Indonesian Exchange Program
The following is a report by Sophie Terry, Madie Lardner, Penny Vakalopoulos and Libby Parkinson who are currently involved in an Indonesian Exchange Program:
The Year 9 Indonesian Exchange Program has been the most amazing experience. Every single person we have met has been very warm and welcoming. We have felt at home even though many things are very different and we are immersed in the culture. Our Indonesian language skills have improved greatly in only a very short time and we will bring back to our classes many stories and experiences. Amongst these exotic places we have been taken to a tea plantation, a zoo and theme park, shopping mall, an iced tea and soft drink factory, a volcano and waterfall, and a family villa in the mountains. Teaching students about koalas and platypus and spending time in a wide range of lessons has been a highlight of our exchange.
Since arriving in Surabaya, we have visited all sections of the Margie School, a small independent school of less than 400 students. We have participated in a welcoming ceremony, learnt how to make batik, watched students make ceremonial masks, created our own Wayang puppets to frame and posed for many photos. 90% of the students are catholic, yet 90% of the teachers are Muslim. As this is the time of Ramadhan, we have also learnt the importance of religion in the lives of the Indonesian people. My host family lives across the road from an ornate Balanese Hindu temple so we hear the call to prayer for the Muslims, watch the ebb and flow of footwear at the temple entrance and have a catholic focus underpinning our daily life at the school.
I am continually impressed with the beauty of Indonesia: the gardens and farms, the gentle natured people and the delicious food. We were fortunate to be taken by the Margie School Principal to “Class5”, and indoor rock climbing centre in Surabaya. Madie was particularly impressive when challenged to a climb, scaling the wall with style and winning a prize.
We have developed life-long friendships where we have experienced education, language and culture whilst hanging out with a great group of people. This exchange with the Margie School in Indonesia has been one of the most wonderful and enriching experiences we have ever had.
Exchange Co-ordinator and Snowsports Co-ordinator