For four Year 11 teenagers from the Solomon Islands, leaving their home country for the first time and spending a week in Lismore, Australia, comes as a big culture shock."The technology!" one of them exclaimed. "Little kids with mobile phones!"
Stanley Foasianiani, Leon Malai, Mary Tebolo and Ella Hou and their science teacher Jane Sau have been brought to Lismore from St. Joseph Tenaru following a visit to Tenaru by eight Year 11 students in Trinity Catholic College students.
They spent two weeks over Easter this year attending St Joseph's Catholic School at Tenaru and visiting villages.
It's an annual event for Trinity students to visit the Solomon Islands, as part of their Faith Formation program, Trinity teacher Brother Justin said.
This is the first time students from the host school have been invited to Australia. The funds were raised by the Trinity students.
English is the third language for each of them; they are taught in Pidgin or English and at home they speak the language of their village.
A Solomon Islands student can finish school without ever having used the internet.
The Trinity students were unanimous in their appreciation of time in a different culture, though they found the staple diet of rice and cabbage a bit of a challenge.
Brother Justin, who with Trinity teacher Rita Tarraran accompanied the visit, said that the aim was for students to form new friendships through immersion in another culture.
He hoped the return visit of the Solomon Island students would become an annual event.