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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Danielle - Australia Exchange Student - Summer Program Alumnus


In six weeks, Danielle would experience all Australia has to offer, including its people, culture, landscapes, history, and wildlife, but most importantly, her host family. Most importantly, 16-year-old Danielle learned a lot about herself. Here is what Danielle wrote about her experience:

I never imagined when I completed the Bard/YFU scholarship application that I would have the opportunity to experience a trip most people only dream about. A six-week trip to experience all Australia has to offer, including the people, the culture, the landscapes, the history, the wildlife but most importantly, the family I was placed with. Who would have thought that I would travel to Australia, on my own, and live with a family that I have never met, especially at the age of 16? I experienced so many different things during my six-week stay. I was also able to learn a lot about myself and grow as a person. For one, I never would have thought that I would be so comfortable meeting new people and living with them without members of my family around to support me. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime. I hope many young people will be able to experience it for themselves.

Looking back on my trip to Australia, I realized that I became more independent. I also realized as a result of this trip that I could get along with others regardless of differences and could deal with any situation. For example, I went through a tough situation with the other exchange student staying with my host family. After a few days of being away from each other, we settled our differences and made the rest of the trip awesome. I realize now that I can handle myself in any situation. For example, I had no problem negotiating the public transportation systems in Australia or dealing with flight changes while in route to both Australia and home again. I can fly by myself and feel confident in doing so. Although, I was pretty independent before this experience, I now realize that there is so much I can do and will do.

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