WELCOME: The Balinese students have been paired up with buddies, students from Christian Community learning to speak Indonesian, who will show them around the school.
WELCOME: The Balinese students have been paired up with buddies, students from Christian Community learning to speak Indonesian, who will show them around the school. Gemima Harvey

Students exchange views

INDONESIAN students, being hosted by staff at Christian Community School, are thrilled to have their first overseas experience.

Getting off the plane, they noticed how cold Australia is compared to their tropical home.

The group of students, who are aged between 13 and 19, come from underprivileged and low-income families in Bali.

They live in orphanages run by the Bali Protestant Church where they are able to access education.

These students, along with accompanying staff, will be staying in the homes of host families, teachers from Christian Community, who have personally covered the costs for the students to come and experience Australia.

Rizal Gunawan, one of the students, said he was "so happy" to be in Coffs Harbour.

"The school here is very different; there are lots of classrooms and facilities," the 18-year-old said.

"The students are very friendly and I'm looking forward to interacting with them and improving my English," Rizal, who wants to become a heavy equipment mechanic, said.

Award winning Christian Community Indonesian teacher Jonathan Petersen is behind the initiative.

"Every year a group of our students travels to Indonesia to do social service work at orphanages, giving them a chance to experience a new culture."

"But the students from the orphanages did not have the same opportunity, which didn't seem fair."

Teachers agreed to pitch in and give the children a chance to see another country, experience another culture and broaden their education, inspiring hope and vision for their future.

The guests will stay for three weeks, attending classes along with participating in plenty of fun activities, including a surfing session.



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