Oi! Aussies impress Finn

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Oi! Aussies impress Finn

Having a ball: Finnish student Annika Ruokolahti is enjoying her Australian visit.

ANNIKA Ruokolahti had travelled from Finland to take part in a 12 month exchange, as part of Rotary’s student exchange program.

“I never thought I would do an exchange, but then my sister did one a couple of years ago to Sydney and she kind of talked me into it,” she said.

“I have always been interested in Australia and I wanted to go somewhere they speak Spanish or English, but not to Spain because it is too close.”

Annika has been in Australia for eight months so far.

“On the first night here, I was like: I am never going to make a year, but now I am loving it,” she said.

“The people are great; everyone is so laid back and very social. The beaches are great too.”

As a Rotary exchange student, Annika has been able to see many different parts of Australia, much more than some locals ever manage to see.

“I have been to Tasmania, which was nice, Wilson Promontory and Melbourne, which is a really pretty city,” she said.

Annika is currently on a big trip around Australia, which started with a trip to Uluru and Alice Springs. She will then fly to Queensland and drive down the coast via Sydney, back to Melbourne.

“I didn’t know too much about the country before arriving, but I have learnt a lot about the indigenous people and the dreamtime. It is really interesting,” she said.

When she arrived, Annika could speak English, but now, she can speak Aussie.

“The accent and the words are quite different. I think ‘oi’ is my favourite Aussie word,” she said.

“I am not a fan of Vegemite; I can’t even stand the smell. At first I thought it was a chocolate spread and put it on my toast really thick but it is very different.

“I do like Tim Tams though.

“Australia also has a lot of different cultures. I didn’t realise that before and I didn’t realise how big it was.”

Annika has been attending Mary MacKillop Regional Catholic College and is currently in Year 12. She said she will have to start from Year 11 when she returns to Finland.

“It is not like I have to do the school work, but I do it because I want to improve my English. It doesn’t really count, but at least I get something out of it,” she said.

“Besides, if I had a whole year without having to go to school, I wouldn’t have anything to do during the day and it would be really boring.”

Annika is from Pargas in Finland, which she says is by the sea and nice.

“When I first left home, it wasn’t a big deal; I didn’t think on it too much. Now I think when I have to go home, it will be harder,” she said.

Annika said her home town can get up to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer, but is much colder than Australia in winter.

“When I arrived last winter, I was actually surprised at how cold it was. When you think about Australia, you think about heat and tans!”

Annika has travelled extensively including to Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Germany, Singapore and England.

“Australia has been my favourite so far,” she confessed.

“The animals are pretty amazing. When I saw my first koala I was on the bus and it was running down the main street of town.

“I was pretty excited; the other kids may have thought I was a bit strange.”

Annika has spotted two snakes while in South Gippsland, which she said are much bigger than the ones found in Finland, which incidentally, are not venomous.

Annika returns to Finland at the end of July.

“I have made a lot of friends, who I will keep in touch with. Some people have already told me they will be coming over to Finland to visit me,” she said.

 

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Posted by on Apr 16 2013. Filed under Community, Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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