Hi everyone, my name is Ingrid and I’m an exchange student from Denmark living in Australia for a year. I came in July and have already had the most memorable experiences. I’m 16 years old and attend a local school in the Hills district. This week I have had work experience with Bev Jordan on the Hills to Hawkesbury magazine exploring journalism as a Job. I am sponsored by Norwest Sunrise Rotary Club.
As a 16 year old girl travelling to the other side of the world on your own, you learn a lot. You learn a lot about cultures as well as yourself. You learn how to be independent whilst exploring a whole new country.
My friend Iisa from Finland who is also on exchange and currently lives in West Pennant Hills says “the ability to explore a whole new aspect of the world at such a young age with the support of a safety network” when I asked her what her favourite thing about the Rotary youth exchange program was.
With Rotary as your exchange organisation, you know you are in good hands. Rotary club members take care of you as if you were their child for a year.
The Rotary youth exchange program is a program for young people aged 15-17 where you get the unique opportunity to travel to another country all by yourself. You get to know a whole new culture, get new international friends, and you get a new family whom you will know for a lifetime.
The friendships you get through an exchange year is something very special. You all share this experience which is extremely hard to put into words, but you all get one another and you make the best memories throughout the year.
Georgia from Westleigh, who is sponsored by the West Pennant Hills/ Cherrybrook Rotary Club, is going on exchange to Chile in January said “I’m excited to learn how to speak Spanish and learn how to communicate with people in my new school in Chile”
It is one of the major experiences you get as an overseas exchange student.
The Rotarians do a lot to make this program run effectively, it makes you wonder why they are so passionate about the program.
Janelle Craig, the district coordinator, answers this question: “I’m passionate about the program because I have seen it and its impacts from different perspectives. I have seen it as a mum and seen how it is transformative. Rotary clubs comes to life when having an exchange student”
Part of the exchange program is the big yearly safari trip organised by Rotarians. This year, the 9685 district, which is my district, stretching from the Hills all the way out to Blue Mountains and all the way up to Central Coast, is collaborating with the Melbourne district to give us a Safari trip from Melbourne through Adelaide all the way to Alice Springs and Uluru.
We will be 60 students travelling together and it will be great fun getting to know one another and hear about all our different cultures and of course see all the amazing nature that’s a big part of the trip.”
What I have learnt from this experience already is to be grateful for all that I get, especially from Rotary and the Rotarians. I don’t think I’ll ever forget when I travelled downunder alone and made incredible memories.”