Timmy Wong – Scotch College, Australia
Timmy Wong says Farewell to Perth
Having just arrived back from exchange in Australia, I can say how great an experience it was. Early last year, I was unsure whether I wanted to go on exchange. Looking back now, I can’t imagine not having gone through this amazing experience. From exploring forests to walking though cities, I was always having a good time. Even though Australia is mostly a desert, the coast was full of vibrant beauty and really allowed me to appreciate my surroundings. Every part of the city and its surrounding suburbs had a different feel and character that made the places feel very unique.
In Perth, all of the people are incredibly nice and warmhearted. Everywhere we went we were able to make new friends and form new bonds. People were always looking to have a good time and meet new people. Students from not only my exchange school, Scotch College, but others as well, were always very welcoming to me as well as to the other exchanges. On exchange, the connections that you make become even more precious because you know that it could be a long time before you see them again. I found time to be even more valuable while in Australia and had to make sure that I made the most of it.
Before leaving for exchange, I thought that the most difficult part was going to be adjusting to a new way of living and getting to know people. I could not have been more wrong, as people were so welcoming that it became easy to make new friends. The hardest part was definitely saying goodbye. Even though I only knew these amazing people for six weeks, I found it incredibly difficult to leave. The bonds and friendships that are created through exchange can last a lifetime, and I found myself attached not only to the people, but to Perth as well. Exchange gives you a perspective on a different part of the world. I discovered that everywhere and everyone is amazing in their own way.
Timmy Wong Arrives in Perth
I have been living in Perth, Australia for the last 3 weeks and it has been amazing. Compared to America, everything is different, whether it be the food, the wildlife, or how students my age interact with each other. My first week in Perth was during the holidays for Scotch College, the school that I would be attending. That week my exchange, Mitchell Smith, and I, got to relax and hang out around Perth and with a group of friends. Although I found the actual city of Perth to be quite small, it is surrounded by suburbs that each have its own feel and identity. I really enjoyed exploring the area, as there was such a large difference between each suburb. Later that week, we travelled about three hours south to an area known as Margaret River, where we stayed in a house with some other families. While there, we got to explore the forest and river, relax, and play Australian Football, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Life at Scotch College is very different from Athenian in many ways. Some of the more instantly recognizable differences is that it is an all-boys school and everyone has to wear a uniform. Although I found wearing the uniform uncomfortable at first, I have grown used to it. The only problem is changing for PE and then changing back into the uniform. The school is also much more formal in that all of the students have to address the teachers by either “ma’am” or “sir.” This felt a little awkward to me at first as it felt almost too formal. Another major difference is that students are not allowed to wear backpacks during the school day, so everyone leaves their backpacks in their locker and carriers around their school supplies in their arms. I found this very interesting, as I did not seem the most efficient to me, although now I am quite used to that idea. However, one of the hardest parts to get used to was marching. Every Friday, students have to march with their House in order to earn points for the House reward every year. Although marching sounds simple, it is actually very difficult to stay in time and not mess up.
The social aspect of living in Perth is also very different than the Danville area. Most of the schools in Perth are private and have only one gender. Because of this, everyone seems to know people from tons of different schools and people are always hanging out with students from separate schools. Since so many people know each other, students are always going to parties or dances on weekends with students from up to 5 or 6 different schools, so it is very easy to meet new people. Perth also has a great transportation system that can get you anywhere in any suburb through buses and trains. Since everyone uses this, I often end up seeing the same people on the train after school and have gotten to know some of them very well.
Overall, I am definitely enjoying my stay here in Perth and am excited for the rest of my exchange!