By: Fanny de Demandolx, Carolina Martinez, Colombe Lorthioir, Camille de Gueltzl
In June 2018, the four of us went to Sydney for a month to our exchange student’s houses. We discovered many things such as a new school, a different culture, a new continent and our new « family » for the next five weeks.
We first spent three weeks at Ascham School with our exchange partners. As soon as we arrived, we had to face a lot of differences, and we needed to adapt very quickly. Firstly, we had the chance to wear a quite strict but amusing uniform and to go to a non-coed school. Then we discovered a new way of teaching and learning. As a matter of fact, every assignment they give at the beginning of a term is due on the following Tuesday. However their schedule helped us to adapt to those changes.
Thanks to all these changes, my exchange partner and I bonded easily. We were always together, so we always discussed every different routine or surprising event that I noticed. We became each other’s confidante. My host family was very welcoming and understanding. They all were kind and took care of me. They made me feel like I was a part of their family. It made the goodbyes even harder.
Then we were on holidays for two weeks. The first weekend, all of the French girls and their exchange partners went to an Australian exchange student’s beach house. We went to the beach and even took a swim despite the cold water. We then stayed in Sydney doing different activities such as going to the zoo all together where we saw koalas and kangaroos, picnicking at different places, attending sport classes and even going to Australian Football games. One evening we also went to an amusement park from where you could see the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge illuminated, which was a beautiful sight; we all enjoyed it a lot.
Then the second week of the holidays my family took me to Hamilton Island which is an island on the barrier reef. It was one of the favourite moments of the trip. It was like a paradise with palm trees everywhere and a really warm weather even though it was winter. Besides there were no cars, only buggies to go from one place to another. There were wallabies (small kangaroos) all over the island and many other animals endemic to Australia. We did so many amazing activities such as walking around the island during the evening and watching the sunset, snorkeling with enormous turtles and I even got to hold a koala!
My exchange family took me to unique places like the Great Barrier Reef, I got to hold a koala and pet a kangaroo, and with the other girls we had so much fun exploring the city on our own. I was also very lucky in that my exchange partner and I really connected on a culinary level. She brought me to so many cool places allowing me to discover Australia’s diversity through its diversified cuisine. I loved it.
Going to Australia was such an incredible experience, there was not a single day where we went to bed without being amazed about all the experiences we lived.