YEAR 12 Trinity College student Corinda Hollis is making an early start on her dream of one day joining the ranks of Australia's diplomatic corps.
In the July school holidays she's off on a whirlwind two-week education tour of East Timor with the UN Youth Australia Pacific Project.
The worldly 17-year-old was one of only 10 students chosen from across Australia for the expedition.
They will explore the fledgling nation's capital, Dili, enjoy extended stays in rural villages and an orphanage, and even walk the paths taken by Timorese freedom fighters during the Indonesian occupation.
"It has always been a country I've known about in terms of its struggle," Corinda said.
"I've seen prominent people in our community involved in work in East Timor.
"They're really in a changing period; the majority of their population is young people building East Timor back up."
Corinda needs to raise $4000 from her community to fund the trip and after some sponsorship from local businesses and running a cake stall, she is halfway there.
"I'd known about this trip for quite a few years now and it had always been something I'd wanted to do," she said.
She applied last year and made the shortlist only to miss out in the final round, so was ecstatic to finally make it.
This will be the Casino girl's first time experiencing life in a developing country.
But she's no stranger to foreign cultures and languages - in Year 10 she took part in a 10-week exchange program to the Bordeaux region of France and has studied Italian.
Now she's focused on finishing her HSC but hopes to study history, international affairs and possibly teaching before applying for a graduate position at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
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