What a Wonderful World
During the Term 3 holidays the College had a number of students participate in immersion experiences to gain understandings of how people live in different parts of the world. We had girls travel to the Northern Territory to spend time in the Aboriginal community of Santa Teresa, students spend time with the Good Samaritan Sisters in their Kinder School in Bacolod in the Philippines and a contingent of girls visit Italy for a home stay and school experience in Umbria.
While each trip provided quite different experiences, what they all had in common was that they exposed students to different cultures and different ways of living. In each instance the experiences helped students develop an appreciation and respect for other cultures. They also assisted in bridging cultural divides between people and communities. While the girls certainly enjoyed the experiences, there were many more benefits than simply enjoyment and fun.The girls had to move out of their comfort zones and deal with different languages, different cultures and, in some cases, very different environments.
The girls who visited Santa Teresa not only gained an insight into life in the outback, they also gained an understanding of the work of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in this area. Santa Teresa is far removed from the experience of most of our students and it provided them with an encounter that opened their eyes and hearts. This trip allowed students to immerse themselves in the culture and day-to-day life of the local people and gain a sense of life in a remote desert community.
Students who took part in the trip to the Philippines visited the Good Samaritan Kinder School to spend some time with the Sisters in Bacolod. Their life and ministry there, is a partnership with the local people and is about living in community and sharing resources. The Sisters opened the Kinder school in 2004 for children unable to access early childhood education because of poverty and the two years spent in the Kinder school prepares them for future schooling. The Sisters also provide a nutritious meal each day which, for many children, is their best meal if not their only meal, for the day. As you can imagine, this immersion experience had a profound influence and impact on our students.
The final immersion opportunity was markedly different, with girls visiting Italy for both school and cultural immersion. The focus of this trip was to provide opportunities for further exposure to, and enrichment in, the Italian language. As well as living with an Italian family and attending an Italian school, the girls were immersed in Italian culture and tradition as well having exposure to important Christian sites in Rome and across Italy.
In each instance the students and staff returned with a deeper appreciation of diversity and our common humanity. We live in a world where conflict and violence are often emphasized, yet these experiences really do show the goodness of people and the common understandings that we all hold.
We live in a wonderful world, it’s just that sometimes we need to lift our eyes from the day-to-day to appreciate it.
Have a great weekend.
Dr Frank Pitt
Back to All Articles