School exchange to swap city for land

AT THE end of this month, a group of Melbourne students will get a real taste of life in the country when they visit Roma.

The first city/country exchange will see boys from Roma State College hosting students from Eltham College, before the Roma students head south later in the year to experience life in the city.

Youth support co-ordinator from Anglicare Southern Queensland and organiser of the pilot program Tacy Tillett said the focus of the program would be on helping rebuild a community, following natural disasters.

“Over the past two years, Australia has been hit with many natural disasters. Roma and surrounds have seen the biggest flood in years and in Victoria, bushfires have destroyed schools, homes and communities,” Mrs Tillett said.

“With all this devastation, a program has been developed to give students in these communities an understanding that together we can all rebuild.”

The Eltham College students will arrive out west on March 28 where they will spend about two weeks.

They will visit the saleyards, Cubbie Station and volunteer in flood-affected Mitchell with the building of the school/community garden.

“The boys are going to get an idea of what it’s like living in a rural setting,” Mrs Tillett said.

In July, 25 students from Roma State College will travel to Melbourne and experience life in the city, where they will head to an AFL game and do community work at the Black Saturday Memorial Garden.

Students from each school have been in contact online, to get to know each other prior to the visits.

“It’s great to see how much the boys have changed and built relationships with the Eltham boys in a positive way. It’s been the greatest thing to come out of the project,” Mrs Tillett said.

Source: The Chronicle, Laura Hunt