In 2015, our College embarked on a unique and transformative journey, one that has come to define our commitment to global education and cultural understanding. The biannual immersion tour to Flores, Indonesia, has been a remarkable initiative that has left a profound impact on the students fortunate enough to participate. In the wake of the pandemic that disrupted our plans, we are thrilled to announce the return of this extraordinary adventure in July 2024.
The Flores immersion tour is a departure from the ordinary, an experience that challenges and enriches the lives of those who undertake it. With only 12 students and three staff members selected to participate, the journey is intentionally kept small to ensure an intimate and authentic experience.
One of the unique aspects of this tour is the “Fast for Flores” event, which is an integral part of the application process. This event serves a dual purpose: it simulates some of the challenges that students will face in Flores and fosters a deeper sense of empathy for the locals’ daily struggles. During the Fast for Flores, students voluntarily subject themselves to an array of hardships, including sleep deprivation, lack of luxuries, and minimal food. Students are allowed to bring only a sleeping bag, with no pillows or mattresses, and their sustenance consists of a single meal of boiled rice for the entire duration of the event. This initiative is not merely a test of endurance but a powerful reminder of the privileges we often take for granted.
To make the Fast for Flores event even more enlightening, past Kolbe students who have participated in previous Flores trips organise and lead various activities throughout the night. Their insights and guidance add depth and authenticity to the experience, giving current students a glimpse into the challenges they are about to embrace.
The success of the Fast for Flores event is a testament to the dedication and enthusiasm of our Year 10 and 11 students. It is a night of shared experiences and deepened understanding, preparing participants for the immersion tour that awaits.
Once on the tour, the true essence of the Flores experience unfolds. Students are given the remarkable opportunity to fully immerse themselves in Florenese culture, living as authentically as the locals and facing the same daily challenges. Flores is a place where resources are scarce, and people must make do with minimal luxuries. It is a world that stands in stark contrast to the comforts of our everyday lives.
The immersion tour places our students well out of their comfort zones. They must confront the mental and physical challenges of living with fewer resources and adapting to unfamiliar customs. But it’s precisely these challenges that make the experience so profoundly rewarding. The memories created during this journey are indelible, etching themselves into the hearts and minds of our students, lasting a lifetime.
As we eagerly anticipate our return to Flores in July 2024, we recognize that this journey is more than just a tour; it is a transformative experience that cultivates empathy, cultural understanding, and personal growth. Our students emerge from this experience with a broader perspective on the world and a profound appreciation for the privileges they enjoy.
The Flores immersion tour is a testament to the spirit of exploration, empathy, and personal development that defines our educational institution. It is an opportunity for our students to not only learn about another culture but to live it, to embrace its challenges and its beauty, and to return home with memories and experiences that will enrich their lives for years to come.