Immanuel’s first overseas mission trip was a resounding success with Principal Colin Minke, four students and two teachers travelling to Indonesia to teach English to students in Years 7 and 10 at a secondary school (HKBP Synod) in Parapat, which is four hours south of Sumatra’s capital of Medan.

The idea is to form links with a secondary school where our students can share experiences, work with local students and experience life in a culture considerably different from their own,” said Mr Minke.

Nearly 90% of Indonesia is Muslim making it the world’s largest Islamic nation. However, the area in Sumatra has a large Christian population. The area is quite poor and its resources are limited.

SMA HKBP is making a big effort to increase the digital literacy of its students and we are hopeful this will enable links to be maintained through the use of Skype. We will also be sending a class set of laptops to the school to help facilitate this process,” he said.

As well as visiting the school, a significant part of the trip was service-based cultural immersion which took place in Raya, where Immanuel students worked with disabled children at a disability rehabilitation centre.

The opportunity for our students to work alongside disabled children, supporting their engagement in learning, was confronting. However, it’s important for our young people to be taken outside of their comfort zone and to make a difference wherever they can,” said Colin.

The students worked at the centre by running activities and sharing their own knowledge, all the while forming relationships with local children, their teachers and the wider community. It’s about developing cultural capital and sowing the seeds for future trips and possible student and/or teacher exchanges,” he said.

This trip was the first of hopefully, more to come, where both Indonesian and Australian teachers and students can celebrate diversity and come together in unity on many projects and shared ideals.