A group of senior school students from Keilor`s Overnewton College is in for a culture shock as they prepare to spend their next school holiday studying Indonesian in Malaysia.
Yes, that`s right, Indonesian in Malaysia.
The group of 20 Year 10 and 11 Indonesian language students will go to Malaysia at the end of June after the school decided against travelling to Indonesia after a Federal Government travel advisory warning against unnecessary travel to the country.
Two teachers and five parents are also going to act as chaperones on the two-week trip, in which the children will have a chance to immerse themselves in Malaysian culture and also the Indonesian language.
Students will be boarding with local families and will spend five days attending Malaysian schools that offer Indonesian language classes, where they will take part in lessons on making pewter and batik, a traditional Indonesian colouring method used on textiles.
“The tour will provide students with the opportunity to practise their language skills in an Indonesian-speaking environment,” the head of the school`s language program, Ermin Doblanovic, said last week.
Fifteen-year-old Jay Mason, a year 10 student who has been learning Indonesian for the past seven years, said the compromise on their travel destination wouldn`t make very much of a difference to her or the other students.
“Malay is very similar in language and culture (to Indonesian),” she said.
And while she said her years of training had helped her get a comfortable grip on the Indonesian language, this trip would be a chance for her and the other students to try out their language skills outside the classroom, and experience an alternative culture.
“I expect it to be very different in some ways to Australia,” she said, with her group taking an opportunity to learn about the country`s official religion, Islam, and its culture first hand.
The trip to Malaysia is part of an intense couple of months for Overnewton`s students and teachers.
In the coming months the school is also sending a group of nine students to Germany and a another group to Zambia, where the school sponsors an orphanage.
Source: www.starnewsgroup.com (7 Juni 2007)