Emma Arnold 4th year student Bachelor of Social Work shares her experiences at Woolyungah Indigenous Centre.
Emma Arnold, a proud Yuin woman from the South Coast is currently in her final year of a Bachelor of Social Work at the University of Wollongong and has worked in multiple roles at the Woolyungah Indigenous Centre since 2021, including Student Ambassador and RISE Mentor.
Emma fully immersed herself within the university experience through her involvement in the RISE program, which offers academic, cultural and wellbeing support to high school students and is facilitated by WIC Student Ambassadors. Emma’s role in mentoring a local Year 8 Aboriginal student has enabled her to build transferrable skills required for a successful career in social work, whilst establishing strong connections with WIC staff, peers, and local First Nations high school students.
An additional service that Emma accessed through WIC is the ITAP tutoring program. A free academic support initiative that aims to improve educational outcomes for First Nations students. Emma reached out for further support in her assessment writing, which allowed her to receive high marks throughout her degree, describing herself as someone who “enjoyed high school although was not prepared for the academic standards of university”.
By engaging with the programs offered by WIC, Emma has grown in confidence and gained a clearer understanding of her personal and cultural values. Through ongoing engagement with local Elders, she has been able to surround herself with likeminded people that have enhanced her cultural knowledge, whilst developing lifelong friendships that provide her with necessary support. Stating “if you are struggling and need extra support, just ask. Otherwise, you are struggling alone, whilst surrounded by those who will support you through it”.
Emma strongly recommends future and current students get involved in the programs on offer at Woolyungah Indigenous Centre, including the Unisport Indigenous Nationals. A week-long event in which students play four different sports alongside other Indigenous University students from around Australia.