What an amazing time our combined group of 15 Corpus Christi and Bunbury Catholic College students had on the recent Indonesia Tour!  While suffering a little from heat, food and culture shock in the first few days, they quickly melded into a sociable, happy group.

During our three days in Yogyakarta we took in lots of traditional culture – for example the Kraton (palace) of Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, and his ancestors’ beautiful water palace, Taman Sari.  As well as experiencing the traditional Javanese arts of silver jewellery making, shadow puppets and batik, students also visited Borobudur, the breathtaking world-heritage Buddhist temple.  On another day, they cycled through local villages, stopping to look at rice farming and cottage industries such as tempe and bitternut crackers, and playing some traditional games.  We also managed to fit in the obligatory visit to famous Jalan Malioboro and its mall, riding home on andongs (horse carts).

Then it was on to Malang dand 9 nights in host families via a comfortable 8-hour train journey aboard the Malioboro Express.  Our sister school, Kosayu, had prepared an excellent programme for us, including school lessons with host siblings, learning Indonesian, bargaining in the local market, cooking and selling food, playing traditional gamelan instruments, making ceramic pots, playing basketball, visiting a kindergarten and performing a Javanese dance for host families.  The teachers and some students got to go to the Prom Night as well, attended by Year 12 graduands, some of whom we had welcomed at Corpus Christi in 2017, and dressed to the nines.  What a production it was!

In between all these school-based activities we went on excursions with various Kosayu students and staff to do a high ropes course, visit a huge waterfall, learn about bees at a honey-making centre and visit an innovative centre for poor and orphaned kids called “Kampung Kidz” which aims to produce well-balanced, creative, business-minded young people.  The highlight of that visit was a “Wipeout” style competition in teams where we ended up … quite wet.

Students very much enjoyed their stay in host families, making good friends with their host siblings.  The host families themselves were lovely and we are so grateful for their kindness and care for our students.  All round it was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to learn a lot about each other and to stay in touch.

It is hard to believe how much we packed into two short weeks, and yet it is a life-changing experience for our students who will never be quite the same again.  We hope those who attended will tell as many as possible what a fantastic time they had on exchange!

Sue Cooper & Lidia di Giuseppe