Gemma Nicol, Rotary Youth Exchange 2020

G’day! My name is Gemma, I’m 15 years old and I’m an exchange student here in Klaukkala from Australia, sponsored by Discovery Coast Rotary, district 9570. I will be staying in Finland until January 2021. I come from Australia’s East Coast, from a very small town called Lowmead, with a population of just 200 people. The distances between towns in rural Australia is really large too, so to travel to school I have to go 20 minutes by bus and to go to the grocery store is an hour drive. If I needed to go to a city, the nearest is Brisbane, which is a 5 hour drive away on a good day.

My school in Australia has 250 students and they all travel from different rural towns to get to school each day. We have to study at least 8 subjects at school, and a typical school day is from 8:30am to 3:00pm. My favourite subjects at school are English, drama and digital technology. I was also a member of the school band, where I played clarinet and I played on the school soccer team. I really enjoy music and sport.

Unlike in Finland, school in Australia is not free. The high school I went to in Australia was a public school so the school fee was low, between 100 and 500 Australian Dollars a year depending on what subjects you take, but to attend a private school in Australia can cost upwards of 1000AUD a year, sometimes a lot more depending on the quality of the school. We also have to bring our own lunches to school.

I decided to come to Finland on exchange because I became really interested in the culture after meeting some Finnish people in Australia. I’m so excited for this year and I can’t wait to see what the future of my exchange holds!

Best regards,
Gemma Nicol

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