Despite the fact that we have not been able to go to Timor-Leste on our Immersion program since 2019, the strong relationships we built up over time have continued to flourish. As a result, some of our alumni are endeavouring to continue to help develop the wonderful classroom facilities that provide educational opportunities for the children of Timor-Leste via a fundraising venture along the Great Ocean Walk to hopefully raise $30,000.
>>> Click here to learn more about this alumni fundraising venture in the Conversations article by Ms Venettia Miller.
I am sharing this news because these young men are wonderful ambassadors for Waverley, and reflect the values of Edmund Rice in caring for the disadvantaged and thinking of others before themselves. Some of our past students who were privileged to attend these immersions pre-COVID-19 include one of our Vice-Captains from 2020, Liam Andrews.
Liam’s reflection on his Timor-Leste experience (below) is testament to the wonderful relationships that can be made throughout these opportunities. Hopefully post-COVID we will be able to again participate and enjoy these simple, yet life-changing experiences beyond the Waverley gates.
The Timor-Leste immersion offers an experience that is distinctly unique to Timor-Leste itself. From the warm welcoming people and communities, to the natural beauty and rich history of the Timor land, the immersion allowed me to challenge my comfort zones and engage in a truly humbling experience.
Through our homestay with the families in Railaco Craic, we were not only able to build relationships that transcended language barriers, but created memories that will last lifetimes. Playing soccer with the local kids, introducing them to the beauty of rugby, and learning more about a country that exists so closely to Australia, the immersion strengthened the bonds between the Waverley boys. It offered opportunities to learn more about the staff that accompanied us, helping the boys to develop healthy student-teacher relationships that continued on as we got back in the classroom.
Additionally, the friendly nature of our guides from Timor Unearthed created a fun environment allowing us to benefit from their profound knowledge of Timor-Leste. Ultimately, the Timor-Leste immersion is a humbling experience that allows the Waverley boys to understand their privilege and experience a world greatly different from our own.
Liam Andrews, 2020 Vice-Captain
Ms Suzanne Walsh
Director of Identity and Student Formation