A teenage girl from Norway is enjoying the chance to live in Australia for year, and assimilate into the culture and language of our country, thanks to the Rotary Youth Exchange.
Frida Skiaker, aged 17, is from the small town of Hadeland, an hour from the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Her grandfather is a Rotarian and so is a family friend. Frida says she always wanted to go on an exchange and she was interviewed by Rotary and got on the program.
Rotary Youth Exchange provides thousands of young people with the opportunity to experience people and other cultures and promote international understanding and peace.
Its purpose is to build bridges of friendship and understanding among people of the world. We accomplish this by providing opportunities for high school students to live for a year in a foreign country and learn to assimilate into the country’s culture and language.
Frida has two sisters, one aged 20, the other 15, and lives on a farm with her Mum and Dad, a dog and two cats.
Her father is a building engineer and her mother works in information technology.
She arrived in Wauchope on July 19, and is currently staying with Rotarian Loris Hendy.
“I love it here,” said Frida, who speaks very good English.
“It’s not too big but not too small either, not too far inland. I can drive 20 minutes from the beach and the city in Port Macquarie to this town with its farms and fields and acres,” she said.
Frida says she hasn’t had time to miss home, and she is enjoying studying at St Joseph’s Regional College.
“I’m having a great time. It’s a really nice school, with nice teachers and students. I think everyone in my year said hello to me in the first few weeks and I’ve already made a few friends,” she said.
Her action-packed time here has already included dinners out and Rotary meetings, swimming, meeting other Rotary Exchange students, going for hikes and walks and lots of runs in Bonny Hills.
Frida is looking forward to trips around Australia during her year here. Destinations include Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and the Gold Coast.
On her bucket list is learning how to surf.
Rotarians will bring Frida to Arnhem Land and Tiwi Island.
“The exchange program is designed to give kids an experience in another country,” explained Loris.
“Rotary makes sure that the students are safe while they are here, and that they have a good time.”