IPSWICH Year 12 student Brendan Modini will be starting the new school year with greater responsibility and a fresh outlook on life.
The Newtown teenager is taking on the role of captain at Bremer State High School for 2013, and is better equipped for leadership after a pre-Christmas World Challenge 21-day trip to Cambodia and Laos.
"All seven students in the group and two teachers were from Bremer," Brendan said.
"I wanted to give back to the world and to experience a diverse country where people are either really rich or poor.
"I got a lot of life skills out of it, and learnt not to take things for granted."
Brendan said the students took responsibility for planning and organising the trip, overseeing safety, hygiene, food and transport.
"We each did our own roles. I was a leader for part of the time," he said.
"I was like a 'go-to' man - if someone had a problem, they'd come to me for help.
"I felt pushed, so I got the most out of it.
"It was full-on."
During the trip, they trekked through jungles, taught English to the local people, created artwork and built school infrastructure for disadvantaged children.
Two Bremer teachers, Louise Leabeater and Michael Green, travelled with the group.
"It was a fantastic experience," Ms Leabeater said.
"It was so successful, a real learning experience.
"We got to do two projects - we dug out a fish pond at an orphanage and also helped to build gardens at a school."
For details about World Challenge Expeditions, visit worldchallenge.com.au or phone 1300 728 568.