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Australian Exchange Reports

Australian Exchange Reports
Denis Hooper

Australian Exchange 2019 - Iarlaith Reilly

The Australian Exchange was a trip of a lifetime and I will never forget it. The trip started in Dublin at the end of January,

We flew from Dublin to Dubai airport and then a 14-hour flight to Sydney. We arrived late Thursday night and our exchanges and their families greeted us and took us home.

I was quite jet lagged so I slept in the next morning and went to school during the afternoon. At the school, Central Coast Grammar School everybody was very welcoming and friendly although many people had difficulty with pronouncing my name. I had a meeting with the headmaster Mr.Low in which he welcomed me formally to the school. I then went to Liam my exchange's classes for a week until I choose my own classes. They had a wide variety of subjects and great teachers teaching them. I also received a complimentary CCGS hat.

My host family the Macleods gave me ample time to recover from the jet lag. We landed just before the weekend so there was enough time to recover. The first weekend my host and his family showed me around the area they lived in, Gosford and brought me to the beach. The weekends were mostly like this going places and having amazing experiences like going to two Waratahs rugby games, the Australian reptile park where we saw all the unusual and unique Australian animals such as koala, spiders and kangaroos and much more. I also had cousins in Sydney who I visited twice. They also showed me around Sydney and it was very nice to meet them as you are not in Australia every day! The MacLeod's also showed me Sydney and its beautiful sights. I got an opportunity to go to an Eminem concert in Sydney which was an incredible concert.  They brought me to a farm where I experienced the wilder side of Australia as well which was very enjoyable and they also brought me to Canberra the capital of Australia where I went to the Australian parliament building and the National War Memorial of Australia which was intriguing to me.

During my time in CCGS, as well as going to class I also participated in fun activities such as bush food tasting where I tasted different bush foods and sauces and kangaroo which was very interesting, to say the least. I took part in a excursion to the beach where we collected data for biology class as well as attending a school drama production of the complete works of Shakespeare (abridged) which was very playful and entertaining.  

I made many new friends in Australia. Everybody was very friendly and very interested in hearing all about Ireland and the Irish accent. I obviously spent quite a lot of time on the beach and the landscape of Australia is so beautiful and unique and I was always trying to make myself appreciate more than I was in this amazing place and that it was an experience of a lifetime. I am so grateful to Liam my exchange his family the Macleod’s for everything they did for me and for the great time they showed me I will never forget it and I would 100 per cent recommend this exchange to anyone who has the opportunity to take part in it because it really is the experience of a lifetime.


                                                                                                          Australian Exchange - Robert McNamara

The trip started in Dublin Airport on Wednesday 30th of January and from there we travelled with Emirates via Dubai.We arrived in Sydney early Friday morning and upon arrival we were greeted by our host families. Tom and I were staying with the same family and so we made our way back to our exchange's Hunter Shade is his name.

Tom and I woke early the next morning and got the bus to St Augustines at around 8am. This was a lot earlier then what myself and Tom were accustomed to but it wasn't a problem the first few mornings as we were still recovering from jet lag. When we arrived at the school we were greeted by the Principal and other members of faculty at the front gate. They were very welcoming and directed us towards the uniform shop to get fitted for school poloshirts. We each got two school polos and a hat. After we had all been fitted for poloshirts we made our way towards the the Brimson Centre which is a hall that they use for sports and assemblies. Every week the school has a large assembly and this assembly was taking place the morning we arrived. We were then introduced to the school and received a very warm welcome. After the Assembly each of us shadowed our exchanges in his chosen classes.

As we arrived on a Friday we had the weekend almost immediately. Our host family brought us sightseeing on the Saturday to places such as the North Head which is an old military watch out that was used during World War 2. Our host Family also brought Tom and I to the Reptile Park in the Central Coast on Sunday where we got to see a lot of native species to Australia including snakes, lizards and kangaroos. This was typical of what our weekends comprised of. We also got the chance to go to two of the Waratahs rugby games and go to Bondi Beach amongst other things. Over the 6 weeks with our host exchange partners, these excursions were very enjoyable and gave me a great insight into Australian culture and landmarks.

Myself along with seven other of the Glenstal lads attended St Augustine's College for the six weeks. This entailed shadowing our exchange partners in each of their chosen classes. So for example I attended classes such as Religion, Geography, Maths and English one of the most interesting things I learnt about was “Dreamtime” which is the Aboriginal people's of Australia understanding of the world. Overall it was a very interesting experience to see how the Australian school system worked and the similarities that both the Irish and Australian school systems share. The school also brought us on trips such as trips to the Zoo, the blue Mountains and to Sydney City. These trips were very enjoyable

Overall the trip to Australia was a trip of a lifetime and it was great to be immersed in Australian culture for six weeks and it is something that i'll remember forever.


