Siena's Immersion and Cultural Exchange Programs
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Immersion and Cultural Exchange Programs

Arnhem Land Immersion

Year 9, 10 and 11 students have the opportunity to participate in an exciting and enriching immersion program in the Northern Territory. The experience is based on a commitment to social justice that is central to the Dominican charism. It is integral to this immersion that students learn about the culture, values, beliefs and traditions of Aboriginal Peoples, listen to stories and take the time to reflect on our commitment to reconciliation.

South African Immersion

Year 11 students have the opportunity to participate in what has been described as a life changing and enriching immersion program in South Africa. Students spend two weeks living with a host family in Tsakane and assist with the everyday programs offered at Kopanang. Kopanang is a women’s community project that addresses the impact of HIV/AIDS and endemic poverty in the township of Tsakane, situated 55 km South East of Johannesburg. The township was created as a result of labour force for the gold mines in the area, through forced removal of people in the apartheid era. After the last mine closure in 2006, there has been an unprecedented level of unemployment impacting on more than 80% of the population. Most of the women of Kopanang have been deprived of an adequate education, further exacerbating their ability to survive and provide for their families. The community has also been heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS.

The Kopanang community project was cofounded by Sr Sheila Flynn OP to provide the women with a healing space to share their life experiences, their faith and cultural heritage, as well as to learn embroidery and craft skills to enable them to generate a small income.

Students also assist at Sithand’izingane Care Project, located on the same site as Kopanang. The initiative provides a child care program for pre school children, many of whom are orphaned, a home based support program for the sick, a feeding program, as well as tutoring and afterschool educational programs for the children and adolescents in the township. They distribute clothing in the shack areas and deliver crisis food parcels to families. Students also learn about the history of South Africa, apartheid and the struggle for equal rights.

Cultural Exchange Program

China

Students studying Chinese in the senior year levels have the opportunity to participate in a Chinese cultural immersion experience. Students travel to China and visit historic and cultural attractions in cities such as, Beijing and Shanghai. They visit schools and live the Chinese culture they have been studying about in the classroom. Traveling to China broadens students’ minds and enhances their academic studies.

France

Senior students studying VCE French have been travelling to France for many years. The students spend six weeks in France being hosted by a French family and attend a local school with minimal contact with other Australian students. Fostering links with families overseas provides an invaluable bridge to the joy of new friendships, whilst reinforcing the purposeful study of languages.

Italy

Students studying Italian in Years 10 and 11 are provided with the opportunity to take part in an overseas study experience. They visit Italy’s major cities including Rome, Florence and Venice and live first hand the Italian culture they have studied about back in Melbourne. They attend a language school for foreigners and focus on improving their communication skills. Visiting historical and tourist attractions, as well as living in an Italian city expose the students to the Italian way of life.