In six weeks, Danielle would experience all Australia has to offer, including its people, culture, landscapes, history, and wildlife, but most importantly, her host family. Most importantly, 16-year-old Danielle learned a lot about herself. Here is what Danielle wrote about her experience:
I never imagined when I completed the Bard/YFU scholarship application that I would have the opportunity to experience a trip most people only dream about. A six-week trip to experience all Australia has to offer, including the people, the culture, the landscapes, the history, the wildlife but most importantly, the family I was placed with. Who would have thought that I would travel to Australia, on my own, and live with a family that I have never met, especially at the age of 16? I experienced so many different things during my six-week stay. I was also able to learn a lot about myself and grow as a person. For one, I never would have thought that I would be so comfortable meeting new people and living with them without members of my family around to support me. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime. I hope many young people will be able to experience it for themselves.
Looking back on my trip to Australia, I realized that I became more independent. I also realized as a result of this trip that I could get along with others regardless of differences and could deal with any situation. For example, I went through a tough situation with the other exchange student staying with my host family. After a few days of being away from each other, we settled our differences and made the rest of the trip awesome. I realize now that I can handle myself in any situation. For example, I had no problem negotiating the public transportation systems in Australia or dealing with flight changes while in route to both Australia and home again. I can fly by myself and feel confident in doing so. Although, I was pretty independent before this experience, I now realize that there is so much I can do and will do.