Saint Ignatius College Geelong

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    Indonesian Study Tour

    Article by Ms Julia Hall

    Indonesian Study Tour

    Twenty-two Indonesian language students from Years 10 and 11 joined four staff (Ms Julia Hall, Mr Joe McLean, Ms Elana Cole and Mrs Caroline Edmonds) to explore Jakarta and North Sumatra. The trip began in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, where we explored sites of national importance, including MONAS (Monumen Nasional), Istiqlal Mosque and the state Cathedral, as well as one of the cities massive and impressive shopping malls.

    As we slowly grew acclimatised to the hot and humid weather, we them embarked on the epic road trip section of the trip. Flying into Medan in North Sumatra, we headed down to Bukit Lawang, in the Gunung Leuser National Park, where we spent a day in the jungle exploring and looking for orangutans. We were lucky enough to find several, including a big male and several females with their adorable babies.

    From Bukit Lawang we also visited Tangkahan. Originally a logging village, when the locals realised the damage being done, they collectively decided to stop illegal logging and transform the area into a self-sustained ecotourism destination. It’s now home to several rehabilitated adult Sumatran elephants and their small calves. By joining the elephants in their morning bathing, we were very pleased to support the local initiative, which also helps to safeguard the national park to protect it from encroachment. And how many people can say they’ve had an elephant wash them back!

    We then powered on to the shores of Lake Toba, a natural lake occupying the caldera of a supervolcano. Samosir (the island that happens to be bigger than Singapore) occupies the middle of Lake Toba, and we took to a boat to explore the villages of Ambarita (featuring ancient megalithic furniture and catchy Toba Batak dancing) and Tomok (with traditional tombs combining Christian and animistic beliefs).

    The group made lots of new friends everywhere they went and seized every opportunity to build their language skills. Well done to all students involved:

    William Bothe, Lucy Carpenter, Madeleine Crothers, Maeve Dungey, Tex Hallam, Jasmine Hay, Bella Harry, Emily Henry, Kaidyn Henry, Guy Herbert, Lucy Irving, Luke Lawson, Dana Lourie, Sean Malone, Mikayla Michels, Ruby Moreland, Nikita Page, Andrew Power, Hannah Scott, Thomas Smith, Maggie Van Bakkum and Natalia Wilcox

    Ms Julia Hall  Learning Area Leader - Languages

     What the students had to say:

    Wow! What an experience. Indonesia is an amazing country with a vast amount of opportunities. We trekked for orangutans in the Sumatran jungle, visited the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, washed and fed fruit to elephants in a river, scaled a colossal Jakarta mall, donated a cheque to conservation organisations while conversing with native speakers throughout. I am grateful to the College for allowing these opportunities to take place as well as to Ms. Edmonds, Bu Cole and Mr. McLean for accompanying us on this journey and for their great care of us. I am especially thankful to Bu Hall for her organisation, humour and enthusiasm, making the trip a highly memorable experience.

    William Bothe

    That it was the best trip, and that you don't expect everyone to be so welcoming but the locals are so friendly and lovely that they make you feel safe and welcome.

    Maggie Van Bakkum

    It was incredible to go to so many different places with in 12 days. It was awesome to visit the country that I have been learning the language of for 5 years.     

    Maddie Crothers

     After being lucky enough to visit Indonesia through the school's Indonesian program, I feel as if my language skills have improved immensely and I have also developed new friendships and perspectives on different cultures as a whole.

    Tom Smith

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