|Tristan||2012||Don Bosco Technical School, Phnom Penh||Cambodia|
Describe the work you did during your placement:
Everyone's journey with the Cagliero Project is different. I was an English grammar teacher for four months within the school and was an English tutor and youth worker outside school hours. I helped on camps, sports carnival days, excursions to Angkor Wat, I was involved in the parish and daily lives of the boarder boys and Besucco Boys. I was offered a chance to involve myself in the life of the school and community and this brought such a variety of activities and commitments.
Describe some of the best and most challenging aspects of your placement:
I believe the expected changes like diet, climate and language only intensify the significance of the mission experience, so as challenging as these were for the first two weeks, beyond that they became my norm. I love being active, outdoors and involved and by living in the school with the students I was able to play sports and help out with daily duties every day. My basketball and soccer skills greatly improved during my time in DBTS. For me however the most rewarding experiences aren't so much experiences, they're people. It's the moments I shared with the students, the community of volunteers, priests and brothers that make up the Salesian family, they were the best aspects of my placement. The greatest challenge I found was learning to adapt, becoming flexible and not just able but willing to immerse myself in their lives and culture. I'm glad I did!
Explain how your volunteer experience impacts your life today:
I have since finishing my degree majoring in Chemistry and Pharmacology. I have enjoyed becoming more involved with the Salesians in Melbourne and I hope to continue my commitment and involvement to them in the future. I've returned with perspective, and I hope a little humility. I continue to return to my experiences with Cagliero in Cambodia as they were a thoroughly enjoyable, memorable and formative period of my life. I am now living in a Salesian community, discerning a permanent commitment to Salesian religious life.