One of the most powerful experiences schools can offer students is to take them out of their comfort zones, to have them experience the lives of others first-hand.
Some offer street retreats, giving students a chance to work among the homeless or marginalised. Others offer immersion experiences, where students spend time in a community in remote Australia or overseas.
How do these experiences bring students closer to God? We asked schools to send in some reflections from students and teachers who have gone on immersion experiences this year.
Nine Year 11 students travelled from St Joseph’s College, Echuca, Victoria, to East Timor earlier this year, visiting communities and schools in the Aileu District.
One student wrote: “The most significant event for me was the day we went to the Catholic high school, St Peter and Paul’s College. At the school we taught our own classes to kids around our age. It was intimidating walking into a classroom packed with people who spoke little English. However the atmosphere of the classroom by the end was filled with laughing, music and smiles.”
From St Patrick’s College, Shorncliffe, Queensland, a group of students travelled to India for four weeks, visiting a number of programs and getting an insight into the lives of people living on the margins.
"St Beatrice School was built for the children of leper families who would not be allowed to attend other schools. However, in recent years, the quality of education at St Beatrice was so great that many other children, not from the leper colony, are also attending it.”
Lessons in living (Australian Catholics)