Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The First Delay!

After breezing through our bag check in by 9.30am we moved around to exchange our Aussie dollars for some Chinese RMB.
Once this was completed we all purchased some snacks and then headed for customs. We were faced with an enormous line of people due to a hold up with the screening process. We have been told there will be a delay of at least 45 minutes.

The Journey Begins!

It is 5am and we are driving out of Yarram in the bus. We will stop in Warragul to pick our Neerim friends and then it's onto the airport.
Some of us have been awake from 2am as the excitement kicked in early.
There were a few teary parents & students as we left but everyone is looking forward to an amazing trip!

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Visit from Darren Chester MP

On Friday October 12th the Overseas Learning Experience students were visited by the Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester. Darren presented each student with a Student Exchange kit which they will present to their host families during their stay in Changshu. Each kit contains an Australian Flag and booklet, a CD of the National Anthem and a booklet on Australian symbols.

The students spoke about the tour to China, their Enquiry Learning Project and what they had learnt about China in their studies throughout the last term. They shared their excitement, the things they were apprehensive about and how they have enjoyed working with and getting to know the students from Neerim District Secondary College who will be joining them on the trip.

The students leave for China this Wednesday October 17th.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

17 Days to go!!

The past month has certainly been a busy one as we prepare for our visit to China and in particular our time in Changshu at Changshu Foreign Language Middle School. We have received our official invitation from the Principal of CFLMS and the school is planning a great program for us to ensure our students gain an insight into Chinese family life, culture and their wonderful school.
Our students have begun working on the project they must complete as a part of the Overseas Learning Experience program. In pairs they will be comparing different aspects of Australian and Chinese life to try and determine if Australian teenagers have better lives and futures than Chinese teenagers. Each pair has been working on their preliminary research here in Australia and planning how they will collect data to help them with the project while they are away.
There has been a huge amount of learning already amongst the group as they have worked to increase their knowledge of China in preparation for the trip. Everyone has learnt at least a few basic greetings in Mandarin and students have been studying some Chinese history and culture along with all Year 10 students in the schools Year 10 SOSE classes. While our group is in China the remaining Year 10 students at Yarram Secondary will visit the Chinese Museum and have a meal in Chinatown.
The students were able to spend some more time with the Neerim District Secondary College Students when we visited the Chinese Exploratorium at Lowanna Secondary College. The students enjoyed using the interactive screens and sharing what they had learnt about the main cities and sites we will be visiting in China. I believe the sharing of this trip with another school has been very beneficial for all of the students involved. Many have already been pushed out of their comfort zones as they get to know the 'strangers' they are going to spend 21 days travelling with. Some great friendships have been formed and will only be strengthened through the sharing of this incredible experience.
CFLMS has organised the host families for us and students are now sharing email contact with their host brothers and sisters as they take the first steps in getting to know one another before we arrive in Changshu. This has certainly added to the excitement for our students as this contact with another person in another country suddenly makes the trip very real!
We are very grateful for the work being done by Changshu Foreign Language Middle School to ensure our trip to China will be an experience of a lifetime for all of the students involved.
Only 17 days to go!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Official Farewell Function

This week we took our students to Melbourne for an official farewell from the Minister for Education. A ceremony was held at State Parliament House in Queens Hall. During this farewell event a panel discussion was held where 5 students and 1 teacher were asked to discuss their preparations for travel and outline their learning enquiries. Shawna Miller did a fantastic job of representing Yarram and Neerim District Secondary Colleges.
There are 5 groups participating in the Overseas Learning Experience this year. One other group is also visiting China and the others are going to Tonga, Italy and Japan. The school visiting Tonga have set up a fantastic program where they are sending computers to their sister-school and then helping install them and teaching staff and students in Tonga how to use them.
The afternoon session was aimed at preparing the students prepare for living and working within another culture - being a global Citizen. They also learnt about being Global Leaders and discussed the mindset and skills required to be an effective leader in their enquiry based learning project.
All students thoroughly enjoyed the day and all staff are pleased with how well the students from our 2 schools are mixing and relating to each other. With only 7 weeks left until we fly to Shanghai there was a great deal of excitement amongst the group during the bus trip to and from Melbourne. This event was very successful in highlighting to all students how fortunate they are to be participating in the O.L.E. and inspiring them to make the most of the opportunity.

Sunday, 22 July 2012


On Thursday July 19th we interviewed the 23 applicants for our Overseas Learning Experience.
It was an extremely difficult task picking 18 students from the group of 23. The written applications were very good and the students all did a great job selling themselves and answering the interview questions.
I was very pleased with how well each student handled the interview process. They also demonstrated their maturity throughout the meeting we held to announce the list of successful applicants.
The 18 who were lucky enough to be selected now have a very busy term ahead of them as they prepare for 21 days in China.
The Overseas Learning Experience will begin on October 17th when we board our flight to Shanghai.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Student Applications

We were very pleased to receive 23 written applications from our Year 10 students yesterday. These students will all be interviewed on Thursday July 19th.
It is going to be a difficult process but the good news is that we are able to take 18 students on the trip, which is 2 more than we originally thought.
I am looking forward to having the students selected and beginning our preparations for this fantastic experience.