SCHOOL DAYS: Mullumbimby High School students and staff during their resent trip to Indonesia.
SCHOOL DAYS: Mullumbimby High School students and staff during their resent trip to Indonesia. Contributed

Students exposed to real-life lessons

MULLUMBIMBY High School believes a recent student excursion to Indonesia is the first trip to the nation by a public school in a decade.

The trip was only approved following a Federal Government safety advice downgrade.

Previously, the government had on http://www.smartraveller.com.au warned travellers against visiting Indonesia but it is now giving travel the green light, providing a high degree of caution is exercised.

Despite there still be some safety concerns, the excursion by Indonesian language students was approved by principal Ian Graham and district officials.

Six students from Year 9 and 11, accompanied by four adults, last month travelled to the jungles of Kalimantan (formerly Borneo) and the city of Yogyakarta in Java as part of a 10-day excursion.

Highlights included a house boat journey through Tanjung Puting National Park, a visit to Camp Leakey Research Station and observation of rehabilitating orangutans at feeding stations in the jungle.

They also tested all forms of local transport, including becaks (pedicabs) and dokars (horse-drawn carts).

The students began fund-raising for The Orangutan Project early last year and money was used to help safeguard habitats and adopt an orangutan dubbed Bunga.

Further funds were personally presented to workers at the Orangutan Foundation International Quarantine and Care Centre, the Friends of the National Park Foundation Pesalat Reforestation Project and the Yayorin (Yayasan Orangutan Indonesia) Conservation Villageduring the excursion.

Excursion organiser and Indonesian language teacher Elke Buhrich said "interacting with local people, staying in local hotels, eating in local eateries, and being surrounded by all things Indonesian will have a profound impact on students' understanding of Indonesian language, culture and way of life".

Ms Buhrich previously spent four years working with the Orangutan Foundation International in Kalimantan and was able to provide students with unique insight.

Ms Buhrich and fellow Indonesian language teacher Linda Keyte hope the trip becomes an annual event.



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