Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Shore school heads to the Himalayas

Shore School, a major Sydney boys school is heading to the Himalayas of Nepal at the end of this year.

Three teams will be working with our longtime partner in Nepal, Sonam Sangpo, a member of the Tibetan community of Pokhara. Pokhara is a town nestled at the foot of the Annapurna mountain range.

The boys will contribute to a community project, most likely a village school in and around Pokhara. During their project, they will be able to compare first hand the difference in educational opportunity between young Australians and young Nepalis, whilst also participating in a trek and travel component of their Expedition.

To check out our other Expedition destinations, please visit our website at www.antipdoeans.com.au.

Also, check out the Expedition video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boqKMUkl128

Language Immersion Launch this May

Our hugely popular Language Immersion Program is launching again in May with a round of Parent Information Nights being held in Sydney.

French Language Immersion Info Night 12 May 2011
7pm, Kirribilli Club,
11 Harbourview Cres, Lavendar Bay

German Language Immersion Info Night
19 May 2011
7pm, Suite 303A, 282 Victoria Ave

Are you a school student studying French or German? Do you want to improve your language by living just like a typical teenager in Europe?

Join us on a 5, 7 or 12-week homestay in France or Germany over Christmas where you'll travel with a group of Australian students from Years 9-11 and live in a town or city with a small number of the students. You'll be placed in a host-family with a teenager of your own age and have the opportunity to experience life as a French or German teenager.

You will also be able to attend the local high school where you'll meet lots of local students eager to learn all about Australia. You may take a holiday in the snow with your host family over the Christmas break, visit Paris or Lyon, the Alps or the Côte d'Azur. Or perhaps you'll go to Geneva, Berlin, Heidelberg or Munich?

To find out more about the Language Immersion Program, please email maureen@antipodeans.com.au or check out our website on www.antipodeans.com.au.

Hottest Training Course In History!

With the fans cranked up to full, and orange cordial on tap - our first group of GapBreak students sweltered through their placement training camp in Sydney this February.

Despite the heat, the camp was a huge success, with students meeting their fellow Gappers, and getting lots of valuable information about their placmement.

We spoke to a few students about their impression from the camp, and their thoughts on their future placement.

“Hola lectores!

On the weekend of the 19th of February, a bunch of teenagers of about 60-70, including myself, from all around Australia travelled to Sydney to attend a two day training program. The training program taught us everything we need to know about our relevant placement - whether we were travelling to Africa to stay in Ghana, to France, to India, or to South America to stay in Argentina, Peru, or where i am spending my three months, Ecuador.

The training weekend was a great experience, meeting our fellow team members, having the chance to speak to previous students who had been on previous antipodeans placements (who were extremely helpful), and learning about the country to where we're travelling and the opportunities and adventures it offers.

The training weekend was great, and i'm positive i'm speaking for the other 60-70 others who also participated when i say that i simply cannot wait to begin my placement in an (exciting) unknown land."
Mitch Downey (Ecuador)

“What a jam packed, exciting, informative, fun and friendly weekend we all had at the Antipodeans training weekend! Everyone enjoyed meeting their future gap break ‘buddies’ and sharing their travel plans and hopes for what will be an awesome experience. We were all scared into imagining how sick we will all get by a visit from the trusty Travel Doctor – especially us going to Peru. Everyone was fed methods on how to tackle difficult scenarios, how to actually teach our own language and important information specific to our destination by past students aka ‘walking lonely planet guides!’ Everyone was also fed lots of delicious food that helped us survive the Chatswood lizards that liked to share our rooms. Thanks to Sophie for a great weekend and to all the organising she did to make it the success it was!”
Emma Cook (Peru)

Roll, Walk or Fly? Fundraising to get to Ghana

Already this year, we’ve been lucky enough to see some fantastic fundraising efforts created by our future GapBreak students. Not only are they raising money to help with their travel costs, but also to help the communities they will become a part of in their three months away with Antipodeans Abroad.

