Stories from 2018: Marists Sri Lanka Immersion

Group at the St Mary’s Homework Centre in Kalpitiya

Eight Year 11 students, along with Ms Weijers and Mr McAuliffe, embarked on an adventure to Sri Lanka in late September aiming to immerse themselves within the unique culture.

The students were: Andre Le, Tim McCrossin, Hugh Cremen Farrington, Ted Jenkins, Pat Vane-Tempest, Ben Stinziani, Oliver Kuruc and Alex Haseler.

The group arrived safely in Sri Lanka, where we were immediately exposed to the busy city traffic in Negombo and extremely hot weather. The initial part of our trip was dedicated towards sightseeing the various famous landmarks and temples. The group then headed to St Mary’s Homework Centre in Kalpitiya, where the smiling faces of Br Lai, Br Navinda and the local school children greeted us. During the week, the boys immersed themselves in the schools and outsiations.

It was challenging both managing and teaching a class, which has given us a new found respect for our teachers at Marist. Filled with anxiety and nerves, the boys also took on the challenge of homestays.

For two nights, the boys headed home with a local family, escorted by the oldest son. This particular part of the Immersion was one of the more powerful experiences and biggest challenges we faced.

The families were all filled with joy, showing us generosity (giving up their beds for us) and hospitality (always putting our needs before their own). The week in Kalpitiya provided all of the boys with valuable life lessons; to be grateful for what we have and to be appreciative for the little things we’re given on a daily basis.

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One special encounter in Kalpitiya was the opportunity to be a part of the process of laying the foundation stones for a new classroom building. This was built due to the money the College had previously raised for them. This gave us a physical representation of what a sausage sizzle on the other side of the world can do for places like this.

At the end of the week, it was time to say goodbye to our newly found friends in Kalpitiya The final section of the Immersion was spent shopping and touring Kandy city.

At the start of the Immersion, there were eight boys who were relatively unknown from each other. However, the two weeks n Sri Lanka saw the boys become mates; forming bonds that will last outside of this experience. The boys all returned to Canberra humbled and grateful for the opportunity to go on this life changing adventure.

A special thanks to Ms Weijers and Mr McAuliffe for all of their hard work in making this Immersion such a great experience. We would also like to highly recommend this experience to any boy thinking of going on an Immersion. It gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, to realise the inequalities in our world, to develop friendships within the local community, and to deepen your friendships with the boys in the group.

Source: Marist College, Canberra

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