My trip to Australia
I decided to fly very late to Australia and to go to school there. It was
too late to fly with an official organisation so I had to plan it myself. It was not
difficult to find a family to live with, because a friend of my
mother emigrated to Australia seven years ago. It was no problem for her and her family
to let me live in their house. Booking the flight was the easiest part of the
Being in Germany, it was impossible to find a school where I could go to, but the family I lived with sent me some information about a private school which one of their children attends. It was not possible to go to a public school because they only took pupils from official organisations. I just had to call my hostfamily to tell them that I would like to go to the private school and they arranged everything for me.
I flew over to Australia on the 10th of January. I had school from the 29th of January to the 10th of April. Before and after my time at school I did a lot of sightseeing.
I lived in Perth in Western Australia (WA) and I was in WA for the whole trip. I went on holiday with my host family in Magret River, a little town in the Southwest of Australia. I spent my first week "at school" in Magret River because I had an introduction camp there. It was great for me to have the camp at the beginning of my school time, because it made it easier to get to know other people as we spent the whole day together. I participated in some eleventh grade and some twelfth grade subjects. There were other new students which made it easier for me to get used to Australian school life. To do well at school was not a big problem because the expectations were not as high as in Germany.
The first weeks after the camp were difficult, because I had to get used to the English technical terms, but after that it was easy. Most of the things we did in Australia werent new for me, so I took a couple of twelfth grade classes. I was surprised by the teachers ages because they were all very young. The school itself consisted of some smaller one-storey buildings each with two or three classrooms. The school was situated in the middle of the wilderness and was very well equipped. This was not a big surprise because of the high school fees each student had to pay. They offered a huge variety of subjects including different forms of English and Maths, Science, Chemistry, Biology, Human Biology, French, Indonesian, Geography, Drama, Digital Media, Early Childhood Studies, Outdoor Education, Art, Industrial Workshop, Media, Food Production, Physics, Music, History and Applied Computing. I chose 11th grade English and Introductory Calculus, 12th grade Applicable Mathematics, Physics, Applied Computing and Media.
After my school time I had the chance of being able to do the Australian Driving Licence, but I still had to do the German Licence like everybody else, because I wasnt in Australia long enougth.
The time I spent in Australia was a part of my life I never want to forget. I learned a lot about Australia and the Australian lifestyle. It had been a great time for me and I never had any big problems with my host family. They were all very friendly. In my opinion everybody should do an exchange in the 11th grade if it is possible.
A private trip has its advantages and disadvantages. You have to plan everything yourself and it therefore cannot be planned as professionally as it would with an organisation but you are forced to learn a lot about the country and how to organize such a trip. A big disadvantage for me was that my host family spoke German. I tried to compensate for this by watching a lot of films in English, but of course it would have been better for my English if I had stayed with an Australian family. The biggest advantage of a privately planned exchange is that it is not as expensive as travelling with an organisation. I had to pay 1990,- DM for the flight, 2400,- DM school fees, ~1000,- DM for living with my host family, 1200,- DM pocket money and ~600,- DM for excursions.
Overall I learned a lot of new things and I had a lot of fun. This is something everybody should do and I hope I will be able to return to Australia as soon as possible.