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Collapse Issue 488 - 17 Feb 2020Issue 488 - 17 Feb 2020
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Power cut, roads closed and trains cancelled after storm
Southern Spirit women's captain out for four weeks
School sets up phone charging station
Water restrictions imposed after big rain
Pearl Beach residents trapped in street after storm
Community group asks residents to complete survey
Killcare residents query support for phone tower
Council grants $7500 to Peninsula projects
Australia Day festivities attract 10,000 to Woy Woy
Marquart calls Wallarah decision 'environment crap'
CWA branch submits plans for Umina hall
Hazardous chemical disposal
Clydesdales visit child care centre
Dancers for Chinese New Year
Joy celebrates 101 years
Opera in the Arboretum returns for 15th year
Exchange student tells of experience in Austria
Rotary club celebrates 44th year
Events held in lead-up to International Women's Day
Stall provides information about guide dogs
Smiles on Dials for disabled surfers
Roles for volunteers at Bays Fair
Float planned for Mardi Gras
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Extend tidy town spirit indefinitely
We call ourselves civilised
Council issues order to remove native ground cover
Peninsula has 1000 water bores
Train disruptions becoming more frequent
Collapse  HEALTH HEALTH
Panel discussion about autism spectrum disorder
Heart health promoted on Valentine's Day
Surgeons complete breast operation
Auto-immune disease attacked brain cells
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Dancing by the Water series starts at Lions Park
All-round entertainer at folk club
Author talk in Woy Woy
Pearl Beach literary lunch attracts 100
Collapse  EDUCATION EDUCATION
Debbie Ritchie nominated for State association award
Students urged to apply for performing arts program
Guessing competition for injured wildlife
School to hold Teddy Bears' Picnic
Students attend anti-bullying show
Ettalong students succeed at swimming carnival
Woy Woy students selected
Swimming carnival at leisure centre
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Golf course affected by flood and storm damage
Swans offer opportunity to try Aussie Rules
Ettalong women take out Summer League
Tahlia to compete in Para World Swimming Cup
Former Ettalong player named in Australian bowls team
Boxer defends unbeaten record
Local rugby league players make NRL Rookies list
Vacancies in netball and boxing

Exchange student tells of experience in Austria

The Rotary Club of Umina Beach exchange student Beau Seal has spoken to the club about his experience abroad at the club's 44th anniversary celebration earlier this month.

Beau spent a year in Austria as part of his exchange returning in time for the start of the new school year at Brisbane Water Secondary College Woy Woy Campus.

"One year in Austria: It's such a weird concept to grasp.

"I look back at the year and think about my experiences and how crazy that would be for most people to do.

"Leave my friends, family, school, my home; and move to a foreign country, not speaking a word of the national language, attending school and pretty much starting the majority of my life from day one.

"But no matter how insane it was to leave everything behind and start again, there was not one second that I regretted it," Beau said.

"I made the most of every day, every experience and did my exchange the way I was supposed to do it.

"I learnt German.

"I met some of the best friends I could possibly meet.

"I rode a bike 500km, from Austria to Italy through the mountains.

"I snowboarded like every day was my last.

"I made mistakes and learnt from them.

"I lived with different families with different cultures and integrated those rules and notions into my everyday life.

"I got the chance to travel Europe, and to see things I'd never thought I'd see at 15-years-old.

"This experience stacked the blocks to start building towards my adult life.

"It pushed me towards the paths I want to take once I restart in Australia.

"It pushed me out of comfort zones, threw me in the deep end and told me to start swimming or I would drown real fast," he said.

Beau said leaving Austria was harder then it was to leave Australia, after his year of self-discovery and personal growth.

"To leave was one of the saddest things I've done to date.

"Austria has become another home to me, and I will go back one day," Beau said.

Beau's mother Ms Paula Hayes said more parents should consider a Rotary Youth Exchange.

"The truth is it benefits them for as long as they live," Ms Hayes said.

"The changes and experiences that Beau has made and had over one year are changes and experiences that most of us would make over a lifetime and even then, some of us will not get to experience these opportunities.

"Beau has: learnt to speak German, travelled across nine European countries, visited relatives never before met, experienced seven different cultures, expanded his world views and just generally become a much more mature and grounded young man.

"Since returning to Australia four weeks ago, Beau has obtained his driver's licence, applied for and been accepted for two jobs, started Year 11 and is working hard towards his goal of studying medicine.

"I've found some challenges with parenting, mainly because he left a 15-year-old boy and has come home with the maturity of a 20-year-old man.

"Beau is still Beau but has views and beliefs that a significantly different to when he left.

"He knows exactly who he is, something that is extraordinary for a 16-year-old boy," Ms Hayes said.

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