More than 50 St Andrew’s Anglican College students defied the stereotypes of the so-called ‘Me Generation’ recently, making a difference in the lives of others around the world, as part of the College’s award-winning Global Opportunities (GO) Program.
Over the two-week September school holiday period, students from Years 8-12 participated in a variety of projects and trips across the globe, including in Japan, Spain, Thailand and Cambodia, as part of St Andrew’s award-winning Global Opportunities (GO) Program.
Through either a service or experiential learning program, students develop global perspectives and cultural intelligence, as well as knowledge, skills and values in a non-traditional academic setting.
It was an especially enlightening and life-changing few weeks for students in Years 10-12 who spent 12 days in Cambodia, completely immersing themselves in the culture and learning about local history, including teaching children in a primary school and partnering with locals to build a toilet block and vegetable garden in a remote village.
The students also visited the site of the notorious S21 Prison, now known as the Tuol Sleng Museum of Genocide, and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields to learn about the Cambodian Genocide led by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s.
Teacher Shaun Cleary said he was proud with the way St Andrew’s students were defying the stereotypes of the so-called ‘Me Generation’.
“I’m often perplexed when some older generations hastily discount the youth of today,” Mr Cleary said.
“This next generation have got it so right. Their consideration for a need greater than their own and their kindness and compassion are exactly what the world needs today.
“We are very proud to be a part of the St Andrew’s community, that gets the ‘bigger picture’, and grateful to have been afforded this opportunity to share a journey of personal growth with the students.
“Let’s never forget that life’s lessons don’t end with school, but that every day is a unique opportunity to continue to learn and grow, so that in our own small way back home, we are empowered to collectively contribute to a better tomorrow for all.”
From pouring cement and shovelling in the heat, to spending hours pulling out weeds, to playing games of ‘duck duck goose’ and making bracelets with local primary school children, Year 12 student Chelsea said the service program trip changed her for the better.
“This trip has helped me grow as a person, not only in who I am, but also in my beliefs,” Chelsea said.
“The opportunity we have been presented with to give back to others in need and experience a whole new and exciting culture is a big reason as to why I signed up for this trip.
“I appreciate the importance of giving back more than I did before.
“I believe that we get caught up within our Western world and sometimes forget how lucky we really are.”
Year 10 student Bronte said that she plans to take what she has learnt during her time in Cambodia and make changes in her daily life.
“I came to help. I came to experience. I came to learn. But also came to prove many things to myself. I came to show myself that I can make a difference and to be put in a situation with many other like-minded people with these same goals,” Bronte said.
“It is important for us, the youth of this world, to be thrown into a myriad of challenges that would never have been hardships in our own country, but I am now faced with a new challenge, to apply this within our Western bubble…in every way.”
St Andrew’s Year 8 students travelled to Thailand where they visited elephant sanctuaries, volunteered in local schools, learnt about child sponsorship programs and assisted locals in building a new school dormitory in a village that the College has been visiting for the past six years.
A further 12 students spent a month at the College’s Partner Schools in Spain and Japan, where they were hosted by school families and immersed in local life in order to expand their global perspectives and further develop their cultural intelligence.
The GO Program won the Best Co-curricular category at the recent Australian Educator Awards.
This program aims to place the students in situations where they will need to demonstrate independence, leadership, critical thinking and servanthood, and is closely linked to the curriculum in order to leverage the knowledge and skills that have already been developed in the classroom.
It is hoped that, through these experiences, the students will develop an ability to thrive in different cultural situations and become more equipped to bring about positive change both globally and locally.Jump to next article