49 students and 12 staff from SCEA schools have been welcomed to the Visayan Maritime Academy Global Training Centre in Bacolod, the Philippines.
As a part of the annual Leavers 2 Leaders trip, students from Swan Christian College, Ellenbrook Christian College and Southern Hills Christian College are visiting areas across the Negros Occidental region.
Students were welcomed to the VMA Global Training Centre, home to thousands of students, to experience the school, chat with local students and get a close look at some of the fantastic maritime training facilities across two VMA campuses.
The SCEA students walked in to a guard of honour comprising of uniformed students, a marching band, and hundreds of friendly VMA students.
In a welcoming ceremony, principal of the college, attorney John Orola welcomed the delegation, amidst a number of cultural performances from VMA students.
SCEA students were then introduced to a local buddy who supported them during their visit and accompanied them through the many activities.
Meeting local students is an important part of the Leavers 2 Leaders trip, where Australian students are immersed in local culture and given the opportunity to experience how others live.
"It was amazing meeting my buddy and getting to know them,” said Ben, a Year 12 student.
"Even after one day, I know I will be thinking about him - and wondering if he is thinking about me in the future,” said Ben.
Following a tour of the school campus, where students viewed a ‘ship on land’ simulator, class facilities, and technical classrooms, their local buddies escorted the SCEA students to the practical training campus where they joined them in rescue and firefighting activities.
The event then culminated in a celebratory dinner where students said goodbye to their buddies and met with other students.
"After coming here last year, it was amazing how many of the local students remembered me", said Zoe, a Year 12 student. "It was so surreal coming back to this place and seeing my buddy again.”
The Leavers 2 Leaders trip also involves a large number of service activities where students participate in construction, feeding and engagement programs with children in need from local communities in the Philippines.
Students from Swan Christian College perform a firefighting simulation.
A student from Ellenbrook Christian College performs an abandon ship manoeuvre.