Farewell to the Land Down Under

by Bailee Weisz and Nathan Wong

Temple City/ Australia

Final week. It’s hard to believe that our trip is coming to an end.  This month has been nothing short of amazing. From going on a jet boat ride through Sydney Harbor, to running through the white sand beach of Coogee in the rain, this trip has brought memories that will always be near and dear to our hearts.  The last seven days have been jam-packed with last-minute trips to Coles for food to bring home and spending just a little bit more quality time with our host families.
The week’s festivities kicked off on Thursday and included a trip to a local primary school where we made Lamingtons and played a friendly game of Oz tag with the kids during recess.  We then had a sausage sizzle with our fellow exchange students from Japan and headed to ten pin bowling.
Friday was another school day where we learned about Australian geography and its role from a global perspective. It was eye opening to see how another country sees the United States and the impact of events happening at home.  Friday night brought out our cowboy boots and flannies as we do-si-doed to traditional Australian music.  It was a night of laughter, new friends, and an overall good time.
Our last weekend was time for us to spend alongside our host families and each other.  Some of the girls, including Bailee Weisz, Sarah Tomason, and Amber Allred, spent Saturday at a family farm in Merriwa.  They went yabbying, spotlighting for animals, and had dinner around a roaring bonfire.  I, Nathan Wong, went mountain biking in nearby Hornsby.  The track included winding boardwalks, moguls, and steep cliffs, all of which led to many crashes and collisions.  Our weekend ended with a VIP trip to a live taping of the X Factor television show.  Thanks to Nathan’s host family, we were lucky to take a front row seat to witness some of Australia’s singing talent. Nonetheless, Australia has been very good to us and we are sad to leave.
Participating in this exchange program has made us grow as individuals and mature in the way we go about our daily lives. We have learned that love exists in all forms; for a home, an adopted family, and for friends we make along the way. It is the connection with the different people that we will miss the most, and is something that we will not take for granted once back home.

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