I'm literally having the time of my life here in Sydney. Unfortunately only for six months - time goes so so fast by! I can say that I'm having the biggest experience I ever made. It is so great to know that I have a second family on the other side of world now, so many Aussie friends and a second home in the most beautiful city (I'm not jut saying that! City, beaches,Australian lifestyle, harbour, food, all the Eucalyptus trees, Cookatoos - a kind of parrot you find everywhere all in the at one place on earth called Sydney !!!
It is Such a big difference when I first came here. I felt from the beginning like being home;thanks to my hostfamily, Jennifer and Swiss Partner organisation and all my new friends. Of course it was firstly hard to see that my Swiss family and friends are not here with meexperiencing all that and no, your Aussie friends won'tbe the same as your friends at home. But once you realize you're not staying here forever; you will go back and see them all again and nothing there will have changed, you will surely enjoy the time here asmuch as I do! It will only make you sad (as it does meright now) to know that you will leave after this too short time and won't see your Aussie friends andhostfamily everyday anymore. But thanks to this exchange I know I could always go on a plane, fly to Sydney and know there is a second home to stay at. And I'll certainly do that one day!
Hmm what else could I write... You know, I could write pages of what I did and how I feel but Ithink I might have to sum that a little bit up for you ;-) I live in Frenchs Forest, Northern Beaches which is near to the city and near to the beach. So I was quite lucky. I go at least once a week on the beach anddid the first term once a week surfing with my school Davidson High. Such a lovely school! Teachers and students are soso open and helpful, I was in good hands. They have many opportunities with sports, subjects and excursions. I learnt many new things at school and it is fun to be with your new Aussie friends. Also I had the luck that every tuesday I haven't got school. Yep, that is cool and I'm definitely not used to that from home! It's supposed to be a study day, I do that when I have tests (don't worry about the English at school - you learn so so fastly and don't even realize anymore if it's in German or English written. I have even troubles writing inGerman with my friends at home now...) or like what we usually do is to go sightseeing. You have so many possibilities here in Sydney! Taronga Zoo, Darling Harbour, Wildlife, Sealife, Jetboat, Manly, Bondi Beach, many concerts and festivals, to the movies, Palm Beach (my favourite beach here), plenty other beaches, surfing, boat tours, many adorable cafés, fishmarket, Chinese Garden, Sydney Tower,Newtown, all these little markets, Hyde Park and so so many shops and streets for great shopping! It won't get boring here, trust me.
I also had the opportunity to join the Red Outback Safari trip – thatwas an amazing experience. You really got around Australia and sawall the beautiful places like Uluru you usually only see on pictures. Probably the nicest thing was to meet all these new people from allaround the world. They are all in the same situation as you and it isso great to exchange thoughts and tell them how you go and whatyou did. It feels like being one big international family. Definetely join one of those trips if you get the chance, you will love it!
The whole exchange depends about how your attitude is. See all the positive things this experience brings you andbe positive and open aboutmeeting new friends. Don't expect it to be the same ashome, it won't be. It will be different - in a positive way! Don't just sit around after school, go up and do something. See Sydney, do sports, meet your friends,cook for your family a traditional dish or start to write a blog, as I did. Otherwhise you might get bored and youthink too much about home (by the way; I was apart from about a week maybe never really homesick because I always had something to do and was busy :-)). And you will have such a good time here that there are no reasons to be homesick!
And then my adorable hostfamily! I love them. They are so open and always here for me when I need help or advice. Be open, help them, ask them how they are and their day was and feel like being home. That will help you a lot to settle in. But that means there are also some rules like in every household to follow as you're part of the family now. On the other hand they will treat you as a family member and give you the same opportunities as your hostsiblings do. You can always ask Jennifer for help or support if you feel uncomfortable - she helped me a lot!
During those six months I had many ups and downs - definitely more ups than downs. But this is part of being an exchange student and doing this experience. I learnt a lot about myself and feel more independent and can handle things like an adult right now ;-) I am so jealous that you get the opportunity to experience this exchange - I wish I could run time back and do itagain. So the conclusion of my surprisingly long essay is - don't dream it, do it. Do it and go to the most amazing place, Australia. I promise you, you will love it. As much as I do.
If you want to talk directly with me feel free to contact Jennifer for my details - I did the same and that helped me a lot deciding whether I should go or not. Yours Céline