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Year 9 learn empathy, respect and responsibility on Urban Journeys

 Urban Journeys article

On 23 and 24 November, Year 9 undertook the annual Urban Journeys program. Over two days, separate groups investigated different global cultures including Vietnamese, Italian, Armenian and Chinese. They explored elements of that culture within the city of Sydney, then presented their findings to their cohort. 

Year 9 coordinator Ms Emma Poole says the program aims to “promote intercultural understanding and cultivate the values and dispositions needed for students to become responsible local and global citizens.” Ms Poole says three dispositions – empathy, respect and responsibility – have been identified as critical to the development of intercultural understanding.

Through the Urban Journeys program, students learn to engage with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections and cultivate mutual respect. Students visited Chinese temples in Glebe, ate at Vietnamese restaurants and visited the Jewish Musuem. 

Isabella and Talar explored the Armenian culture. It was particularly special for Talar, who is of an Armenian descent. “The chance to learn about a culture that isn’t taught in schools is rare and I was so happy to have the opportunity and for others to learn about Armenia,” she said. “I was able to share the stories of my ancestors and how they survived the Armenian Genocide, which is not something I can do every day.” Talar’s mum even came to speak and make biscuits.

Fellow student Isabella enjoyed bonding with her group through the shared experience. “It was also wonderful to learn about a friend’s culture and aspects of their history,” she said. The girls enjoyed delicious and, for them, unusual foods like raw meet. “It was an incredible experience to learn about the history, food and traditions of another country rather than listen from a classroom,” she said.