BSSC Year 12 Norwegian exchange student, Luna Garnasjordet, is almost as far from home as she can be.
Inspired by her mum who was also an exchange student, Luna swapped the familiarity of her life in Oslo, Norway, for a year in Australia.
“It sounded like so much fun,” she says. “And saying good-bye to my family and friends was not as hard as I thought it would be.”
Luna was able to select the country she wanted to visit and to give a preference for an area. She chose Victoria because the climate was more temperate than Australia’s northern regions and found herself on her way to Bendigo and BSSC.
Now, with only a couple of weeks remaining before she flies home, Luna’s reflections on her time in Oz are all positive.
“There are so many differences between Norway and Australia,” she says. “The biggest impact on me was the climate—that there was night during summer and plenty of sunlight even in the middle of winter.”
Norway’s weather sees mid-summer with virtually 24-hour sunshine and mid-winter sometimes leaving Luna realising she has barely been outside for five days at a time.
The other stand-out difference has been the very laid-back attitude of Australians.
“It’s really good!” she said. “I think Norwegians could learn to be a little more laid-back.”
Australia’s animals, especially kangaroos, have delighted her.
Exchange students stay with host families and Luna has lived with four different host families during her time here. This has given her a close-up experience of Australian family life.
Bendigo has suited her well—smaller than Oslo and easy to get around, but with Melbourne just a short train ride away.
BSSC has proven to be more similar to her school in Norway than she expected.
“What is really different is the number of subjects on offer here,” she explains. “We have ten subjects and seven of them are mandatory. You can only choose three of your subjects.
“When I received the list of choices at BSSC I couldn’t believe it!”
Luna’s family enjoy hiking in summer—although she says the constant sunshine when you’re trying to sleep in a tent can be very disruptive. She will arrive home during the summer holidays before beginning her final year of school in mid-August.
Luna is still to decide on a career path, but she has a real interest in science. She is also hoping that she can undertake her university course abroad—certain evidence that Luna’s exchange experience has been a life-changing one.