There have been huge changes in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program since Rotary Norwest Member Cherelyn Suzuki visited Japan in the 1960s as one of the first students on the program.
Now days, as a member of Norwest Sunrise Rotary Club, she is mentoring two new Rotary Exchange students.
Georgia Hill, 14, attends Gilroy College and is heading to Japan next month for a year on her Youth Exchange.
She has become firm friends with Misaki Okabe, 16, the club’s inbound student from Japan who arrived four months ago.
Misaki has been attending Crestwood High School. They both attend Norwest Sunrise Rotary Club on Thursday mornings before heading to school. Both Cherelyn and Georgia brush up on their Japanese while Misaki practices her English.
This week was a chance for the two teenagers to wear their Rotary Youth Exchange blazers.
Georgia said: “I am incredibly excited to live and learn in Japan as a resident and not a tourist. She will be celebrating her 15th birthday not long after arriving in Sapporo, Misaki’s home town. I am looking forward to being bilingual and having knowledge of another country. I am looking forward to going to school there and the food.”
She will be taking Misaki to her grandparent’s property in Yass for a family Christmas. Mistake, who loves Australian animals but is not too keen on Vegemite, is looking forward to a bush Christmas.
“Australia is a beautiful country. They have nice beaches and very kind people.”