Meet our student

Rachel Freeman-Robinson Rachel Freeman-Robinson

Bachelor of Arts (Honours), majors in history and international development

Course of study:
Bachelor of Arts (Honours)

Rachel is completing her Bachelor of Arts and will go on to Honours study in the coming semester. Her majors are in history and international development, but she also has ambitious PhD plans: ‘[I’d like to] go on to a PhD and continue on into academic research in global/transnational history, with a particular focus on settler colonialism and Indigenous studies.’

Wanting to lighten the load of coursework in a regular semester, Rachel Freeman-Robinson signed up for the Aboriginal history and culture subject Encountering Aboriginal Victoria as part of her degree at La Trobe University.

‘In one word the experience was intense. It has quite literally changed my life and given me direction and focus for my studies. Who would have thought that taking a summer course to fill in time would have had such an impact? It has never really dawned on me how little we know and respect the Australian past for what it is.’

The intensive subject takes place over a week in regional Victoria. Students interact with local indigenous elders from the Yorta Yorta and Bangarang and listen to guest lecturers.

‘The archaeology lecture was really interactive. We had the fabulous David Frankel introduce us to middens, mounds and stone tools. Kate Auty, one-time Magistrate for Koorie Courts in Victoria and Northern Territory, was a wealth of knowledge and a real pleasure to listen to. A video link question and answer session with Tony Briggs, writer of film The Sapphires, was a real bonus.’

But how does a student get started when they begin studying at La Trobe? What kinds of resources are useful? Rachel notes that, for her, ‘[there are] great courses through the library, caring and active tutors and lecturers, a fabulous library collection and excellent courses in graduate opportunities.’

Considering her future studies, it’s clear Rachel is a fan of the humanities. But, as she notes herself, she has good reason for finding it a rewarding area to study. ‘Through humanities, students acquire the kind of critical thinking and analytical skills that are so fundamental to positive futures for Australians and all peoples around the world.’

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