I have always had a soul for travel, whether it be daydreaming myself exploring the dense Amazon Forest, or more simply never leaving a family camping trip up the coast. To me, travel has always been something on my mind, so when the opportunity of doing an exchange program arose, I knew I had to take it!

Previously, I had only been overseas once which was to Nouméa, New Caledonia with my French class in 2014. This was a very exciting experience for me but was also quite nerve-racking, as I was so far away from my family and it was my first time being on a plane. Needless to say, I absolutely loved it!

You see, in high school the majority of students decide to do something ‘fun’ like dance or art or drama – but not me. I wanted to do something that I hoped would become useful and open endless horizons. I wanted to learn a language.

Learning French has been one of the best choices I have ever made. It has made me realise that while learning another language, you learn more English than in English class. I also think it’s amazing to learn other cultures along with the differences and similarities there are between the two languages.

With the school I attend, there is an annual year 11 Switzerland exchange program. After falling in love with learning French and after hearing all the wonderful stories about it since year 8, I knew I had to do it. It did take a bit of convincing for my parents (at least 5 months), but we decided that if I worked hard to save for my trip, I could go.

Doing the Swiss exchange was the best thing I have ever done! I tried new things like snowboarding, fondue (ew!) and experiencing the best chocolate in the entire universe! I  made so many friendships and am now familiar with a different culture. Being on my own, without my friends and family for 2 months, it made me learn a lot more about myself. My French has dramatically improved too. So, if you ever have the chance to learn a language or do an exchange program, DO IT!