Posted by Julia Goonan
on 5 September 2019
Catching up with St Bede's College Alumni, Patrick Hurst, was a reflective and wholesome appreciation for all things Lasallian. Pat graduated from St Bede's College in 2014, after being a Lasallian Youth Leader and attending retreats throughout his high school years. In the following year, Pat spent 10 months in a very remote town in Western Australia, Balgo Hills. It is here that Pat found his love for human rights and equality between the fortunate and those less fortunate. When asked why Pat applied for Lasallian Volunteers, he simply said that 'it was finally an opportunity to give back'. Since his year in Balgo in 2015, Pat has visited Balgo a number of times since then to continue to strengthen his connection with the town, and even recently visited in the last couple of months, reconnecting with families, former students and staff at the school.
"I think that a lot of the things I've pursued since my time in Balgo stem from the experiences I had and people I met. It opened my eyes to a beautiful part of Australia, strong and resilient people but also some real failings and shortcomings. It was a year of growth and learning on a personal level."Not knowing what path to take when finishing school, Lasallian Volunteers was a chance to step out of his comfort zone, but it has ultimately led him to the position he's in today. Pat is about to leave his home in Melbourne, to complete a New Colombo Plan scholarship in China for 12 months. Pat has been studying a Double Degree in Law and Arts at Monash University in Melbourne, and going into his final year of study, he will participate in language training as well as innumerable lessons to be learnt in China. We asked Pat what is main goals he would like to achieve in China are, to which he said "I guess what I really loved about Balgo was being in a foreign environment, learning to communicate with people from completely different backgrounds and forming strong relationships in the circumstances. I'm keen to have a similar experience in that way. I'm also excited to work with some companies that play an important role in the relationship between Australia and China". Pat leaves Australia on the 1st of September. "Balgo taught me how to live away from my family and I'm sure these skills will be invaluable. I really like being thrown in the deep end so I'm looking forward to that."
We then asked Pat what his one piece of advice to any young Lasallian thinking of doing Lasallian Volunteers would be. This was his answer:
"Something that got me into a lot of Lasallian activities was just putting my hand up. When I applied for Lasallian Volunteers, I wasn't sure if I was absolutely certain about it or where I'd be placed, but without a doubt it has been the best decision I've made. The personal growth, the experiences I've had and people I've met has shaped what I'm doing today and what I hope to do in the future. It all goes back to that moment of taking a risk and showing interest in the program."
Pat hopes to work in human rights in the future and maintain his connection with Balgo and hold his Lasallian values close to his heart.