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Shireen Foroghi

Indigenous and political science co-op student travelled to Australia for work term at Walanga Muru - Macquarie University.

About

A student stands wearing an animal pelt that has stories and images etched into the hide.

My name is Shireen Foroghi, and I studied political science at UVic. I graduated in 2022.

I am a Cree-Metis woman originally from St. Laurent, Red River Valley in Manitoba. I grew up in Kwikwetlem territory on the lower mainland where I discovered I wanted to attend UVic to participate in the Co-op Abroad program.

At the time of my work term, I had recently travelled to Cambodia and decided that I wanted to understand government and policies in order to address development and poverty reduction across the globe. I was extremely excited to participate in the Indigenous exchange program as I had the opportunity to put my studies into practice and develop my learning competencies.

Work term

Being Indigenous myself, I was eager to learn and compare how Indigenous communities around the world are impacted by politics and their governing policies. When I was in Sydney, Australia I was a Visiting Scholar with Macquarie University where I was working with the Indigenous Engagement team, Walanga Muru.

I learned a lot from the multiple, strong female role models at Walanga Muru, which created a very empowering space. My duties consisted of small research projects, administrative tasks, organizing cultural sharing workshops, event coordination and experiential days exploring Australia.

I was really lucky to have travelled to Melbourne on a business trip, where I observed the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Consortium which discussed the needs of Indigenous students in higher education.

My favourite part of working at Walanga Muru was getting the opportunity to talk with other Indigenous students during our cultural sharing workshops, where we engaged in deep conversations around colonialism and Indigenous culture.

Learning outcomes

As an Indigenous student, I was very honoured to be chosen to partake in the Indigenous International Work-Integrated Learning Program which allowed me to explore more of my personal being, as well as explore the culture, traditions and teachings of global Indigenous communities. I learned that there are a lot of similarities in Indigenous perspectives and colonial experiences.

When working at Walanga Muru, I was able to work on my professional demeanor which is necessary within political science, as well as explore a variety of land and water policies. My knowledge on the workings of a post-secondary institution expanded as I was considered a staff member with Macquarie University.

Macquarie University is in the process of Indigenizing all curriculums and faculties, to include Indigenous perspectives; I would love to see and work on Indigenizing UVic's curriculum. I contributed to this project through supplying resources for a specific faculty, to be used by students and professors.