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Our Indonesian journey - Indonesia BRIDGE
Return to MIN Cempaka Putih
by Kathy McVeigh
Kathy McVeigh (top left) with Angie O’Hare Principal (bottom centre) and Melinda Douglas (top right)
Marlborough Primary School, VIC
With school partners from MIN Cempaka Putih, Indonesia
Our return visit to Min Cempaka Putih on the 21st September 2013 was once again a highlight of our trip to Indonesia.
It was wonderful to return to a place that was so welcoming and familiar and yet filled with new, positive experiences. A definite highlight was to share this experience with our principal Angie O'Hare who had never been to Indonesia before. This opportunity gave Angie the chance to gain a greater understanding of the diverse and unique culture of the country and more importantly, to connect with Ibu Jety, the principal of MIN Cempaka Putih.
Together these two highly motivated and visionary leaders were able to re-sign our sister school agreement and lay the foundations for a student–exchange to occur in March/April 2014. Both principals were able to learn from each other and reflect on the way education is delivered in their respective countries and cultures.
Throughout the week we were treated with hospitality, respect and warmth by the whole school community and in return we were able to share some of our own unique Australian culture, including a 'traditional Aussie morning tea' consisting of snowballs, Tim Tams, Teddy Bear, ANZAC biscuits and more. It was a joy to see some of the expressions on the Indonesian teachers' faces as they bit into their first snowball!
This visit also allowed us to relax more with our Indonesian colleagues and further consolidate genuine friendships based on celebrating similarities and embracing differences. Through honest and open discussions, we shared our commonalities of juggling career, friends and family, and a genuine love of teaching. We all want to assist our students in achieving best possible outcomes and lead them into the 21st Century as truly global citizens.
My personal involvement with the BRIDGE program and MIN Cempaka Putih has inspired me to learn Bahasa Indonesian (which I speak with growing confidence), further invigorated my desire to teach and allowed me to share a range of deeply rich, positive experiences and cultural understandings of Indonesia with my students, family and friends. Saya mencintai Indonesia!