Student stories

Indigenous work term in Australia leads to cultural exchange

Sydney Moore

Walanga Muru - Macquarie University

When Indigenous Studies and Canadian history student Sydney Moore had the opportunity to travel to Australia for a work term as part of UVic’s Indigenous International Work-Integrated Learning Program, she didn’t hesitate. As a Métis person with Anishinaabe, Cree and French ancestry, who was born and raised on the unceded territories of Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples, Moore was excited to work with Indigenous communities on the other side of the world.

Moore was hired as a visiting Métis scholar at Walanga Muru at Macquarie University on the territory of the Wattamattagal people of the Darug Nation. As part of her role, Moore was responsible for running cultural knowledge sharing workshops, completing administrative tasks, and assisting with the facilitation of mini-university camps. “This exchange included all of my passions; I was able to learn about and celebrate Indigenous cultures, share my culture, learn about the history of a place, travel and meet new people!”

During her co-op term, Moore learned to be flexible and learn from all situations. She believes the perspectives and practical knowledge she gained will positively benefit her academic studies. “My favourite part was connecting with students and coworkers through cultural knowledge sharing workshops or over coffee,” she says. “We also had the opportunity to audit some lectures, and explore the city once a week.”

Fortunately, COVID-19 didn’t have a huge impact on Moore’s co-op as she started her work term in January 2020, two months prior to international travel being affected. However, it did cut her experience a little short. Moore had to leave Australia four weeks prior to her completion date and finish work remotely in Canada.

“Co-op provided me with the chance to try out different work opportunities, gain interesting job experience, and to meet some pretty incredible people,” she says. Moore recently got a job as a Language Programs Administrative Assistant with the First People’s Cultural Council. “I am very excited about this opportunity and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.”

More about Humanities and fine arts co-op