                                                                                                                       Australian Exchange by Tom Rooney

Our journey began in Terminal 2, Dublin Airport and came to an end following an enduring 21 hours travelling by air to our destination, Kingsford Smith Airport, Sydney, Australia. Once we had finally made it out of security, our host families then picked us up from arrivals and brought us to what would be our new homes for the foreseeable future.

The next day, all of us Glenstal exchange students were reunited outside of the uniform office at St. Augustine’s School, where we would be attending for the next 6 weeks. Following diligent work in fitting and measuring, the uniform staff had us all dressed up in our new school kit. A passerby would have thought we were a group of oversized junior infants on our way to our first day of school. For our first day of class we were made to feel very welcome by staff and students alike. The classes were similar to what we are used to in Glenstal. A lot of the students came up to us and ask if we we knew Conor McGregor. Obviously we would always answer yes, sometimes saying how one of us was in fact related to Conor McGregor.

 Apart from when we were in class, the school made an effort to bring us on activities such as going to the Blue Mountains, Surfing in Manly Beach, Taronga Zoo and other things. We could often be found down at Manly Beach on the weekends or after school. My exchange family also brought us up to Palm Beach, to Bondi and also to various Waratah Rugby Matches. Seeing the different parts of Sydney and trying new things was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

Luckily, all of us were hosted by very hospitable and capable host families who made us all feel welcome and even part of their families for our entire stay with them. We are all very grateful for how they treated us and we would happily return the favour again.

The trip to Australia was a fantastic and eye-opening experience that all of us made they most of and will remember for the rest of our lives.


                                                                                                                         Australian Exchange by Ted Collins

I arrived in Australia on the 1st of February feeling jet lagged but excited about my adventures in Sydney. I started the next day in St.Augustine's. I received a warm welcome from all the students and teachers from St.Augustine's. We had a morning assembly where we chanted the Australian national anthem and we had to stand up in front of the school and just wave.

We attend all of the classes with our exchanges which could be drama or legal studies or many other interesting classes.  After school I would go train at the local track or go to the beach and go surfing or do some snorkeling with stingrays and some turtles which was quite the experience. During my first week in Australia I had been bitten by a spider and been stung by a jellyfish which was a story for back home. At the weekend we went on the boat up to palm beach and then hung out at the beach at Manly.

St.Augutine's brought all the Glenstal boys up to the Blue Mountains National Park where we saw some spectacular views of the valley. We then visited the local town of Katoomba which has a 70’s kind of look.

At the weekend my exchange Levi Perry took me on the ferry from Manly to the city where we saw the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and then went to the Sydney Kings basketball game. To my surprise, the standard of basketball  was very high.

The school took us to the Taronga Zoo where we saw some koalas and some emos and we went to the Seal show which had lots of talent.

Then the school took us to Bondi Junction which is huge mall with lovely shops. We then went swimming at Bondi Beach where some of the boys got stung by bluebottle jelly fish.

At the weekend I went to the beach house 3 hours south with Levi Perry and his family where I saw the most beautiful beaches in my life. Sometimes they had no people on them and had the clearest water I have ever seen on a beach. I spent most of the weekend surfing and playing cricket on the beach.

During my last weekend I went to Luna Park which is a famous fun fair ground where we spent most of our last weekend. Then I sadly had to pack my bags for Ireland.

Overall I really enjoyed my trip to Australia and I highly recommend the Exchange.


                                                                                                                              Australia Exchange 2019 – Charlie McCartan

The Australia Exchange began on the thirty-first of January. I flew from Christchurch to Sydney because I had been on holidays in New Zealand with my family. The other Irish boys flew in from Dublin at a later time. Our exchange students and their families greeted us at the airport and took us home. They were very welcoming and made me feel right at home. Their house was situated only a thirty-second walk from Manly Beach, which was voted best beach in Australia three years in a row.

