East Timor Immersion 2017

16 November 2017

East Timor Immersion 2017

The annual East Timor Immersion saw 18 Year 11 students travel with six staff to East Timor visiting various areas including Dili, Baucau, Qualacai and Laumana from September 18-28.

Another place of interest visited by the groups was Venilale, where students spent two days and one night at an orphanage which is home to approximately 100 young girls from age seven to 16. Students were treated to the loving hospitality of the nuns who run the orphanage and spent their time dancing, playing sport and teaching English to the youngsters.

Students Ella Beveridge and Conner Cullinger gave first-hand accounts of their immersion experience.

In our time in Baucau we visited a Marist teacher’s college. There are 50 potential teachers in each of the three year levels. We also met with some of the students, they were an absolute delight and showed an amazing passion for learning and the English language. It was truly inspiring.

We discovered a few days later, many of the teachers had absolutely no idea how to swim and so we were invited to help teach swimming at the local pool. The second one of us dived into the pool and they all realised we actually had some knowledge of how to swim we were quickly praised and invited to help. An absolute highlight for me was standing just outside the pool, watching Alannah and Isha holding onto the bottom of a nun as they helped her to float. This resulted in a lot of laughter, and at least a little bit of successful teaching…we can hope.

Mass in Baucau had a huge impact on me. People flooded the church, so much so that people would just stand outside the doors to still be a part of it. Any chance for song and the entire community would join in. I realised in that moment the power of religion and being together in something as simple as song, and just how much closer that can bring a community.

Ella Beveridge


I always thought I would want to make people happy in Third World countries, but the truth is they are happier than any of us “Westerners.”

Their living conditions may be poor, people may die or be sick, but at the end of the day they are strong, connected and full of joy.

It sickens me to think back home we are here complaining, sad and greedy for more materialistic items, when we should be seeing the bigger picture.

Which I guess is that true happiness comes from love, family and the moments we cherish.

Sadly, there are too many ignorant, selfish and greedy people in this world, who are ultimately blinded by this evil and are unable to bring forth this happiness that is rarely seen in Australia compared to East Timor.

If only the world, even Australia would learn from this beautiful souled country.

Conner Cullinger