St. Joeys Australian Exchange- Reece Sweeney McGrath(TY)

St. Joeys College Sydney Exchange

On the 17th of January 2016, Conor O’Brien, Mark Walsh and I met at Dublin airport Terminal 2 to fly off to Australia on exchange. We flew from Dublin to Dubai which took 7 hours and had a 2 hour stop over. While we had our stop over we were exhausted just from our 7 hour flight. We were not ready for the next 14 hour flight that was ahead of us. The fight was long but enjoyable as we had games to play.

We arrived in Sydney Airport at 7:00am. It was almost impossible to stay awake as our bodies were still on Irish time. Mark and Conor were met by their exchanges and their families while I was greeted by Danny Sidgreaves from St. Joseph’s College who is the boarding coordinator at the school.

As it was summer holidays for the Australians I would be going to two host families during the 2 weeks of holidays. Danny and I went to get some lunch in Hunters Hill where Joeys is located. After lunch I got my uniform for school. The uniform was a change from wearing chinos at Glenstal. The uniform consisted of a long sleeved blue shirt, grey pants, the school tie and black shoes. It was annoying to wear as some days were very hot and you had to wear the uniform.

After getting my uniform, sorted Danny dropped me off at my first hosts house. While I was with my first host from Joeys we went and climbed the Sydney Harbour bridge. The view was unbelievable. You could see everything around Sydney from the top including the Opera house and the city itself.

We did many other things too. With my second host family we went swimming in Manly and went to sight seeing. I can’t even count how many things I did during those 2 weeks. They flew by.

On the 1st of February I started school. It was a hectic day as I didn’t know where anything was but I slowly began to find my way around the school over the coming weeks.

Joeys is an incredible school with amazing facilities such as a 50m outdoor swimming pool, cricket pitchesand rugby pitches. I was in year 10 which is the same as 4th year in Ireland. There was 203 students in my year and a total of 1,200 studentsin the school. This was a huge change coming from a school with only just over 200 students. As I was boarding in Joeys I went out with families every weekend. They were all very kind to me and made sure I got a proper Australian experience! It was all amazing and I enjoyed everything I did with them.

The dorms in Joeys were new and very nice. Everyone had their own cubicle with a desk for study, locker and a bed. Instead of using iPads in Joeys they use Mac Books. Every morning we got up at 7:00am and were at breakfast at 7:30 / 7:40. Class usually started at 8:30 and finished at 3:00pm. After school we usually payed touch at the fields or went for a swim. The only down side about Joeys surprisingly was the food! It might sound funny but Glenstal’s food is better!

Aside from the food, Joeys is a great school and they did anything and everything to make my experience one to remember.

The Australian exchange is possibly the best experience I have ever had in Glenstal and I’m sure all the guys who went on the Exchange this year can agree with me.

By Reece Sweeney-McGrath(TY)