 We arrived into school the next morning and met the other boys to receive our uniforms at the reception office. There was a weekly Friday assembly taking place where the principal welcomed us to their school. We went to class as normal with our exchange partners for the duration of the trip . I found that school was a bit different to back home. The day consisted of six one-hour classes and different subjects they offered included legal studies, drama and Chinese. I found all the teachers and students very friendly to us and very interested in Ireland and our accents. I generally found everyone to be nice in Australia and not too different to Ireland. The clothes they wore were more suited to the climate there. They wore brighter colours and lighter clothes. Rugby was the biggest sport over there, similar to here with Basketball a close second. Other popular sports included Athletics Soccer and Water Polo. I also found that they ate a lot of seafood. Seeing Sydney is situated near the sea the seafood was always very fresh.

 We went on many sightseeing trips with the school including to The Blue Mountains, Taronga Zoo, the city and Bondi Beach. My exchange family also took me around to Palm Beach, Warringah Mall and Wet and Wild waterpark. I met up with the other Glenstal boys on the weekends and we went to the beaches or snorkelling together.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and think it is a great opportunity for students of our age to experience a completely different environment and culture at such a young age. I am very grateful to everyone involved in organising the trip for giving us all such a brilliant opportunity.


                                                                                                                                 Australian Exchange - Ben McCartan

I had an amazing time on my Australian exchange. I got to see many famous landmarks such as the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. I also got to see Bondi Beach and Palm Beach where Home and Away is filmed. I also got the opportunity to see Coolmore Australia. It was the trip of a lifetime.

I was living in North Avalon about two minutes away from Palm Beach. The host family were extremely friendly and welcoming. The staff and students in St. Augustines were also incredibly welcoming. I sometimes went into the beautiful town of Manly after school and went to the beach there or into the shops. On the first weekend my family brought me out to a wildlife park where i got to see many iconic Australian animals such as kangaroos, koalas and many more. It was amazing. I also went out on some boat trips in the Pittwater and went to some Waratahs rugby games. I also went into Sydney quite a few times and went up the Westfield Tower where there were amazing panoramic views of the beautiful city. I also went to Taronga Zoo which was very interesting.

My Australian exchange was absolutely amazing and one i will never forget. I loved the lifestyle there and living by the beach. I think I will return there when I am older as it was an absolutely amazing experience.


                                                                                                                                    Australian Exchange - Ivor Larkin

We started off on a snowy winter morning, nearly missing the flight, I got to the airport and checked in my bag. We got to the gate and boarded our first flight which was 8 hours to Dubai. We had to rush through Dubai to catch our second 14 hour flight.

Once we got to Sydney our family’s were waiting for us. It was late and we had school the next day so we got to bed as soon as possible.

We were introduced at assembly in school the next day and we were given a uniform and class timetables. School lasted from 9-3:20. After school, myself and my exchange Liam would usually go surfing or spearfishing.

At the weekends we did all sorts of things. My host family took me on the Sydney Opera House tour and we went to a water park as well. On a Saturday we would usually meet up with the rest of the Irish lads at Manly Beach. There are lots of places to eat and swim there.

Every Thursday we would go on a trip with the school. We went to Bondi Beach, the Blue Mountains, the zoo and we often went surfing.

Overall it was a brilliant trip and I would go back there as soon as I can.


                                                                                                                                           Trip to Australia – Lukasz Niscior

Our journey began in Dublin Airport, ready to say goodbye to our parents and fly across the world to Australia.

Weeks before we had only dreamed of ever getting the chance to fly there. Eight of us soared off into the sky to endure an anticipated twenty three hour flight journey. We landed in Sydney airport on the last day of January.

Myself and Bryan were placed in St Josephs College in Hunters Hill, Sydney. Seven other lads were in St. Augustine’s College Sydney and one other in Central Coast Grammar School in Gosford (Hour north of Sydney).

St Joeys School took some time to get used to as it is far larger than Glenstal and the rules are different but I had heard about the school from past Gap’s from Joey’s so we weren’t too surprised when we got there.

The next morning Fr. Denis and I went to visit famous sites in Sydney including: The Opera House, Harbour Bridge and the CBD. I took many photos and admired the design of the Opera House as a ball. We also went on the ferry across the harbour, stopping off at each stop. I visited Darling Harbour as well. There was a great waterside walk, restaurants and a very vibrant atmosphere.

In Sydney I was never to far from the beaches. The coast is lined with several beaches and sunbathing in the sun was amazing. I learnt a lot about the culture of the school and got to make new friends and memorable moments. The classes were very interesting and I covered new material. On the weekends I stayed with a good friend of my parents who took me out west, to the beaches and I even did the Bold and Beautiful swim.

My trip to Australia overall is be one I will never forget and I hope others get the same opportunity I did to go to Australia.