Almost a dozen students and two teachers from Red Bend Catholic College have immersed themselves in another culture, right here in Australia.
The team travelled to the remote Northern Territory town of Santa Teresa, spending a week volunteering at a Marist Brothers school there.
The eight day “immersion” trip has been running since 2010 and each year takes a group of students from Red Bend to the community to raise their awareness of Indigenous culture.
“This experience was a once in a lifetime,” student Grace Dawson said.
“It was amazing to see the beautiful and rich culture that is right at our back door step.”
Their role went beyond the classroom with the students helping out with the local Meals on Wheels service and throughout the town.
Head of Religious Education and Immersion Coordinator Brother John said the trip’s aims also included raising awareness of social justice issues which affect indigenous communities.
Students raise funds and pay their own expenses to be included in the trip and are then interviewed by a panel to gain a place on the trip.
Santa Teresa is nestled in the incredible Macdonnell Ranges region of Central Australia – 85km south east of Alice Springs - and home to about 555 people.
Students reflect on the journey
A few words from the students themselves on their experience …
“What I enjoyed most about Santa Teresa was spending time and sharing stories with the local Aboriginal people, also being able to immerse myself in their culture,” – Billy Barrott.
“It was very interesting to see all the different aspects of the community and especially nice to see that everybody there was smiling.
“The entire trip opened my eyes a great deal to the truth of the less fortunate.
“Although they had less, they were as happy as if they had everything they could ever want.” – Daniel Walker
“On the immersion I had many new experiences and chances to step outside of my comfort zone to involve myself and assist the beautiful Santa Teresa community members,” – Rosalie Ward.
“It gives you a whole new perception of what is happening in our country,” – David Parsons.
“It made me look at my own life through a different set of eyes,” – Jonah Ruzgas.
“I learnt a lot about myself, and a future career I could do,” - Iszac Bell.