Two students from St John the Evangelist High School, Olivia Williams and Ellen Boardman, were sponsored by Rotary to participate in two of the many programmes that Rotary offers local youth each year.
Olivia was selected as a Rotary International Exchange Student and Ellen was selected to attend the National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) in Canberra in January this year.
Both students, now returned from their adventures, shared their wonderful experiences with Rotarians and guests at a recent Rotary Nowra (New South Wales, Australia – D 9710) dinner meeting.
Olivia was selected by the Rotary e-Club of Brindabella in 2017 as an international exchange student and went to Austria for 12 months.
Her host club there was the Rotary Club of Ausseerland in Bad Aussee, which is one-and-a-half hours east of Saltzberg.
The town has 5,000 citizens and is home to the Narzissen, which is a kind of daffodil that has its own festival at which they make the flowers into figures and parade them through the streets of the town.
Olivia stayed with two host families during her stay.
Her first host parents were a doctor and a bookstore owner and she was able to visit her host sister in Switzerland.
The second hosts were a pharmacist and a kindergarten teacher.
Olivia enthusiastically recalled her exciting times visiting Switzerland, Prague, a sobering visit to Auschwitz and going to an action-packed Oktoberfest.
However, the highlight of her year was the Euro tour where she travelled to France, Monaco, Italy, Croatia and Vatican City.
Olivia said she had learned budgeting skills with her modest allowance and to be self-dependent and also had gained the ability to read European train timetables.
Olivia’s mum, Amy, said that Olivia had found herself and came home a very different person from when she left.
Ellen, who was selected by the former Rotary Club of South Nowra (NYSF) is a self-confessed rock ‘nerd’, studying ecology and environmental science and learning geoscience and critical thinking.
She enthusiastically, told her audience that at NYSF she was allowed to play with equipment worth millions of dollars.
One laboratory, known as ‘The Shrimp’, was where the radioactive dating of rocks took place.
One rock, called ‘Bended Iron’, had evidence of the first ever life form.
It’s the oldest rock in the world and Ellen got to hold it.
Ellen said they also studied ecology in stormwater dams to find the algal content in the water.
She told the gathering that 57 per cent of her group, ‘Carson’ were females and they visited Questacon and CSIRO.
On the last night, they went to a very special dinner at the National Museum of Australia and their speaker was Professor Ian Chubb.
These young women captivated their audience with their inspirational and motivational presentations with well-prepared slideshows.
Source: South Coast Register