BON VOYAGE: St Mary’s students Matilda Thomas, 17, Nikki Blayden, 17, Ashleigh Bullock, 16, Nimh Conway, 17, Olivia Doyle, 17, and Kristen Lunney, 15, are heading to Cambodia for the “trip of a lifetime”.
BON VOYAGE: St Mary’s students Matilda Thomas, 17, Nikki Blayden, 17, Ashleigh Bullock, 16, Nimh Conway, 17, Olivia Doyle, 17, and Kristen Lunney, 15, are heading to Cambodia for the “trip of a lifetime”. INGA WILLIAMS

Cambodian adventure an eye-opener for St Mary's students

AS another school year comes to an end, thousands of senior students are excitedly planning their end of year holidays.

But while most are figuring out how to spend their schoolies week, St Mary's student Nimh Conway is figuring out what to teach a class of Cambodian students.

The 17-year-old and a handful of her classmates will soon be jetting off to the Asian country for what they describe as "the trip of a lifetime".

The senior students will embark on a 14-day exploration of Cambodia, to engage in the county's complex developmental challenges and be immersed in its rich culture.

Joined by two teachers from their school, the student's travel itinerary includes living with local villagers in some of the country's poorest communities.

They will meet first-hand survivors of the Khmer Rouge era and assist in the construction of much needed facilities, such as toilet blocks and houses.

The eight students will also take on the role of teachers and give English lessons to Cambodian kids in impoverished schools.

"Since Cambodia is not an English-speaking country, we've had to learn a bit of Khmer - the country's national language," Miss Conway said.

"We've been practicing teaching lessons in front of each other to improve our speech and timing."

The trip won't be all work though, with the girls planning on visiting Cambodia's famous Temples of Angkor and touring some of its great markets.

St Mary's College commenced its connection with Cambodia in 2013, when they developed a partnership with The Matesabroad Foundation.

The foundation was established to relieve suffering in developing countries caused by poverty, illness or lack of education.

During the past nine months, the eight students have fundraised more than $7000 to donate to the communities they will be living and working with.

Miss Conway, the school's Mercy Captain, said she expected the trip to be an "eye-opening" experience.

"We have the opportunity to learn about Cambodia's history and how its people have overcome terrible hardships," she said.

"St Mary's College wanted to be able to provide students with an opportunity experience another culture and broaden our global perspective, especially around issues of poverty and justice."

The students will leave for Cambodia on November 27. To follow the journey of the group please visit the stmaryscollege.qld.edu.au.



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