The trip is scheduled to take place after the conclusion of VCE examinations and encourages students to celebrate their graduation with service rather than ‘schoolies’ week.
Project work is always centred around a school and may include building, renovating, resourcing and training. Beyond the standard need for classrooms and amenities, we have also helped to provide schools with areas and equipment for play and sports, which international research in education have proven to be essential for learning.
We travel to villages in the areas around our school projects to see what daily life is like for the students attending the school we have worked in, and to see how that community works together to help make a brighter future for their children. These visits are a highlight for us – the men and women are welcoming and eager to show us their homes and share hospitality.
Why send students overseas?
As a community, Heritage College wants to help our students to get a bigger picture of the world than just their own concerns and their own neighbourhood. Our world is rapidly growing smaller, and we are now a global community. It is essential for us to know how to work with people from other cultures and societies in order for us to be active members of this ‘global village’. An overseas mission helps in this by providing the opportunity for students who would otherwise never have the chance to travel, to see what life is like outside Australia. I can already hear the students asking, “Can we go to the USA? England? New Zealand?” Here’s why we chose Nepal.
Nepal was selected for our senior trip as we want to take students outside of their comfort zone, and that means a totally different kind of lifestyle. For some, the idea of travelling to a developing nation is daunting; it may even seem too dangerous. So why would our school choose to send students to Nepal? Part of the reason is that so many people are serving only themselves; our focus is for students to learn the joy of helping others, and in Nepal they have the chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children who would otherwise live in extreme poverty. Another reason is the presence of ADRA (Adventist Disaster Relief Agency) in Kathmandu – this established presence helps us to provide a challenging, environment, without placing our students at any significant risk.
This project is not a once off. This is an ongoing program, offered to every Year 12 cohort since the program began to help build resilience, confidence, compassion, understanding and a sense of justice in each student. These qualities are essential in the transition from teen years to adulthood; students who can demonstrate they have travelled are more likely stand out to employers and tertiary institutions, as these projects are acknowledged for helping to create well rounded workers and students.