Wingham High School now has a sister school in Indonesia and cultural differences have been a topic of many conversations over recent weeks.
On August 28 a special assembly was held to welcome two Indonesian teachers for a two week placement at the school.
Yesi Cahyani and Pajar Wolverine are from SMKN 4 Samarinda School, Kalimantan which is Wingham High’s sister school in Borneo.
Wingham High School was one of 16 schools in Australia selected in 2018 to participate in the BRIDGE Program, which aims to foster greater ties between Australia and Indonesia through education.
BRIDGE students collaborate on projects, practice language skills and develop friendships with students at their partner school.
The two schools found each other online and are undertaking a joint project to develop a bilingual website.
Yesi and Panjar enjoyed their two week stay locally which proved to be very eye opening for them.
“It’s so very different for them,” said Wingham High teacher Anne Thornton.
Their vocational school in urban Kalimantan is almost twice as big as Wingham High.
Classes average 36 students with a total of 1050 students spread over years 10, 11 and 12 only.
It is hoped a group of Wingham students will be able to visit their Borneo sister school in 2019 and get to see for themselves how different life at an Indonesian school is.
And how different high density living is compared to life in the “very green” Manning Valley.
Until then students will be able to link up via video conferencing.
And thanks to social media friendships are already starting to blossom.
Yesi and Pajar brought with them letters their Indonesian students had written to their Australian counterparts. But gone are the days of waiting for a return letter.
The Indonesian students had included their social media accounts on the letters and the Aussie kids were able to get in touch instantly.
Instagram messages have been pinging back and forth already making the task of writing a letter back to their new ‘pen pals’ just a formality.