Goulburn Valley Grammar School hosts international students

By Morgan Dyer

Scottish and Italian exchange students have found life in Shepparton ‘‘different in every way’’.

The five exchange students have been living with host families in Shepparton for the past three weeks, while attending Goulburn Valley Grammar School.

The annual exchange also gives Shepparton students the chance to visit the same students in their homes and school in Scotland and Italy.

Deputy principal Leon McLeod said the school has developed strong relationships with schools in England, Scotland, Italy and Toronto.

‘‘Students get the opportunity to select a school they would prefer to go to and then we make contact, then they have students who apply for the same program,’’ he said.

‘‘We find common interests in their applications and that’s how we pair the families.

‘‘We roughly send nearly a dozen students internationally each year through the program.’’

Three of the Year 11 students are from Glasgow in Scotland and two from Florence in Italy.

The students enjoyed the country feel of the town and had found Shepparton a very peaceful place to live.

Scottish student Megan Baillie said the exchange program appealed to her because she always wanted to come to Australia.

‘‘If I did come here on a holiday with my family I wouldn’t of have got the same experience that I have, actually living here with another family,’’ she said.

The school has run the program for years as it gives students a variety of learning and life opportunities, including independence and new education skills.

Mr McLeod said the Australian and international students had the chance to reflect and make comparisons on their education program and bring new ideas to their schools.

‘‘This is part of a package of opportunities they have . . . it’s about developing that independence for the future,’’ he said.

‘‘They gain a lot of confidence in their own skills and their ability to resolve problems that may arise.’’

The students only have one week left in Australia and have ticked Sydney Harbour off the ‘to-do’ list, but have not yet tried Vegemite on toast.