Just as most of the students were finishing Term 2, a group of 23 students and 4 teachers headed off on the Indonesian study tour to Java and Bali. Months of excited anticipation were over as we nervously passed through Customs and Immigration at Tullamarine Airport.
After a two hour stopover in Bali we headed to our first destination in Java, Yogyakarta. A city of four million, about a quarter the size of Melbourne. The traffic was horrendous as we caught the end of a week-long festival celebrating the end of the Muslim fasting of Ramadan. The students then spent four half days in a language school (Year 12’s completed full days) then off to experience the sights and culture of the city and its surrounds. Sultan’s Palace, becak rides, shopping and bargaining, huge temples and a chance to meet local people and use the Indonesian language that the students had been learning back in the classroom.
Experiencing different foods, using a different currency with the expectation of bargaining for almost everything was certainly a challenge for the group.
As we left Yogyakarta we were lucky enough to climb an active volcano, something many of us will not get another chance to do. As we arrived in Bali we spent a morning visiting a local school in Uluwatu. This was for most students the highlight of the trip. The way the whole school welcomed us into their surrounds and included our students in so many fun activities and cultural experiences was something to cherish for years to come.
We all arrived safely back in Melbourne with stories to tell, photos to share and the inspiration to continue learning Indonesian for years to come.
Thanks must go to the wonderful staff (Ann Bawden, Nicole Burness and Jason Harrison) who were responsible for the care and wellbeing of the students throughout the entire trip.