Two particular fundraising efforts have stood out for their creativity and enthusiasm in the past few weeks. Anna Graham, Maja Gabrynowicz and Shannyn Chisholm are all off to Ghana in 2011 for volunteer in a local community school and have created fundraising campaign to help them get there.

Brisbane girl Anna Graham will be rollerblading 17 kilometers from Nudgee Beach to Lanham Park in Queensland, in a bid to raise funds for her future trip.

“I am putting my life, body and street cred on the line to raise much-needed funds for children in poverty-stricken Ghana. In September of this year, I’ll be living there for 3 months, volunteering in an orphanage and teaching English in a local school.”

Anna has added a touch of show to her fundraising effort, dressing as a Ghanaian eagle from the national coat of arms.

Maja and Shannyn are putting together a similar physical effort with their campaign “Walk To Ghana.” Together, the girls will walk 14 hours from Portsea to Mornington in Victoria to raise funds for the school children they will be teaching. The funds will go towards school materials on arrival in Ghana.

We sat down with the girls and asked them a few questions about their fundraising campaigns and their GapBreak in Ghana.

1. Why did you choose to do a GapBreak in Ghana?

Anna: I wanted a GapBreak that would be completely different from my life at home. Something that would provide me with a whole new set of experiences as well as being able to help those who are a lot less fortunate than us. The African culture has always been something that has really appealed to me, and I've only heard wonderful things about the types of people you meet in Ghana.

Shannyn: Unlike all of my friends, I could not get straight into Uni, as I wanted a year off to challenge myself, face the reality of life, immerse myself in a new culture, and what better place to do this, than Ghana. ever since I was young, I have been drawn to going to Africa as I have been intrigued with the culture, the people the colours etc, the diversity in the way we live etc. and I have heard so many wonderful things about Ghana (especially the people) from friends and documentaries so since was about 12, I knew I HAD to go to Ghana,
2. How did you come up with your fundraising idea?

Anna: I have something of a rollerblading reputation when I rolled to school once in year 12. I bought my blades for $1 at a school fete and decided to put them to use instead of tripping over them every morning on my floor. Unfortunately the route to school was rather hilly, and with the weight of my school bag pulling me down the trip was rather disastrous. But I got there in the end, covered in sweat, blood and mud, (2 hours late to school) just brimming with satisfaction. So recently when I was thinking of ways to make my cause look more attractive I thought what better way to mix it up than to bring back the old days and strap on the blades. I wanted something different, and rollerblading was perfect because, well, nobody does it anymore! And apart from the eagle being on Ghana's coat of arms, it was really just an excuse for me to dress up and have fun along the way :)

Shannyn: I wanted to do a fundraising event that was completely different from all others, something that would attract people to sponsor me as it was a courageous tough thing to do. I have always enjoyed walking, so I was like, why not walk a far distance as a fundraiser as it was adventurous and out there than a trivia night etc. and that is when I came up with the name "walk to Ghana", as basically the walk is a journey through multiple obstacles (such as finding sponsors), and the money we raise from this will help us help us continue on the journey to help the community of Swedru.

3. How much money do you hope to raise for your trip?

Anna: There are a lot of expenses involved in overseas travel. When you take into account flights, travel insurance, vaccinations and the actual cost of the placement, the trip is probably going to cost me around $9000. As well as this I hope to raise money for the underfunded schools that I'll be involved with in Ghana. From my rollerblading endeavours, my goal is to raise $1000 for basic materials such as pencils books, desks and notepads so that these schools can become better places to live and learn.

Shannyn: I am hoping to raise $2000, right now I have approximately $1000 but I’m really hoping to get more. The good thing about me and Maja doing this walk together is that we are going to put our money together, so hopefully $4000 so we can really make a difference in the school community.

4. Did you enjoy the recent training camp (or are you looking forward to the one in May)?

Anna: I haven't been on the training camp yet but I'm definitely looking forward to it! I've been talking to all the girls on my placement online, and I can't wait to meet them all in June.

