Ararat College sent a group of 8 students on the trip of a lifetime late last year. The students who were in Year 11 and 12, visited Nepal for 3 weeks, building a new school facility, exploring the capital and trekking through the Annapurna region.
The trip organised by Antipodeans, an Australian and New Zealand based company was a first for Ararat College. An information session was held in 2016, followed by the students planning their trip and then embarking on the journey.
Teacher at Ararat College, Kriss Ellis, had been previously involved with an Antipodeans trip and knew that it would be a unique experience for Ararat College students, said Acting Principal Janine Adams when asked about the motivation behind the opportunity.
Antipodeans offers these programs to schools and universities with their goal to create ‘extraordinary people’ as outlined on their site. Their programs are advertised to, ‘engage students in critical thinking, problem-solving and decision making.’
Rachel Burns who has since graduated from Ararat College said, “It sounded like something that was really rewarding” when she attended the information session in 2016.
Ms Burns was very nervous before heading to the foreign land but on return, she shared just how enjoyable the experience was. “I would definitely do it again and I definitely recommend it to other people.”
“I’m just going to be a lot more grateful, for sort of the little things,” Ms Burns said after experiencing the Nepalese lifestyle.
One of the students most memorable experiences was their time in the little village of Bhaktapur. The group helped build a new facility for a lower secondary school by mixing concrete, moving the cement and laying bricks.
The building was almost finished on their departure with the help of three other Antipodeans groups.
The experience was a life changer for the students who grew closer together. “We sort of had a divide between year 11 and 12 before going over,” Burns said before explaining, “We kind of all just meshed together.”
Ararat College hopes another trip will be organised in the future due to the incredible learning experiences gained for not only the students but also teachers and the school.
“It was an incredible experience that they will remember for the rest of their lives,” explained Acting Principal Janine Adams. “The opportunity to disconnect from social media, put down your phone and focus on the present moment is rare in today’s fast-paced society.”