In 2009, South Grafton High School established Sister school relationships with two schools from Tangerang, Jakarta. Our two sister schools are SMA 1 Tangerang and Al Azhar Tangerang. This relationship has been an important one for students studying Indonesian as Travel Warnings have prevented state school students from travelling to Indonesia.
In 2010, we had our first visit from our sister schools. A group of 28 students and 4 teachers visited our school in July, 2010. The students had a two week program in Australia arriving in Sydney before travelling to Macksville High School and then South Grafton High School before returning to Sydney. This inaugural visit was an enormous success and forged many lasting friendships which have continued through personal visits, Facebook and email contact. The Indonesian students and their Australian hosts had a fun packed week which included a full day trip to Iluka and Yamba as well as a farewell party at the Grafton Ten Pin Bowling Centre. The Indonesian students also painted boomerangs with the art staff and made a pen holder out of Australian hardwoods with Mr Byrne and Mr Youman.
Thanks to the generosity of the teaching staff at South Grafton the Indonesian students were able to experience a wide range of subjects offered by our school including Music, Science, Indonesian, Maths and Drama lessons.
During week 9 of term 2 South Grafton High School hosted 16 students and 2 teachers from our Indonesian sister school, SMA Negeri 1 Tangerang. Tangerang is located in West Java and is just East of Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. This was the second visit from our Indonesian sister school and it was a fantastic experience for everyone involved. The students had a two week program in Australia. They arrived in Sydney before travelling to South Grafton High School and then returned to Sydney to be hosted by Pennant Hills primary school before returning to Indonesia.
The Indonesian students were billeted by our students. The students were very impressed by the extremely friendly atmosphere and the generosity of the host families. They were made to feel very welcomed and in just a few days formed very close relationships with their host families. Some of these families also hosted our Indonesian Sister School in 2010.
Although the students were here for only a short time they were able to have many wonderful experiences. The Indonesian students had a very full program which included Woodwork, Leather Work, Science with 7S, ICT, Boomerang Painting, African Drumming, Australian Slang, Boomerang Throwing and traditional games as well as giving the Indonesian classes a great opportunity to practise their language skills. At other times the Indonesian students attended normal lessons with their hosts and were given a great insight into school life in Australia.
On the Tuesday night many of the Indonesian students attended our school social and had a great time making new friends and showing us their dance moves. Wednesday was a full day excursion to Brooms Head. This was a fantastic opportunity for the Indonesian students and their hosts to have a fun day at the beach. Highlights of the day included whale watching, photos with the kangaroos, running down the sand dunes and lunch at the bowling club followed by Indonesian desert at Pak Avery’s house.
A highlight of the visit was a dance performance by a group of the Indonesian students at the Star Search auditions. They performed a traditional dance from Western Sumatra called the Rafa’i which uses small drums and body percussion. The audience was mesmerised by the skill of the performers and their brilliant costumes. The drums used during the performance have been donated to our Indonesian Dance group.
Thanks to all the teachers who organised special lessons for the students during their visit and many thanks also to the host families who opened their homes and their hearts to look after our guests and gave them such wonderful experiences. I know many new friendships were made and our students are keeping in contact with their new Indonesian friends through SMS, emails and Facebook. Preparations are already on the way for South Grafton High students to visit Tangerang in 2013.
This was a fantastic opportunity for students from South Grafton High School to learn firsthand about Indonesia and its culture.