Testimonial - Ashlee Morgan

My name is Ashlee Morgan from Kunnunara in Western Australia. 

My exchange to New Zealand was adventurous, exhilarating, and mind- blowing. 12 weeks of staying in a new home, with a new family, and a welcoming new lifestyle. A family that takes you in generously, a family that impacts your experience exceedingly, a family that was at first, names on a piece of paper. 

What could you be thinking? What are your expectations? Whatever thoughts are in your mind about your future exchange, forget about it. Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, but it is everything you wanted it to be.

My experiences were breathtaking. I did an 87km canoe trip down the Wanganui River during which I happened to capsize down a rapid that left me absolutely freezing. Adjusting to the temperature in New Zealand first hit me, going from singlet and shorts at home, to thermal clothing, ugg boots and beanies.

Believe it or not, the days I spent at school during the exchange are what I will cherish most. A different uniform, teachers, students, environment and classes. I will never forget the friends I made, nor will I forget when they laughed at my accent. I will always have the memory of all my friends meeting me at the bus stop to say goodbye, hugs nonstop, writing on my shirt and a lot of photos.

Little things like; flooding your host families bathroom, asking help from your host sisters, staying up late talking, curling each other’s hair, choosing movies together, watching them eat vegemite to make me happy, teaching each other the national anthem and cooking meals together is what makes this exchange so great. Sometimes the little things can make such a significant impact.

The safari was amazing, travelling with other Australians across the North Island. A week with other exchange students, going through the exact program as you; you can only imagine what would happen when you put 20 Australians in a town… screaming out “AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE OI OI OI” wherever we went. I grew so close to everyone, creating friendships, creating memories that will always be a part of me.

This exchange has helped me grow; grow into a confident person. It’s helped me realise a lot, it has also given me a bigger outlook on the world and has inspired me to want to travel. I have fully embraced being a Rotary student. I have gained many friends, and basically a new family. This exchange has helped shape me into the person I am today. 

I encourage anyone to try for Rotary Exchange. It’s one of the best experiences of your life.