Week 1: After a grueling travel of over 24 hours, we arrived in Perth, Australia at 11am on Monday June 5. We were greeted by our host families at the gate and taken to our respective homes. Although suffering from a bit of jet lag due to the 13 hour time difference between Perth and Nashville, we were taken straight into activity and was taken to the beach to swim and throw “NFL” on the beach. Right away we connected with our host brothers. The next day we started our school experience by going around to classes with our respective host brothers in the younger year 10, which proved to be a nice easing into the school routine. Along with experiencing many classes from global perspectives to physics, we got to teach a year 10 PE class how to throw a football and even switched off playing a full field game as quarterback. That weekend our host families took us on a ferry over to Rottnest Island, a small island off the coast of Perth, to hang out and explore. We ate some great food, rode bikes around the island, and played a round of putt putt. My family and I (Jack) spent that night in a villa-like house and kicked the “footy” around on the beach.
Week 2: With the year 11 exams over, we got a new schedule with new classes to be with kids our age. Our schedules included math, physics, chemistry, psychology, economics, English, and PE. With the school being on a block schedule consisting of six 50 minute periods during the day, we got to experience different subjects each day and even had 3 classes a day together. That Thursday we got to experience an Australian Football League or “footy” game in which the West Coast Eagles (team from Perth) beat the Geelong Cats. That weekend we went to a nice public golf course and hit on the range. We were also able to go out and explore part of the city by walking around and enjoying the different views.
Week 3: The third week consisted of another normal week of school in which we had become comfortable with the routine of school life. As the week ended, we went with our respective families “Down South” to Dunsborough which is a little coastal vacation town about 3 hours south of Perth. We spent the weekend mountain biking, playing golf, and hanging out and watching the Eagles footy game Saturday night. After returning home Sunday afternoon, we took a day off of school on Monday to go visit a wildlife park and see many native Australian animals. We got to hold koalas, hand feed kangaroos, and see dingos roaming in their enclosure. The long weekend culminated with us adventuring into the city that Monday afternoon with our host brothers to walk around and buy some Australian souvenirs.
Week 4 and end thoughts: The last week was another good week of school and hanging out with friends. We got to strengthen even more relationships with some really cool people in and out of school. On the last morning we got up at sunrise to go surfing in the Indian Ocean. Neither of us had ever surfed so it was tough, but we had a great time trying to get up and catch a wave. The experience was very impactful on both of us and we are so grateful for being given the opportunity to go on such a once in a lifetime experience. To anyone looking into applying for any exchange, we would highly recommend it. Please feel free to talk with either of us about our amazing trip. We would like to thank Mr. Gioia, Mrs. Scholer, and the Warner family for allowing us to represent MBA in Perth.