Year 9 Make a Difference Experience

A key focus of our Year 9 program is the Make A Difference Experience (MADE) to Thailand, Laos or Cambodia, which challenges students to discover their place in the world as they collaborate with local communities to help build a more sustainable future through volunteer and service work.

The MADE has the potential to be life-changing and aims to:

  • Be unique, powerful and empowering for all involved
  • Challenge the physical, emotional and spiritual limits of each student
  • Further develop students’ sustainable thinking dispositions
  • Emphasise cultural exchange, as well as being culturally different

The program is a 12-day journey to Thailand, Laos or Cambodia at the end of Term 3, providing a rite of passage for Year 9 students as they progress to their next stage of education.

A key part of the experience is personal reflection, which is done through the Global Sustainability Program when students return to school. Students also share their experiences and learning through the Make A Difference Experience Celebration Evening, which always illustrates incredible personal growth such as Eliza’s:

“Words cannot describe how grateful I am for MADE. Laos transformed me for the better – it changed the way I see the world and my view of how it works.

Through the people and the places that I travelled to in Laos, I have learnt an important skill – gratitude. MADE opened my eyes to the things I take for granted, and now I truly understand the importance of thankfulness and change.

I learnt so much in Laos – about the rough history and legacy of the Vietnam War and the impacts that it had on the economy of the country. I also learnt about the customs, traditions and how people live in Laos. This led me to understand that cross-cultural communication and cooperation is essential in solving pressing issues in countries like Laos.

After visiting Laos, I feel a responsibility to continue to make a difference, as seeing the living standards there compared to those in Australia has made me feel so inspired to change the world.”
Eliza, Year 9