St Patrick's College Strathfield

PNG Immersion


During the term break, after a four-year hiatus due to travel restrictions, the much-anticipated immersion program to the Edmund Rice Life Training Centre in Vuvu, Papua New Guinea was rekindled. With only a vague idea of the experiences awaiting them, our group of intrepid Year 11 students guided by four of their teachers, arrived in Rabaul. The airport reunion with their hosts from the Edmund Rice Life Training Centre was heartwarming, despite the years and lockdowns that had separated them.

The immersion was a tapestry woven with remarkable encounters and cherished memories. Whether it was engaging in daily routines with their hosts, participating in local activities such as coconut harvesting or exploring surrounding villages, every experience was a testament to the welcoming and hospitable nature of the Papuan people.

A highlight was the visit to the Bita Parker War Cemetery, where the group paid homage to 12 Australian soldiers who lost their lives on foreign soil during World War II. The emotional gravity of this moment was undeniable. 

Ascending Mount Mother and partaking in a friendship celebration hosted by Dame Sandra Lau were among some of the other pivotal moments experienced. This gathering marked a genuine and heartfelt farewell, encapsulating the bonds formed and the experiences shared during their time together.

The immersion exemplified how bonds of friendship and brotherhood can swiftly develop across cultural boundaries, highlighting our shared humanity and our innate capacity to connect, love and be part of something greater. The journey will forever remain a chapter rich with life lessons, cross-cultural friendships and the recognition of the universal threads that bind us all.