A group of Catholic school students from Adelaide swapped the relative comfort and frivolity of end of year schoolies celebrations in Victor Harbor to trek through the jungles of Vietnam and volunteer at an orphanage in Cambodia, reports The Southern Cross.
Fifteen St Aloysius College students, almost half of them fresh out of Year 12 exams, departed Adelaide after the exams for a four-week World Challenge expedition. Some of the Year 11 students finished their last final-year exams less than 24 hours before their departure flight.
And two students celebrated their 18th birthday while trekking more than 40km, sometimes carrying their own tents, for a week through northern Vietnam’s Central Highlands.
World Challenge says the group is one of the largest from a single school and the first all-female group from South Australia to participate in the program.
The students, aged from 16-18, were for the past year been juggling studies, learning Vietnamese during lunch time and training for the jungle trek, while holding down part-time jobs and fundraising to cover the cost of their trip and raise $1500 for the Rainbow Orphanage, in the remote Puok district of Cambodia.
The students spent five days at the orphanage, with the aim of fixing the roof of a former kitchen, helping create a mushroom farm or teaching English.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” said Year 12 student Antoinette Beaumont. “It took much dedication and a lot of work to raise the money, and most of us were also juggling with Year 12 studies.
“But this is what makes the journey even more rewarding – knowing that we organised the trip ourselves and funded the journey, without relying on our parents.”
Antoinette learnt of World Challenge projects while receiving a Bronze medal during a Duke of Edinburgh ceremony mid-last year.
FULL STORY Students opt for Cambodia trek (The Southern Cross)