After meeting our host families at the Hobart airport following 28 hours of layovers and flights, Bradford Holladay and I, Patrick Butner, parted ways and dove into the culture of Tasmania. Over the course of 3 weeks, we ventured across the Southeastern portion of Tasmania. From viewing the city at night from 1200 meters atop Mt. Wellington to hunting wallabies at a friend’s farm, we can truly say what an amazing experience it was. We would like to thank MBA and the Warner Family for allowing us to participate in this incredible exchange.
Our families gave us a home-away-from-home environment with the hospitality and generosity they showed us. Experiencing a different culture gave us a broadened worldview and resulted in many discussions about the differences between our Southern way of life and Tasmania’s culture. Political discussions were a prevalent topic with not only the students, but also our host families. It was interesting to hear their perspective on world affairs and opened my eyes to what viewpoints we shared and disagreed on. They were interested to hear how our day to day lives differed from theirs. Tea-time was a daily ritual in the Ireland household, which incorporated crackers (‘biscuits’) and cheese.
The Irelands owned a farm house where they grew vegetables, kiwis, and lemons and raised cows. Overlooking the Derwent River, the view was spectacular. Winding over a hundred kilometers to their farm house in Cygnet, the Derwent was still wide enough to allow sailboats to sail along it. The activities we participated in were very fun. We kayaked along the Derwent, saw Russell Falls, hiked (bush walked) up Mt. Field to waist-deep snow, looked-out over the city from the Tasman Bridge, took photos atop Mt. Wellington on numerous occasions, participated in The Hutchins School’s classes, rode dirtbikes along the trails of a mountain, hunted wallabies, toured vineyards, saw the oldest church and oldest bridge in all of Australia, took a speedboat tour of the cliff faces in the Southern Ocean, toured convict built Port Arthur, attended the local market called Salamanca (similar to Nashville’s Flea Market, but occurs every week), and toured the city.
Every day during the week, we attended The Hutchins School which is an all boys, Anglican school in Hobart that had many similarities and differences to MBA. The all boys environment felt very familiar to that of MBA, but the atmosphere was completely different, with a boarding school and a mandatory religious component. Getting to see the exotic wildlife in the surrounding area and taking classes on the school’s water campus were the most memorable parts of the trip for us. While the class styles were of similar size and had similar teaching styles as MBA, the classes and the schedules were different. The school operates on a block schedule, meaning the classes are twice as long as the ones at MBA. Some of the classes were different as well. We took psychology, outdoor education, marine science, and sports science classes that are not offered at MBA. It was a beneficial experience to not only attend a school on the other side of the globe while comparing it to our own education system, but also to take classes that we otherwise would have never had the opportunity to study.
We also got to participate in various school traditions. We attended the Hutchins School anniversary ceremony which was a fun break during the school day to eat cake and sausages, while visiting an old cathedral in the heart of Hobart. We also attended weekly chapels during breaks, which was a unique, strictly religious environment and a much more defined religious community than that of MBA. We also both participated in the school Athletics Carnival, which was an entire school day filled with track events, similar to a field day. We would like to reiterate our thanks to MBA and the Warner Family for this exchange.