Experiential Learning at Alphington Grammar School

alphington grammar college learning


Alphington Grammar School is committed to providing students with experiences that will not only enhance their learning, but will have them encounter opportunities that they will not get in the usual school environment. It incorporates opportunities for students to build vital lifelong skills and attributes that will allow them to have a deep cross cultural understanding and help them to develop the higher order thinking skills of a truly global citizen.

The Global gateways program is compulsory for all Year 9 and 10 students, and is synonymous with huge personal growth and maturity in the teenage years. Whether they travel within Australia, or internationally, in this program students will return home with strong cultural awareness, a sense of community and a deeper understanding of the contribution they will make to a sustainable future.

This program occurs on a two year cycle. Each even year the choices are either, a 5 week study tour of China, Turkey, Gallipoli and Greece or, a 2 week study tour of Central Australia. In each odd year the choices are either; a two-week study tour of either Vietnam or, Darwin and the Top End.

A student’s perspective

The Alphington Grammar School Gateways program is an experience unlike any other. Having attended eight schools across both Victoria and Western Australia, I had participated in more than my fair share of educational experiences. None of these were as valuable to my cultural and personal development as Alphington’s Gateways program.

When I arrived in 2014 for Year 10, and heard about the ‘Program’, I was immediately struck by how appropriate this experience felt in relation to the character and ethos of the school. Alphington Grammar teaches the importance of becoming a global citizen in an ever-increasingly globalised world, and highlights the importance of learning to understand and respect all cultures.

The Gateways Experience I chose was the Central Australia Experience. I felt it was important to deepen my cultural understanding of Australia’s own rich and diverse history, especially in relation to our Indigenous Australian heritage, before I ventured overseas for the first time.

It began with a bus trip to Adelaide, where we visited Hahndorf, a town settled by 19th century Lutheran migrants to learn about the German experience of immigrating to Australia. We then continued the bus ride upwards on the long journey to Central Australia. Some highlights for me included our visit to Coober Pedy, which remains one of the most fascinating places I have ever seen. Due to the extremely hot and dry climate, virtually the whole population of the town lives underground.

My most memorable experience of the Gateways Trip was the day we visited Uluru and the knowledge gained from speaking to Indigenous elders about the importance of the Indigenous culture, practices and history, as well as the significance of this sacred monument.

At that time, visitors had the choice to climb Uluru. We were encouraged by the Indigenous elders and peoples to respect and experience the rock’s immense beauty by walking around the base, rather than climbing the rock. Many in our group – including myself – decided to walk the base of Uluru while others chose to climb it I had never before witnessed such a cultural dilemma as was faced that day at Uluru and I know that many students came to regret their decision to climb it when they realised in later years just how culturally insensitive this was to the Indigenous people

Gateways remains one of my most valuable life experiences to date.. Through this experience I became more aware of the world around me, and began to realise the empathy, understanding and respect required to be a true global citizen. It is an experience I highly recommend.

Claire Evans

Alphington Grammar School Alumni 2016


Alphington Grammar School is located on five hectares of beautiful parklands and sports ovals by the banks of the Darebin […]

  • 03 9497 4777
©2022 UMCO. All rights reserved