Ibu Jones and I are currently in Jakarta with 18 students from our Secondary College, ranging from Year 7 to Year 11. Our youngest turns 13 on this trip. We are visiting our sister schools Kairos Gracia in Jakarta and Ellyon in Surabaya, as well as adventuring out to the still active volcano Mt Bromo. (Ummm, well, not that active at the moment 😉)
Here are two of the many reasons for this trip.
I want to foster relationships between our two schools. It’s a surprising fit; city dwelling Indonesian students and country dwelling fringe kids from Australia. We visit each other year about. This is our third trip to Indonesia (three on this trip have been before). At the heart of this trip is the hope that through experience and relationships, our students will understand the importance of learning languages and being sensitive and empathetic to other cultures.
We want to create the opportunity to create a life-long memory; a real and lasting experience for our students. Think about your strongest memory from school. I deeply hope it was a good one. Usually, this memory will be linked to your emotions and a powerful challenge that you faced. In fact, not much real learning or memory development takes place in the land of bland and boring. Therefore, we want to link learning with real experience at our College.
We stayed in a hotel last night as we arrived quite late in the evening, the photo does look quite luxurious, I know. Today we will travel to a display of cultural villages and this evening our students will divide and stay in the homes of parents from their sister school. This is the heart of the trip for me. They will see how their host families live and must adjust. They will need to adjust, consider, communicate, overcome some trepidation and see into the lives of others who previously would have seemed strange to them. This afternoon will begin awkwardly. I can assure you it will end, in a few short days, quite emotionally. They will be saying goodbye to people they have come to deeply appreciate and care for as they have experienced family, friendship and Indonesian’s legendary hospitality.
Through this trip our students will change, they will come out of this experience with different people. They will have risen, learned something about themselves and a whole lot about others. This is why we have the special days, camps, events, trips and all the hands-on challenges that our school fosters. On a profoundly personal level, these are deeply important for our students. It’s worth it.
Mr Rod McNeill