Fundraising activities are well underway as members of the 2019 Cambodia service trip prepare for this annual service project. Due to depart on Thursday 20 June, the group is made up of 74 students and 13 staff. This long-standing service project involves many capacity building projects as well as local community work in the Peak Sneng village in the Siem Reap region and Phnom Penh, primarily focusing on several schools. The group of over 80 members will depart on Thursday 20 June and return on Friday 5 July.
To give us an insight into what this incredible trip involves, three members of the group, Global Citizenship Centre Director Ali Meighan, who is undertaking her second trip, and first-timers, Year 11 student Isabella and Year 10 student Benjamin, recently answered some questions for us.
How did you get involved with the Cambodia service trip?
Isabella: I decided to express interest in the Cambodia service trip this year because of all the amazing stories I heard. Furthermore, the prospect of giving back to the global community was something that really interested me.
Ali Meighan: Within my role of running the School’s global citizenship initiative, getting involved with the Cambodia service trip was a must for me! I was lucky enough to go on the program last year and have been a part of other programs in Cambodia in the past through my work at JUMP! Plus, taking students on programs abroad is one of the favourite parts of my job! My life was completely changed by an international program I went on in High School, so I love helping to facilitate similar life-changing experiences for students.
Benjamin: I became interested through both the Schools advertisement of the service trip, and also through conversations with students, and teachers about this journey. Throughout Middle Years, especially in Years 8 and 9, I heard so many positive comments about this service experience.
What fundraising activities are you involved with?
Isabella: I have sold a lot of preloved items to friends and on eBay. I also organised a barbecue in my local park with some friends to raise money. Currently, I am part of a group of students organising a trivia night which will happen later this term.
Benjamin: Once I confirmed my place, I was given the task of raising $500 to be donated to the Cambodian community we will be visiting. I raised my money by setting up a coffee and cold drink stand at my local sports event, and am also part of organising the Ivanhoe Cambodia Trivia night coming up on Friday 31 May.
What is your role on the trip?
Ali Meighan: I’m part of Team Muay (means “one” in Khmer) and am helping to organise the English teaching portion of the trip along with Vicki Baldwin and Tim Braddy.
What do you expect the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the trip will be?
Isabella: The most challenging part will be the physical exertion. This trip is far from a sightseeing holiday and does involve active work and construction. In spite of this, I think this will make the trip even more rewarding. I look forward to developing connections not only with other members of my group but ultimately with the Cambodian people and learning about their culture and their identity.
Benjamin: Once in Cambodia, I believe the most challenging part of this trip will be the possibly confronting poverty evident in many of the rural Cambodian villages we will be visiting. However, this will be a good ‘eye-opener’, for us students to witness some unsolved issues of the world we may face in our future. The most rewarding aspect of this trip, I am expecting, will be the actual service we will undertake, mainly the English classes we will be conducting for Cambodian children. I am told, from past service trips, that the children get a lot out of these classes, especially the connections made.
Ali Meighan: For me and a lot of students, the heat and long days are often one of the most challenging aspects of the trip. There also tends to be a bit of a challenge and a learning curve for students in terms of teaching English. There are so many rewarding aspects though that it's hard to choose just one! But I would have to say seeing the bonds that our students and the Cambodian students form throughout the course of the program. It’s great to see them make connections across cultures – to discover the differences and commonalities they share and walk side by side with one another. Connecting with and caring for people across the globe – true global citizens indeed!