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MAC students embark on ‘experience of a lifetime’

The Wānaka App

Sue Wards

01 April 2024, 4:04 PM

MAC students embark on ‘experience of a lifetime’MAC students on a preparation walk at the summit of the Rocky Mountain track. (Harriet Sargood-Ross fifth from left).

A group of 14 senior Te Kura o Tititea Mt Aspiring College (MAC) students are preparing for a life changing three week trip to Nepal.

Hikes up Mt Iron five days a week for the past seven weeks have been just part of the preparation for one of the group, year 13 student Harriet Sargood-Ross.

“I have never left New Zealand before and I knew this would be an experience of a lifetime that will show me how people in different countries live and how New Zealand is just a small part of the world,” Harriet told the Wānaka App.

The trip involves two days of rafting and canyoning near the border with Tibet, four days in a village homestay doing community service, seven days trekking in the Langtang Valley and a few days to finish exploring Kathmandu.

MAC outdoor pursuits teacher and trip coordinator Dan Cullen said the trip will provide an opportunity for personal growth for the students, as well as the opportunity to “experience and gain perspective of what life is like in a country that is very different to New Zealand and Wānaka”.

“Nepal was chosen as New Zealand has a special connection that goes all the way back to 1953 when Ed Hillary climbed Mt Everest, and students from our college also have a special connection having completed charity work in the Khumbu valley with the Hillary Foundation,” he said.

On a previous trip in 2019, MAC students built a stone wall around a school and painted several classrooms.

Wānaka also has important connections with Nepal through companies such as Adventure Consultants, Dan said.

“Nepal has amazing and challenging trekking through the Himalayas and provides opportunities for our students to give back through community service while in a village homestay. 

“By trekking through the Langtang Valley, we are able to provide work and income for the villages that were hit hard by the earthquake in 2015.”

The students have worked hard to prepare and raise funds for the trip, Harriet said.

“Just leaving New Zealand is fun for me but I’m also really looking forward to all the community service we will do as I want to help as much as I can, to spend time with the local people there, and to see how they live.”

The students will leave New Zealand for Nepal this Friday (April 5).

PHOTO: Supplied