A winning ticket to Sweden for high school student Ysabel
For Ysabel, a local high school student from W.A., going to live and learn half way across the world on a Student Exchange program was not something that she had ever entertained the thought of. “I had never considered Student Exchange until one day mum said, here’s an opportunity, let’s do it!” says Ysabel.
Ysabel’s mother, Lisa, had heard of Southern Cross Cultural Exchange’s Student Scholarships through her sister, and with Ysabel’s father involved in the W.A. Police Force, Ysabel applied for the Community “Police” Scholarship. Ysabel admits that at first the thought of exchange was scary, and “I definitely had mixed thoughts and some doubts about living and studying in another country”. However, with the support and encouragement of her family, Ysabel applied and before she knew it, she was calling Sweden ‘home’.
While experiencing a white Christmas, a new school and Swedish food were all highlights, Ysabel expresses that making friends, enjoying the beautiful views and the snow, and developing a relationship with her host family were all very special. “I had never seen snow before this, and now I can ski! I was also surprised at how close I became to my host family. I still talk to my host sister every day! I have made lifelong friends and we are already planning our next catch up!” says Ysabel.
“Exchange has also given me so much confidence and independence. I now have the courage to overcome my fears and step outside of my comfort zone. I experienced challenges, especially at the beginning, however it was so worth it. I have learnt so much about my life and the things that are important to me. It has confirmed for me that I want to work with people in the future, and I am going to pursue my interest in Social Work as a career. I am now also inspired to see the world. Visiting France is next on my list!”
Lisa says she was often asked “How did you let her go?”, but Lisa was more than encouraging and says “My sisters and I all had travel experiences during our education, and it was wonderful. We also hosted exchange students growing up.”
“Exchange has given Ysabel a chance to see life in a new light, it’s a once in a life time thing and it really changes you. Exchange has given her gifts she will have forever. It has renewed her focus, made her believe in herself, it has extended and pushed her, and most importantly opened her eyes to opportunity and all the possibilities she has.”
Lisa and Ysabel both agree that “At the beginning 3 months felt like a long time, however Ysabel could have stayed longer, leaving Sweden was hard, and we now have a family there too!”
To find out more about Student Exchange Scholarships visit www.scce.com.au/scholarships or call 1800 500 501. Southern Cross Cultural Exchange is proud to offer the Community Police Scholarship again in 2017, and applications are open to Year 9/10 Students with family members involved in the Australian Police Force.