Santa Teresa Year 10 Immersion

Jun 26, 2016

Like all Australian school children I have been educated on Indigenous Australian history, spirituality, welfare and perspectives throughout my ten and a half years at school – or at least I thought.

I thought, with a decade’s worth of knowledge on Indigenous Australians, that I knew what to expect going into the Santa Teresa Immersion experience.

I thought I knew enough about their history, their beliefs, and way of life that I would be able to know them.

But I realise now that centuries’ worth of textbook studies and essays could never teach me more so about Indigenous Australian culture than five days immersed in the Santa Teresa community.

Being able to listen to Sister Liz and the local people has given me a first-hand perspective about how indigenous people live in Australia, and being able to work and interact with the locals of Santa Teresa has allowed me to get to know these indigenous Australians as people – rather than merely a subject of an essay paper.

I have been exposed to a more simple way of living; one not dependent on technology and materialistic drives, but the principles of community and stewardship.  It has allowed me to reconsider how I live, and what I value in my life.

In Santa Teresa I witnessed poor living conditions and heard of government restrictions that shocked me. But I also witnessed hard-working and motivated people who continued to live life despite hardships. This inspired me not only to make a change, but also moved me to incorporate Santa Teresa’s never-give-up attitude into my own life.

Before visiting Santa Teresa, I had no idea how prominent indigenous prejudices really were in society. Now I am able to identify them, and I am able to overcome conforming to these judgments because I have my own experience and opinions. I can make a difference and I can share my knowledge with others.

I have left the immersion experience with a new awareness, which I believe a person cannot learn through books.

I am thankful for the opportunity, and hope to visit Santa Teresa again one day in the near future.

Aiden Burke
Year 10, Stella Maris College