Adriana Favrin undertook many exciting and new experiences as she completed her Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award. The young teacher travelled throughout Europe, joining millions of others at World Youth Day in Madrid.

The grade three teacher at St. Francis of Assisi Primary School in Mill Park, began her Gold Award whilst studying a bachelor of education at Australian Catholic University (ACU). She was motivated to complete her Award in the hope to try new things and expand on activities she already participated in.

“I wanted to complete the award to challenge myself to be pushed outside my comfort zone! I was pushed to persist in things that were completely outside of my comfort zone. It made me the person I am today.”

As part of her Award, Adriana undertook a six week study trip to the University of Udine in Italy to complete an intensive Italian language course. She also had the opportunity to visit her father’s home town of Cittadella. Travelling to new towns with her family was a highlight, as her Italian improved and she experienced ‘Notte Bianca’.

“In Italy one of the highlights was realizing that after a while I could actually speak the language fluently! I had been immersed so much that all of a sudden the words were flowing out of my mouth!”

Adriana also travelled to Madrid to be a part of World Youth Day, an event that brings millions of young people together to celebrate the Catholic faith. In a group called the Footsteppers 51, she travelled the path of Jesus through Jerusalem and onto Madrid.

“A highlight was being with so many pilgrims from around the world who all believed in the catholic faith! We were one, united in Christ, all in the same spot and the experience is surreal! Here in Melbourne you sometimes feel disconnected and isolated because there are a few youth groups but there with 2 million Catholics, it was just incredible! You feel so alive and blessed to believe!”

Back in Australia, Adriana did a great job fulfilling her Gold Award duties. She participated in both tutoring and youth group for her service activities.

Through ACU, she was encouraged to become involved with Atherton Gardens, offering tutoring to the younger students. The work would always be different, ranging from nursery rhymes to higher level mathematics.

“Often we would have about 90 children in a small room working one on one with different pre-service teachers and we would help the students with their homework. Some students didn’t speak much English so it became challenging at times.”

Adriana also became the leader of the St. Damian’s Parish Youth Group. Meeting weekly, the group would socialize and discuss scripture for the day. They further became involved in the Diamond Valley Deanery movement called ‘REACH OUT’. The group would unite with other parishes in the area and hold tri-monthly meetings to socialise and be involved in praise and worship.

Adriana hopes to visit her family in Italy and continue to travel around the world in the near future. She is thankful for her Duke of Ed experience, believing it helped broadened her horizons and provided her with the confidence to give things a go. Her achievements will be celebrated at the Gold Award Gala held on the 6th of December at Melbourne Town Hall.

Check out the event here.

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