Posted by Ian FAIRNIE on Sep 25, 2023
Our first inbound Rotary Youth Exchangee arrives Friday afternoon.  If you’d like to be at the International Terminal to greet him, he’ll be on a Scoot flight from Singapore due to arrive at 5.00pm.
Valentin on the left, his brother and sister on the right, and some exchange students who are in Germany this year
In his last email, he talked about getting ready to leave:
I’m so excited to meet you all in person. :-)  
Now I have two days left until I can count off the departure day on my hand. The seriousness of life slowly begins and I‘m very confident I can do all my tasks reliably. One of the most important thing I have left to do is packing my backpack. Oh no, that’s right, I’m not going on a scout camp. ;-) So I probably need to pack my suit case carefully. Do you have any good advice on what I should definitely pack? 
I don’t know what you know about my journey to come to Australia. First of all, I can say that from the beginning I had the goal of spending my exchange year in Australia and I'm now super happy that it worked out. Yeah! Since March this year, I know that my year abroad with Rotary will take me to Australia. Since then, I have emailed many times with Norman de Grussa, the Youth Exchange Coordinator for District 9423. It was a very exciting time until all things were settled. In the end, we took out all the necessary insurance, filled out many forms and fortunately after a longer search found a perfect school for me. I am very proud to go to Scotch College and I'm really excited for that. 
Last week I chose my subjects and my sport. Because my grandfather rowed a lot when he was a student and we often went canoeing together as a family, I chose rowing as my first sport. The Australian school system is very different from Germany. On the one hand, we don't wear school uniforms here. This will be a special new experience for me. As I’m a Scout, I have a certain routine with a uniform appearance and I think I will like it. However, it is still unusual at school. Also, we're not at school all day. For a normal day classes start at 8 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. On one or two days you may be at school until 3:30 p.m. All sporting, musical or other activities take place privately in the afternoon. 
From an early age, I was involved in the Rotary community through my family as my father is a Rotarian himself. My two siblings, Amelie 18, and Nepomuk 15, and I have been able to participate in many events and have therefore gained a good insight into the Rotary friendship. Not to forget the countless experiences in which we were able to participate. In addition to interesting lectures, there is for example a four-day Rotary trip to a certain part of Germany every year which is always characterized by cultural, culinary, but also geographical particularities. Places that you don't usually visit. 
In general, my family is very fond of traveling. We used to travel with roof tents and travelled to Iceland, Russia or Morocco, for example. Since we children have grown up in the meantime, my father converted an old Mercedes Unimog into a motorhome. We have already been to France, Albania, Greece and Finland. So I’m really excited about camping trips in Western Australia. 

In addition to the Scouts, handball is a great passion of mine. But I'm actually interested in any sport that has to do with a ball. As you see I chose rowing. ;-) There is a large selection of these at Scotch College, which I was pleased to discover. Since my family lives in a village very close to the Alps, we are often mountaineering or hiking. Three years ago, we walked from our home near Munich in Bavaria, all the way to Venice across the Alps, in three weeks. That was a total of 350 km over the mountains and we all enjoyed it a lot. I also like to be outside in nature. I'll probably have to get used to living in the big city of Perth. However, I am very much looking forward to this new experience.  

So again do you have any tips for me on what to pack for Australia? 

I hope you can get an idea of me now. The fact that I will be living in Australia next year has become very concrete, the anticipation for this time is getting bigger and bigger.  
Best regards and be prepared  
The following link is to the video Valentin has made for our CLUB -