MANY of this year’s Year 12 students are returning from schoolies trips around the country, but few will have stories that will match those experienced by the 15 students that have just returned from Nepal.
Organised by Rotary Club of Orange Daybreak, the Alternative Schoolies program organised the student’s trip to Nepal where they worked within a school as teachers and undertook important rebuilding work.
Organiser Mary Brell said the 15 teenagers left Australia as young people straight out of school, and returned as mature young Australians.
“Orange is really lucky to have the calibre of young people that we have here. They came into their own, they represented Australia, rotary and themselves incredibly, incredibly well,” she said.
Mrs Brell knew the trip would change the students view of themselves and the world they lived in.
“They’re now looking at different careers that they may take, how lucky we are in Australia. They were awestruck,” she said.
“They saw students running to classrooms that were little more than four posts and some corrugated iron, and they were laughing and happy and for them to see that spirit, that was what made the difference.”
Maddy Dowd had travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia before and was expecting something similar, the difference though amazed her.
“They were so happy with what they had and so excited about everything. We take everything that we have for granted and worry about what we’re having for Christmas, and they have to worry about the next meal,” she said.
Fleur Connick said that the trip was very humbling.
“It was really refreshing as they were so loving and kind and you barely knew them and they wanted to be your best friend. Each parent was so proud of their kid and it was so emotional when we had to leave,” she said.
Aside from the cultural differences, the group experienced a range of cuisines that they’d previously never encountered.
“We had lots of these buff momo’s that were a dumpling that was filled with buffalo. They were really good,” said Andie Delaney.