 2019. This was the first year that QAHS students have been part of such an immersive experience with Rustic Pathways, the tour operators.
A two-month extensive preparation programme of the Tour included: two E-Learning Courses on First Peoples Health by Griffith University, a visit to Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre and multiple presentations by experts in the field of First Peoples Health. We would like to thank Dr Debbie Bargallie (Senior Lecturer, First Peoples Health Program Lead, First Peoples Health Unit, Griffith University), Mr Chris Levinge (First Peoples Health Engagement Leader, School of Medicine, Griffith University), Candace Kruger (Head of Department Indigenous Education for Beenleigh and Loganlea State High Schools) and Dr Shannon Springer (Disciplined Lead for Indigenous Health, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Bond University).
We would also like to thank Mr Haydock and Mrs Bertwistle for their Resilience and Self-Care talk that supported and further prepared us mentally before our nervous yet excited departure into the Outback, as well as Mr Nicholson and the Rustic Pathways leaders for their thorough guidance, nurturement and encouragement throughout the trip. Finally, we would especially like to thank Mrs Rebgetz for introducing and pioneering this unique offering to QAHS.
During the Tour, which took place in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, we were able to involve ourselves in an array of unique and eye-opening experiences, which broadened our horizons and immersed us in the incredible cultures and societies of Australia’s First Peoples. The various activities, community services and explorations strengthened our bond as a group, allowing us to form new connections not only with each other, but with the land upon which we live.
The tour provided a plenitude of opportunities amongst which we were able to fulfill new knowledge and experiences in health, cultural and service learning. Listening to and yarning with the First Peoples was an amazing experience. Each person we talked to was incredibly open and happy to talk with us, sharing their personal insights, stories and wisdom. The trip opened our eyes to the pressing issues and difficulties faced by Australia’s First Peoples, specifically in remote areas where healthcare is especially limited. We were able to converse with people holding vastly different perspectives and life-stories, ranging from locals at the supermarket, to doctors at the local hospitals.
“I really appreciated learning about how the indigenous people used the land to their advantage in a way that allowed their environment to replenish itself (permaculture). The systems they used to hunt and gather food were advanced and in harmony with their environment” – Claudia Randall, Year 12
“This was an amazing opportunity, and if I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat” – Lara Shirley, Year 11
“The QAHS Future Leaders Medical Study Tour taught me so much, not only about the healthcare systems that have been put in place in such remote areas, but also gave me a whole new perspective on the culture and the lifestyles of the Indigenous people of Australia. From their improvised games which were completely different from what we would play at home to the countless activities and hobbies that we had interests in. From a health perspective, the trip broadened my understanding of how knowledgeable a rural medical practitioner must be and how prepared they have to be in any circumstance that is presented to them as well as being enlightened by stories and pathways of rural doctors and nurses that were shared in the clinics. All in all, the tour was one that I will never forget and could not recommend it enough for upcoming students at QAHS.” – Aryan Sabet, Year 11
Ayesha Gibbons and Lara Shirley
Year 11 Students