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Social Justice

Timor-Leste Immersion 2016

Timor-Leste tour 2015.

In August 2016, ten students from Years 10 and 11 and their teachers will travel to East Timor for an immersion experience.

This is the College’s third tour to Timor-Leste, following successful journeys in 2014 and 2015.

Students participating in the immersion spend time interacting with the young people of Railaco Kraic in the Ermera District. Students develop connections, build friendships, participate in community projects and learn about subsistence economies. An important aim of the tour is also to support development and education for the people of Timor-Leste.

The immersion offers opportunities to observe and support the work of the Christian Brothers as well as visit government and non-government organisations working in Timor-Leste. Students also develop an understanding of our neighbouring country’s recent past through visits to places of historical significance.

To read more about earlier immersions as well as geopolitical and historical insights about the country click on the link below, which takes you to a special page on ‘Haiku’ the College’s Learning Management System. While the tour is away, you’ll also be able to read a daily blog on their experiences.

Timor-Leste Immersion Haiku Page


What the students said:

In addition to building strong connections in Timor-Leste, the trip is a wonderful learning experience, which stays with the boys for years to come.

These are some of the students’ observations from 2015:

‘We saw the difficulty of life for many in Dili … interacting with the children, we developed a new understanding of the hardships they faced, all the while showing a smiling face to the tourists.’ – Max Shanahan and Jake Jansen

‘We ventured to Samalete 3 and were greeted by singing students of the primary school. After our questionable performance of Waltzing Matilda, we gifted the deputy principal a scrapbook created by our Junior School students that showcased life at Waverley College. We then visited classrooms ranging from Pre-school to Year 6, trying to converse with the kids with a mixture of Tetun and English.’ – Jack Ryan and Matt Dunne

‘After our hard work [painting a school] we enjoyed a small afternoon tea with the teachers including local Timorese coffee, dried banana, donuts and a local delicacy of grey colour and potato like texture that we are still debating on what it is. Upon looking at our hard work we have high hopes that everything we painted will keep its good looks just like the classroom that was painted by the previous immersion group and be presentable to the President of East Timor, who is expected to visit the area and school next week.’ – Luke Ryan and Jonathan Howells

‘The markets were definitely a symbol of East meets West with some stalls selling local tobacco and nuts while others were selling mobile phones and speakers…many boys were considering permanently residing in Timor-Leste on account of donuts only costing 5 cents each.’ – Luke Ryan and Jonathan Howells

‘We met a man called Manuel, who worked at the museum. After striking up a conversation about Australia, he told us of his experience of the 1991 Santa Cruz Massacre, where at the age of 15 he was shot twice in the leg and back and his close friend died. He showed us photos of himself lying on the ground shot, while explaining why he protested for freedom, and how he is proud of the museum where he now works.’ – Jack Ryan and Matt Dunne

‘We freshened up, putting on our Timor Immersion shirts and went to the Australian Embassy to talk to the Vice Ambassador Angela Robinson and Aid Coordinator Megan. Mrs Robinson talked about Australia’s involvement in Timor, including diplomatic aid to the Timorese Government, development in agriculture and tourism, and sports diplomacy.’ – Jack Ryan and Matt Dunne

‘We found ourselves back in Sydney in no time at all. An adventure of immersion, discovery, and triumph of the human spirit had come to an end.’ – Joe Nardo and John Soden