ALUMNI: Abigail Crombie (Graduate 2020)

I started at Mundaring Christian College in the last term of 2009, in Year 1. I had just moved to Australia from Israel, where I lived.

I graduated in 2020 – the first year of COVID-19, making the uncertainty of the year a slightly more challenging ATAR experience, but in the end, we got through.

After school, I went to university, studying forensic biology, toxicology, and criminology. I had wanted to go on a gap year overseas before going to university, but it wasn’t possible with Covid.

After completing two years of my studies, I took a gap semester overseas, volunteering in a guesthouse in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. This was where my parents had worked for many years, and it was a home away from home for me. The work could have been more exciting, and the pay was non-existent, but the ability to live in a different country at little to no cost (my food and accommodation were covered by the hours I worked) was unique. Additionally, I lived in one of the most interesting places in the world. Dangerous sometimes. A mix of unfamiliar cultures, yes. Boring no.

With the end of the five months of my gap semester quickly approaching, I realised I didn’t want to leave. So, I changed my tickets and ended up staying longer, with plans to go in October. A couple of weeks before my flight, my parents and I agreed that the guesthouse needed my assistance, and it would be beneficial to stay until January and resume my studies.

On the same day as my October flight, Hamas invaded Israel, and war broke out. It became evident that God wanted me to stay in Israel to serve his people in this incredibly tough time. We (the staff and volunteers) began to welcome evacuees from the south into our guesthouse, a haven from the constant rocket fire they were experiencing. It was a challenging time for everyone living in Israel, but people came together to support each other.

After visiting family back home in Australia, I returned to Israel for another year to volunteer.

Since leaving school, it’s become apparent to me how we live in a ‘bubble’ in Perth. We should be so grateful for our life in Australia – free to speak our opinions, practice religion, and live how we want. But we should acknowledge that that differs from a big part of the world.

I advise those preparing to leave school soon to go out and explore. Experience new cultures and open yourself up to how the rest of the world operates. Also, give some of your time to volunteer work. It doesn’t have to be overseas. Working in an environment where you don’t gain anything but get the satisfaction of helping others is so beneficial. Most of the social programs in the world depend on volunteers.

To grow out of your box and mature, you must push yourself out of your comfort zone. It may be scary initially, but it will pay off in the long run. We live in a country overflowing with opportunities, so take advantage of them, but don’t take them for granted.