RECONNECTING: Former Danish exchange student Louise Hejlesen and Gladstone Sunrise Rotary Club counsellor Gloria Holmes. Louise now lives in Hong Kong and studies at the United World College.
RECONNECTING: Former Danish exchange student Louise Hejlesen and Gladstone Sunrise Rotary Club counsellor Gloria Holmes. Louise now lives in Hong Kong and studies at the United World College. Mike Richards GLA271218EXCH

Danish exchange student back in Gladstone with fond memories

TWO Gladstone girls are looking forward to spending one year overseas as part of the Rotary Youth Exchange program.

Gladstone State High School graduate Hannah Clifford, sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club, is going to Denmark and is excited to see the sights across Europe.

"They have big camps that we get to go in, there's one at the start, a couple of weeks in ... a week-long camp where we go to meet the other exchange students and do activities."

Closer to the equator Toolooa State High School graduate Lily Furness will be on exchange in Poland, sponsored by the Midday Rotary Club.

"I hope to see different cultures and travel around Europe if I get the chance, and just to live in a different country will be really fun I think," Lily said.

Former program participant Louise Hejlesen from Denmark now revels in the memories of her own rotary youth exchange to Gladstone.

 

Louise Hejlesen recently returned to Gladstone two years after her youth exchange from Denmark. She is now living in Hong Kong and studying at the United World College.
Louise Hejlesen recently returned to Gladstone two years after her youth exchange from Denmark. She is now living in Hong Kong and studying at the United World College. Mike Richards GLA271218EXCH

She is currently visiting her main host family and the many friends she made during her 2016-17 trip, during which she attended Gladstone State High School and was sponsored by the Midday Rotary Club.

"I didn't know anything about Australia except Sydney, which at the time I thought was the capital," Louise said.

"I thought I was going to Sydney but then I got Central Queensland and thought, 'I'm going to stay in the outback and ride kangaroos to school'.

"When I knew I was going to Gladstone I was a bit more calm because I knew it was a bigger city."

Louise remembers being swooped by a magpie while riding her bike home from school.

"That was something which really defined my year here," she said.

"I'm from a culture where we ride our bikes everywhere so ... I was riding my bike to school a couple of times a week and then one day on my way home I got attacked.

"I could see this shadow approaching from behind and suddenly I got hit in the back of the head.

"They're vicious."



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