GERMAN exchange student Eve Heinrich says keeping busy helps her ward off homesickness while in Colac.
The 14-year-old joined host brother Thomas Brentwood-Balcombe, who is in Year Nine at Colac Secondary College, on a Venturers and Scouts 24-hour Great Ocean Walk relay hike on the weekend from Port Campbell to Apollo Bay.
“We were lucky, it rained in the night, while we were sleeping,” she said.
Eve said she had completed a mountain bike ride with a Venturers group in the Victorian high country during summer and would return there to ski in winter.
“Besides, I’m not really homesick, because I know I will be going back home at the end of the year,” she said.
Eve left her parents and younger sister Lisabel in her north-east German town, three hours from Berlin, to live in Australia for a year because she said she wanted “the experience of how other people live, make new friends and have a new family”.
“I’m not sure what I expected, I just expected it to be different and a new experience.”
Eve arrived in Colac in February through Southern Cross Cultural Exchange, has been attending Year 10 classes at Colac Secondary College, and is living with Dianne and Daniel Twemlow and their seven children.
Thomas, Mrs Twemlow’s eldest child, said it took a while to get used to Eve’s accent and he was helping her with Australian expressions.
“I had to explain that those thick potato chips were called wedges rather than wedgies,” Thomas said.
Eve said that despite having to wear a uniform, school in Australia was easier than in Germany.
“We are doing things in maths in Australia that I did years ago in Germany, and we start writing essays in Grade Five back home,” she said.
“In Australia it’s more relaxed, we are allowed to listen to music while we work; in Germany, as soon as teachers see earphones they confiscate them.”
Eve said she was enjoying trying new foods, including making sausage rolls in cooking class at school.
Her host family introduced her to porridge for breakfast, which she said was a welcome change from the bread and sliced meats she would have back home.
Eve said she understood English well, but found jokes difficult to understand.
Host dad Mr Twemlow said Eve had slotted in to the family like an adopted daughter.