Exchange students from Indonesian schools perform the traditional welcoming dance Tari Saman at South Grafton High School
Exchange students from Indonesian schools perform the traditional welcoming dance Tari Saman at South Grafton High School

Students' cultural experience

TRADITIONAL Indonesian singing and percussive style dancing filled the senses of South Grafton High School (SGHS) students yesterday as 10 teenagers from Jakarta presented a show for their local peers.

The 10 colourfully costumed students were among 27 Indonesian pupils to participate in the fortnight-long Australian visit.

A crowd of SGHS students gathered to watch the performance, which was part of an international school relationship exchange.

The foreign students and four teachers arrived in Grafton last weekend to spend a week at SGHS with host families.

They came from two different schools – Al Azhar and SMAN 1 in Jakarta – to visit different schools and towns in Australia to experience Australian culture and share some of their own.

Having already spent five days at Macksville High School, students and teachers were excited about arriving in Grafton for the first time.

SGHS’s Indonesian teacher Mark Avery said since arriving at the school, the visitors had observed wood work and art classes, joined in regular lessons and went on a day trip to Yamba and Iluka on Tuesday.

Pak Munir, one of the teachers from Indonesia, outlined how the trip had been so far.

It was “much colder” here than Indonesia, Mr Munir said.

“In Indonesia, we try to avoid the sun and walk in the shade because it is so hot, but here we have to try and find the sun to stay warm,” he said.

“Here in Australia they have breakfast one and breakfast two, dinner one and dinner two; far bigger meals than at home.”

He also observed SGHS’s extremely friendly atmosphere. The students stayed with host families, and he said they were all very welcoming and made feel at home.

“Staying with a host family, we found that although it’s a very different culture there are the same feelings of sharing, caring and love,” he said.

The group was amazed by the sophisticated equipment, superb facilities, as well as the overall size of SGHS, which Pak Munir said was “very big – it took some time to remember our way around”.

Soya Tiffani Anggita, one of the Indonesian students, said she was quite taken with South Grafton.

“I’ve made lots of new friends and learnt a lot about the culture, including some Australian slang,” Soya said.

“The environment is so beautiful and clean, and there is no rubbish everywhere.

“And best of all, no traffic jams.” The group said they were sad to be leaving tomorrow morning, but were eagerly anticipating their Sydney visit where they will be staying at a youth hostel and visiting Sydney icons including the Opera House, Circular Quay and the Indonesian Consulate General.



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