Overseas Trips

Our trips help promote both language skills and cultural awareness in our girls. These excursions run every alternate year when enough students warrant. 

In 2016, nineteen San Sisters embarked on a three week Japanese immersion trip.

The first ten days of the trip were spent in the depths of Kyushu island – more specifically, the Kumamoto Prefecture. During these ten days, all students and teachers were immersed in traditional Japanese culture and language. Everyone tried their best to speak as much Japanese as possible, picking up small phases and dialect from each town along the way. They visited the most anticipated Kumamoto Castle, before heading to the active volcano, Mt Aso. They journeyed into the Japanese bush to the mountainous land of Gokanasho, where they participated in making tofu and learnt about the history of the Heike clan and the legacy they left upon Japan. They experienced a warm welcome from Shirayuri Gakuen (a Catholic girls’ school), in Yatsushiro. Shirayuri Gakuen was where they had their very first homestay. The last of the time in Kyushu was spent in Amakusa and Unzen, where they had the opportunity to do rice planting, go to Shimabara Castle and go dolphin watching!

For the final eleven days of the trip, they all experienced the city life of Japan. They travelled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, where they saw the memorials of the two atomic bombs dropped in 1945, then on to Kyoto for their second homestay. This homestay was for six nights, to give them an idea of how Japanese families operate and live on a daily basis. Their host sisters spoiled them and took many of them to places such as Arashiyama, Kinkakuji and Yasuha Shrine. Many memories were made and will be held onto forever.  By the end of this homestay there were many tears from all girls, but most importantly lifelong friendships were made and will never be forgotten. The final destination was Tokyo – Japan’s capital city. Here they went shopping and had a speed-date style dinner with the Iona boys. They also got the chance to spend the day at Disneyland!

It is highly recommend to go on a tour such as this, to not just improve your language, but it also improves understanding of Japanese culture and history.​ 

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In April 2016, twelve of our students also ventured to Timor L’Este in the April school holidays with our facilitator from Catholic Mission, Mr Mark Fogarty.  We travelled, not as tourists, but as people wanting to immerse themselves in another culture in order to learn what life is like for the people of that culture.  Given the poverty and the recent history of Timor L’Este, there was an added dimension: we wanted to understand how and why their lives are so different from ours in terms of resources and opportunities.  
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Day 1
Leave Brisbane 9.00 am.
Arrive Dili 16.20 pm, after 3-hour stopover in Darwin.

Days 2 — 5
Eraulo and Letafoho, staying at the Bakhita Centre, Eraulo, in the mountains.
Visiting local schools, seeing the work of the Bakhita Centre, learning about the local coffee trade (Timor’s only export crop), observing the lives of the Timorese people, meeting the locals, climbing to sacred sites.

Day 6
Back to the coast. Staying at the Carmelite Retreat Centre at Maubara.
Visiting the Carmelite orphanage and attending Mass in the local church on the beach the next morning.

Days 7 — 9 
Bidau, Dili, staying at the orphanage of the Missionary Dominican Sisters of the Rosary.
Getting to know the children at the orphanage, visiting their farm for boys at Hera, outside Dili, and the kindergarten at Comoro, an area of Dili. Learning about Timorese history at the Chega Museum and Santa Cruz cemetery.  Meeting the people at the Ahisaum Foundation’s workshop for people with disability. Chatting with Timor L’Este’s Vicar General.

Day 10
Leave Dili 11.30 am.

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