Immersion experiences are provided for some year 11 and 12 students who wish to avail themselves of these opportunities.
In the mid-year break students will attend the immersion to East Timor to gain a sense of the poverty that exists in this country and to serve the people there in whatever way is possible. The Marist Mission in Baucau is the scene for the immersion and a Brother is always on hand to be the liaison, assisting our groups throughout the immersion process. About 6 to 8 students with 2 staff members are usually involved in this experience. Students gain an insight into life in a poor country and at the same time try to assist in certain projects. The Marist Brothers, through its Australian Marist Solidarity Committee, are helping to finance many projects in East Timor. The Brothers have been instrumental in growing the Teachers Institute in Baucau (The Instituto Catholico Para Formacao De Professores (ICFP), which was founded in 2001 for the education and preparation of local teachers.
At the end of the academic year a number of senior students choose to spend some time immersing themselves in the Cambodian culture. Much of the time is spent in the Australian Marist sponsored school, Sala LaValla, which was established by the Brothers in 1998. A Brother is always on hand to help the group settle in, find appropriate accommodation and provide useful advice when required.
Sala LaValla is the only government approved live-in school, providing a full primary education to children with physical disabilities. Extended learning programs are provided in addition to the approved and accelerated curriculum. OLSH students have a history of sending students to Sala LaValla, thus being immersed into the Khmer culture and providing helpful works at the school.
For both Immersion experiences, students pay their own way as well as conducting valuable fund-raising events to help, through cash donations, the people living in these poor countries. The experience is valuable both for those we go to help and those who make the sacrifice to take part in the experiences. These experiences can be life-changing for those who attend them, both students and staff.