Student return from life-changing Cambodian immersion

18.10.2017

Eight St Norbert College students have had their views on life, wealth, happiness and suffering radically transformed after spending a life-changing 12 days in Cambodia as part of an immersion trip.

The Year 10 and 11 students, who returned on September 22 from the trip, said they had been inspired to share their talents and possessions to help people less fortunate than themselves, whether locally or abroad.

“Seeing the different environments and living conditions in Cambodia has opened my views about the world and I want to see where I can contribute,” Year 11 student Britney Mundt said.

The group, who were accompanied by school staff members Miss Margaret Kyd and Ms Carrol Abel, spent time in remote Cambodian villages and visited several sites of historical importance.

One of the most moving experiences of the trip was a visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Musuem, where the students met two of the survivors of the infamous S-21 Prison, where more than 12,000 Cambodians were murdered in the 1970s.

Despite the atrocities many Cambodians have witnessed, the group said the locals they met were happy, hospitable and remarkably generous given the little they have.

“The whole immersion reminded me that life isn't about the things that we possess but about the time we spend with other people; our feelings during that time and our experiences,” Year 11 student Seymour Gumba said.

“During our time with the children there – without technology helping to entertain us – we learnt a lot about them, their hopes and dreams, and developed close friendships with them.

“The immersion made me realise all the things I take for granted of in my life… and it has made me more determined to try to help other people.”

St Norbert College Principal Simon Harvey said the immersion was a unique opportunity for the students.

“The guiding principles of this immersion, as celebrated in the Commissioning Ceremony prior to the group’s departure, speak to the heart of why we value such opportunities for our students: ‘We commit to continue to live for others’,” he said. 

“It was wonderful to hear that the group relished the opportunities to visit and engage with, but ultimately, to serve the Cambodian people they met – living for others.

“What the girls experienced during those 12 days was truly life-changing, not only enriching their own lives, but also the lives of all members of the school community and is another example of how we strive to live our College motto and to be ‘Prepared for all good works’.”

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