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Destination Dreaming Leads Annual UN Youth Australia Pacific Project Providing Cultural Immersion and Service Learning for School Students


VICTORIA, Australia September, 2012 – This year, 12 Australian teenagers learned what it’s like to live the life of an international aid worker as not-for-profit organisation Destination Dreaming arranged their cultural immersion program to Timor Leste, as part of the United Nations Youth Australia Pacific Project. These teenagers, who lead a comparatively sheltered life in Australia, experienced intercultural learning and social education firsthand as they witnessed how United Nations Social Aid workers assist the needy in developing countries.

Kate Miller, Founder and Program Director of Destination Dreaming says, “Destination Dreaming works with schools to create sustainable community partnerships that teach students about global citizenship, self-awareness, and social justice. Our programs are based on inquiry-based, experiential learning programs for schools – integrating key concepts from a range of curriculum disciplines through interaction, observation, and collaboration.”

Kate continues, “Destination Dreaming specialises in programs for schools and communities. Our programs are founded on life education programs for schools – the development of knowledge, skills, and values to charter life’s course and implement social change. Our goal is to provide a challenging learning environment that enables young people to thrive in a global world by facilitating practical social education programs.”

This year’s program was designed to provide the young people with a deep insight into community-driven development, which included:

  • Morning tea with Timor Leste Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and observing the national elections;
  • Meeting with AusAid and the Alola Foundation established by Australian woman Kirsty Sword Gusmao;
  • Living at the Encouragement House, a highland boarding house for rural Timorese students;
  • Hearing from members of the UN Police about working in East Timor; and
  • Funding and leading an art project for students in remote Timor.

The student participants spoke candidly about their reflections on the Timor Leste cultural immersion program for school students:

Participant Jessica says, “This has been truly invaluable. The relationships I’ve established in communities that accepted and welcomed us wholeheartedly have been life-changing and enabled me to believe in myself and my dreams. I have learned that community is the most attainable and important aspect of life. Whilst national development is at times an overwhelming concept, the starting block will always be building relationships.”

Another participant in the intercultural program for school students, Jordan says, the experience “allowed me to see development on a national scale. It changed me as a person. It provided a body of knowledge and experiences that I can draw on for the rest of my life, and connected me with a network of like-minded people who have become life-long friends.”

This year’s delegation is the third consecutive Pacific Project to Timor Leste, continuing the relationship United Nations Youth Australia and Destination Dreaming have built with the Encouragement House and the Timorese community. To find out more about the opportunities for service learning for schools or organisations visit


 Life education programs
 Service learning programs
 Experiential learning
 Intercultural program
 Cultural immersion

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