Big cities and big achievements: How our Travel Programs open up a world of opportunities

Big cities and big achievements: How our Travel Programs open up a world of opportunities
March 28, 2024 Girls from Oz

Big cities and big achievements: How our Travel Programs open up a world of opportunities 

Every year, g-oz facilitates the running of a Travel Program that sees a select group of participants from all of our communities travel to spend a week in a bustling metropolitan city. Alongside their peers, the girls have a jam-packed 7 days of experiencing what life is like in a community with little similarity to home, exploring new educational, musical and performance opportunities along the way. With the guidance of trusted mentors and friends, these Travel Programs can be a way to open doors to new education opportunities, careers and communities that may otherwise be untouched.

The beginning of a big journey

Hopping on a plane (perhaps for the first time) and arriving in a city miles from home is just the first big step taken by girls who join us on our Travel Programs. What’s in store after the flight is truly where the huge steps are taken…

The big city life and all the hustle and bustle that comes along with it, provides a much more expansive exposure to the arts and multicultural lifestyles, which can teach all of us more about the range of experiences people have in school, work and socially that differ from our own. For our Travel Program participants, this is also an opportunity to see how their own stories can become a part of this bigger picture and how they can share this through music.

The cross-cultural learning facilitated through the Travel Programs empowers participants to take pride in sharing stories about their families and community, and celebrate this in a context away from home. It’s inspiring to see the bravery and growth in confidence girls demonstrate when they are encouraged to speak or sing to strangers, using their voices with no shame.

“To see all of the participants take on multiple performances a day throughout the week, singing and speaking loud and proud while standing together really illustrated the benefit of unity and trusting relationships.” g-oz Instructor Tiana Russo 

Taking the stage

Experiencing the vibrant arts and cultural scenes of these big cities is a feature of the girls’ itinerary throughout the week. Participants often complete workshops with dance companies and singing ensembles, work with Indigenous mentors and educators, and attend popular performances at iconic theatres and concert halls, some of which the girls even get to perform at themselves! Not to mention, our Australian Girls Choir host families who often love to take the girls out and about to see the local area too, from iconic landmarks to local shopping centers, there’s so much to explore and learn in just one week!

In the weeks where g-oz travel to deliver programs in Community, we embed into our sessions the simple idea that there is no shame in trying. Whether it be singing on your own, performing a dance at school assembly, or just being yourself in a drama activity without fear of judgement. Our Travel Programs also reflect this but with the added element of being outside the comfort zone of home. Busy streets, bigger audiences and many opportunities to try things for the first time, such as standing on a stage performing for over 2000 people!

It is an achievement very few people from a big city can say they’ve done, let alone young women from a community whose entire population is half the size. But time and time again, g-oz Travel Programs turn this into an elating experience that is a highlight for all the girls involved.

“I felt brave when I was there and learning new songs and dance moves… It makes me feel wonderful dancing and having fun, and I love doing the new things.” Ebonaii-Sym Bennett, Bidyadanga Travel Program Participant 

Where we’ve been and where we’re going

In 2023, we were delighted to run two Travel Programs. Our first was to Perth for our Western Australian communities, Bidyadanga, Halls Creek, and Carnarvon, and our second to Brisbane for our Queensland communities, Kowanyama and Lockhart River. It was a joy for teachers, Instructors and of course the girls themselves, to see what they can achieve and learn as a team in just a week. Just a few highlights from these trips included trips to local arts and cultural centers, performances at Government House and trips to theatres and workshops with higher education institutions such as QPAC and WAAPA.

On top of all these exciting activities, Travel Programs are a vehicle for girls to form new friendships and connections outside of their community with other g-oz girls and their AGC host sisters. Every year, Instructors and host families alike notice the ease with which close connections form between the girls through a shared love of singing and dancing. Working through the sometimes daunting experiences together, participants develop an invaluable sense of resilience and camaraderie. The impact ripples and reshapes the outlook our participants have when they go back home, being more inclined to seize new opportunities in their own communities with a positive mindset.

The culmination of these trips is a performance on stage from the girls themselves, and is a truly inspiring moment for host families, participants, teachers and Instructors, who see the product of their teamwork play out in a spectacular performance.

“Their courage to stand up in front of an audience, introduce themselves and represent their community was a massive milestone. Their participation in the program, willingness to learn and try new things was so clearly shown in every experience.” g-oz Instructor Ainsley Summerton

In our 14th year of delivering Travel Programs for participants across our communities, Girls from Oz is excited to be continuing to expand the horizons for participants in 2024 as we head to Sydney for our 21st Travel Program, and we’ll be sure to take you with us along the way!