For the past several weeks, SMUS has had a little extra international flavour as three Australian students have been attending classes, participating in sports and enjoying the city of Victoria.
“I definitely like the school,” says Nick, who came from Trinity Grammar School in Kew, Australia. His fellow exchange students, Anna and Alice, came from its sister school, Ruyton Girls’ School. “Everyone’s really friendly,” says Alice. While they found the classes similar to their independent schools back home, there were a few things to adjust to.
“It’s different because band and choir here are classes,” says Anna, who plays the oboe. Nick, who spent some time on the rugby team, was impressed with the skills of the players. “My grade has a really good team,” he says. “At home, we train twice a week, but they train every day.”
The three 16-year-olds also enjoyed a bit of culture shock in a new country, including a difficulty understanding their teachers’ accents and a few smaller things. “I was so excited when I saw a yellow school bus,” says Anna. The girls also took in their first Canadian Thanksgiving in scenic Whistler, while Nick travelled to nearby Seattle for his holiday.
In preparation for their send-off, the International Council declared last Thursday Australia Day. Many students added some green and gold to their uniforms, the national colours of their new friends, and participated in a sack race. Perhaps the most successful part of the day was the bake sale, featuring traditional Australian treats Anzac biscuits and lamingtons, which are special chocolate cakes. Since Anna and Alice were on the International Council during their stay, they did a lot of the baking themselves.
“I’m sad to leave, but excited to go back home,” says Alice. In Monday’s assembly, the departing guests were serenaded by the choir with “Waltzing Matilda,” which nearly became their national anthem in 1974. They also received gifts from their hosts Clare Hendriks, Emily Mulroney and Andy Erasmus, who will be going to Australia in March.