Basil in Australien

Exchange Year

I can’t believe that it has already been a year since I came to Australia. Time passes so quickly. I still remember in all details the night I entered the house of my host family for the first time. I managed to damage my nerve while sleeping on the plain to Singapore and when I arrived I lost control over my right hand. I thought, that can only happen to me. Starting the biggest adventure of my life, not being able to shake hands with anyone. Therefore is was feeling pretty uncomfortable when I entered the house and had no idea how to say hello. But my fears where blown away when my host family just hugged me instead of shaking my hand. My host family integrated me from the beginning on and I was a part of the family. We spend the first few days running form doctor to doctor trying to find out what happened to my hand and ended up at the hand specialist at North Shore Hospital.    

I went to my first school day wearing a wrist guard but I thought it could only get better. At school I had to pick my subjects. There is a variety of great subjects but unfortunately some of the better ones were already full. I ended up having the electives Marine Studies, Global Studies and Physical Education. Marine Studies was quite interesting but some other subjects were also a bit boring. That got much better once I came into year 11.    

Now I had to integrate myself into the Aussie life. That wasn’t that easy. I was wearing a wrist guard so I wasn’t able to play much sport and there were not many electives available at school. During that time I got a lot of support form my host family and especially my host brother Cal. He always took me to places and integrated me quickly into his social life. During the first months I got to know the Aussie lifestyle and spent hours at the beach or at bonfires. My host family provide me with a surfboard and my host brother taught my how to use it. Surfing is something that I kept on doing for my whole exchange.    

After my first three months spring holidays came up. My grandma came over from Switzerland and we rented a car. Together we had a fabulous time travelling from Sydney to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide. It was great to see more of Australia. It is not that easy to travel around while you are on Exchange. My host family took me to a lot of different places around Sydney and we had a holiday house down south that we visited regularly but because they are also buys with their own things it is hard for them to take you far way. When I went back after the holidays I had bit of a hard time. I realised that there was still a lot of time left but I didn’t really achieve that much. I struggled a bit with integrating myself in the school community, maybe because I was a bit to old for year 10. I wanted to move up to year 11 but that didn't work because of school policy. Then I tried to move school but after a lot of tries and empty promises that didn’t work out either. During that time I had a lot of support form a good friend form Austria that I’m still in contact with and I’m going to visit this summer. In the end I’m happy, that I stayed. I also started different activities outside of school and did a photography course and my bronze medal at the surf club. I realised that I didn’t really learn that much at school and so it was good to learn some interesting things outside of school. Doing the bronze medal introduced me to something that you can only describe as true Aussie. In that period I also met some of my best friend from that year above. We experience so much during that time and I hope we will stay in contact for ever! Just before the holidays I passed my bronze medal exam and was allowed to go on patrol at the beach. I spend some great days at the beach watching over all the people that tried to escape the host Australian sun. I also went camping up north with my host brother which was a great experience. The next few months passed really quickly. I had a great time with my friends hanging out, going to parties, concerts or just enjoying the lovely area.

My host family always integrated me in their social live and I got to know quite a lot of their friends and family members. We had a great time celebrating christmas in shorts and t-shirt and going for a swim before performing christmas carols with the family band. When I started year 11 I was able to choose a new subject and found my passion for drama. It was the highlight of every school week and we had so much fun working of on performances or designing theatre posters. Last week I finally found my way to the opera house and saw the great performance “Hollywood Rhapsody”. Now I’m about to fly back again and it feels really weird to leave this place. I found a new home, a second family and friends for life. I want to thank everyone that made it such a great experience and I cant wait to see everyone again.