Ten international students from Sydney's lower north shore enjoyed a taste of rural NSW, when they visited Trangie on the weekend.
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The students are currently enrolled in the immersion program at Knox Grammar School, and in a first, the group spent four days in Trangie where they saw what life in Australia was like for some of their student counterparts at the boarding school.
The program, coordinated by Knox Grammar's Mim Cockrell, was developed to help bridge cultural divides and offer students an experience outside of Sydney.
"We have 200 boarders in our boarding house [at Knox], two-thirds of which come from areas like Trangie, they're local or rural students. Then one-third of them are international students," Ms Cockrell said.
"So there's quite a natural divide, because as everyone does they gravitate towards a shared culture, language and history.
"I coordinated a trip up here for four days, basically to help the students to understand the vastness of Australia, and Australian culture at it's core.
"But also to gain an empathetic understanding for their rural student counterparts and what their families do, their commute and the types of issues they face like the current drought."
The students took part in a two-hour workshop alongside the Trangie Magpies learning numerous rugby league and touch football skills.
"An initiative like this to get some of the boys from the Trangie Magpies out to show them some skills and teach them a little bit about touch footy and NRL is so beneficial to them, especially coming into a boys school where obviously that's a very prominent culture and part of their identity," Ms Cockwell said.
The immersion program coordinator said she was "amazed" at the response to the program by the students.
"It exceeded our expectations," she said.
"They managed the seven hours up here amazingly, no complaints, nothing like that.
"They're still getting used to the flies and the Australian wave, but they've been absolutely fantastic and open-minded diving into everything which has really exceeded anything we expected."
For Ms Cockwell it's been learning from the international students as well, which has been most rewarding.
"It's been really nice to see the reciprocal learning of cultures and merging of cultures, and I think that's something that's really important and needs to happen explicitly," she said.
"People don't tend to go out of their comfort zones to understand a new culture.
"Before I joined this program as a coordinator I knew very little about where the boys come from, China and Hong Kong, so it's been as much as a learning process for me as it's been for them, so it's really enriched me as a person and I hope it does for this community as it does the boys as well."
The school said following the success of the trip they have booked it in again for 2020.
"The school's very supportive of what we're doing here and it's the first time we've done anything like this or are aware of any other school doing something like this," Ms Cockwell said.
"So that's something we're really proud of and for these boys to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience not only out here, but to Dubbo, I think it's definitely worth continuing."
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