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Aussie students choose Sabah to experience lifestyle, culture
Published on: Sunday, April 22, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Nineteen students from Kalamunda Senior High School and Governor Stirling Senior High School of Perth, Australia chose Sabah to experience local lifestyle, culture and destination. Four teachers and two parents led the trip to accompany the students.During a hosted lunch with Sabah Tourism Board, Diane Thorn, 61, a teacher from Governor Stirling Senior High School, said:

"We're lucky that the Western Australia Education Department listed Sabah as a safe destination.

It took us six months to prepare the proposal, then waited another three months for approval from the Ministry."

She added that the tedious approval process was relevant because the safety and security of the students are very important aspects in planning overseas trips.

Sabah was chosen as a cultural learning experience for the students because most of them took Bahasa Indonesia as a foreign language in their respective schools.

"There are a lot of similarities between Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia so it was easy for us to understand the local language spoken here," said Conor Lyon, 13, from Governor Stirling Senior High School.

Apart from Kota Kinabalu, the group took a half-day trip to Sandakan and visited Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Rainforest Discovery Centre and Sandakan Memorial Park.

"Sandakan was terrific. At the Memorial Park, one of our parents, Alex, laid a wreath brought here from Australia.

We also brought honky nuts, eucalyptus leaves and buds as part of our offering. I think it is a wonderful tribute to all our fallen diggers and we truly appreciate what Sabah has done," added Kuldeep Kaler, a teacher from Kalamunda Senior High School.

"The Pavilion was very informative and fantastic. The kids actually stayed back to read what actually happened to the Australian diggers and Malaysian army on what they have to go through for their freedom.

ANZAC has a huge impact in Perth." she added. Kaler also mentioned that a lot of people don't realise the Australian diggers were in Southeast Asia.

Most students were chosen to go to Turkey through a competition for Anzac Day.

The teachers and parents hope that Sabah Tourism and the Tourism Australia will have similar programmes to offer schools for the students on an Anzac holiday or ceremony.

"I think we need to focus more on this site as it is easier for them to come here to represent Western Australia or their schools," said teacher Jessie Sohan.

"It is a positive challenge for the students to experience Sabahan local culture as well as to try to converse in Bahasa."

The group also visited Mari-Mari Cultural Village, Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Springs, Kiulu Countryside, Tempasuk River, Nanamun River and more.

Alex Stephens, a parent to one of the students, enjoyed the farm stay in Kg Tinagon Baru where the group experienced the local lifestyle of the villagers, including rubber tapping.

General Manager of Sabah Tourism, Suzaini Datuk Sabdin Ghani, said:

"The opportunity is there to explore the educational segment from Western Australia with the listing of Sabah as a safe destination. The direct flight from Kota Kinabalu to Perth has been maintaining well for the past years and an eight-day tour for school trip is just nice."


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