The College has a proud tradition in offering a small number of Year 11 to participate in an immersion experience in Cambodia. Successful immersion experiences have been offered in 2003-2004, 2006-2019. Due to COVID-19 the 2020 and 2021 immersions have had to be cancelled. We hope to be able to resume this experience in the not too distant future
WHAT IS AN IMMERSION EXPERIENCE?
An immersion experience is when a person is placed in a situation, either in his/her own country or in a foreign country, where the normal pattern of their existence is disrupted by a new set of circumstances. The new circumstances are normally characterised by some form of poverty.
The purpose of doing this is to provide the opportunity to see a new perspective on the world and the way other people live their lives. It is necessary to realise that one of the key purposes of these sorts of experiences is to learn from the people you meet and to stand in solidarity with them. In short, it attempts to develop sensitivity to the difficulties of another’s situation. This helps to ensure that the experience is not simply one of observing other people’s misfortune.
LA VALLA SCHOOL, CAMBODIA
The primary destination for this experience has been the La Valla School, Cambodia.
The Marist Brothers of the Province of Australia have been conducting a school for disabled children (disabled as a result of burns or industrial accidents, or by diseases such as polio and muscular dystrophy) in Cambodia since the late 1990’s. The school is called La Valla, and it has been named after the first school started by the Marist Brother’s founder, Marcellin Champagnat, in 1817 in a hamlet in France.
This immersion not a tourist trip or even a cultural exchange – it demands something deeper. We want to provide the selected students with the opportunity to see the world from a different point of view and to have their values challenged. The following criteria will guide our selection. The selected person must:
- be open to change and new experiences;
- be able to co-exist and work as a group with other students and adults;
- be flexible and adaptive and be able to cope with the demands of a different culture;
- be prepared to be challenged by the experience and to learn from it rather than to resist it;
- be able to communicate and share the experience with the school community on his/her return;
- be in good health, enjoy physical activity and be prepared to initiate and teach English lessons to students and adults;
- be an active and engaged member of the College community (including application in classes and attendance) and social justice issues.
- be able to provide a referee (that is not related by blood or marriage)
- be able to meet the financial commitment of the trip
Additional Immersions have been offered in the past to staff and students and have resulted in people undertaking experiences in countries such as Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and Vietnam.