Students and staff from St Mary’s College Ipswich will depart on 30 November for the biennial Cambodia Immersion, an opportunity for mutual cultural exchange, learning and personal growth.
The fourteen-day trip has taken place every two years since 2013, and the College is proud this year to be sending the largest contingent to date. Sixteen students will be accompanied by four staff members, including Principal Judith Finan, and Sister of Mercy Dr Mary Lawson. The immersion is held in partnership with Cambodian organisations such as Metta Karuna, run by Sister Denise Coghlan, a Sister of Mercy from Brisbane.
St Mary’s College Pastoral Leader Margareta Lemon, the Immersion Group Leader, said the Mission trip provided an invaluable learning opportunity. “The Khmer people, despite the horrific history their country has endured, are people who demonstrate such resilience and joy and we have so much to learn from them,” Ms Lemon said.
“It is our hope that through this immersion program all of our participants will be transformed by the experiences and return to our community filled with insight into poverty, different ways of living in the world and a deeper awareness of our interconnection and interdependence as one global family.”
During their visit, St Mary’s College staff and students will help with the English language program taught in five schools, assisting the poorest children, and participate in an outreach project undertaking tasks such as thatching walls for houses and constructing three-wheeled wheel chairs. Additionally, the team will visit cultural sites including Angkor Wat, the largest religious structure in the world.
Through immersion, the program aims to challenge the ways in which participants think, how they interact with others and ultimately how they live their lives. The personal growth and learning that students gain from this immersion programs is often more profound and long lasting that that of any other overseas travel they will experience.
The College community look forward to hearing about the experience of the immersion participants, and sharing in their knowledge upon their return.