Shannyn: Yes I did enjoy the training camp, finally meeting my group was SO exciting, as we have named our selves the GG's (ghana girls). highlight was definitely talking to Georgie, an ex-Gapper as she answered all our questions.

5. What are you hoping to get out of your three months in Africa?

Anna: 3 months in Africa will be like nothing else. I hope that I'll come back a better person with some fantastic experiences about living a completely new way of life. It will be the chance of a lifetime to make a difference (however small) and offer what I can to those who have so little.

Shannyn: I definitely want to grow as a person from this experience in terms of appreciation for our country and awareness of the world around us. I want to improve the school's conditions, whether it be new classrooms, water tanks etc, and as a result create a better learning environment. Most of all I want this placement to challenge me and give me life experiences that will hopefully make me a better person for years to come.

To help the girls in their fundraising effort you can visit their websites here:

Anna Graham: Help Anna Get To Ghana, 17th of April

Maja Gabrynowicz and Shannyn Chisholm: “Walk to Africa” 3rd of April

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Morocco Expedition makes headlines!

Table Talk: Have school, will travel. Northside Newspaper March 2011

Excursions have come a long way - literally. Once only to the Opera House and Canberra, students are now stretching their wings with annual “expeditions” abroad.
Last December, Roseville College students Rosie Davidson, Holly Gardner and Lizzy Beard spent three weeks in Morocco, trekking the Atlas Mountains and spending time at a village school.
Other schools are also putting passports in school bags - Monte Sant’ Angelo goes to Peru; while various school drama, history and music excursions also line-up at customs.
Today however, the 16-year-olds are closer to home. At Crazy Wings, Chatswood, they meet up with their outdoor education and history teacher, Miss Emily Shanahan, as she plans the next school expedition in conjunction with Antipodeans Abroad - affectionately called “Antips” by the girls.
For an after-school snack, the girls and Miss Shanahan order honey soy wings, prawn and lamb skewers, fried rice and sip on chilled fruit ices as Lizzy gives Holly an impromptu chopstick lesson.
“We’re throwing her in the deep end,” Lizzy says firmly. Holly learns fast, which is what new experiences are all about. She bravely picks up a prawn with her chopstick.
“These don’t look spicy, but they have a kick,” she says, grabbing her fruit ice.
“Where’s Antips going this year?” Lizzy asks.
“Peru,” Miss Shanahan announces. “Forty students are going this year. We only took 24 to Morocco.” She explains that previous years have gone to China, Nepal, Borneo, Cambodia and Laos.
“This way different areas benefit from the energy of the students,” says Miss Shanahan, who adds the school is in talks with a Northern Territory Indigenous community school for a similar Australian expedition. The girls have energy, which they need from the time they sign up. For Morocco, they fundraised throughout the year, raising $15,000 to help renovate two classrooms in the village school.
“We did a movie night with “Eat Pray Love”, and a death-by-chocolate fundraiser,” Lizzy remembers. They also had to find accommodation (supervised by teachers), plan their trip within the budget given and help pay for it too.
“I really wanted to go,” says Lizzy. “I worked on a half-hour speech to my parents about why I should do it and how it would help me. At the dinner table, I said to Dad, ‘So Antips is coming up,’ and he said, ‘You can go!”
“I was saving since Year 8,” says Holly, who, like Lizzy, umpired softball matches and babysat to pay for some of her trip and spending money. Rosie also saved for it.
Once in Morocco, as well as their trek in the Atlas Mountains, the girls walked 45 minutes a day from their accommodation to the village school (just like the children there), worked in the school, played soccer with the children and learnt traditions such as ceremonial drumming.
While the trip was exciting for all the girls, the biggest impact was seeing how other people live. And that a father rushed out and took his girls away from “western influences” was saddening but one of the many eye-opening experiences that is part of travelling to other cultures.
“You don’t sweat the small stuff anymore do you girls?” Miss Shanahan asks.
“A few of the girls really came out of their shells after the trip.” Lizzy agrees. ” I’m saving up for the history tour to Europe.”
Details: antipodeans.com.au.