Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Home away from Austrian home

Austrian Theresa Dorner is on exchange with Kialla couple Jan and Peter Wallace.

JENNA BISHOP April 11, 2014 3:52am

Enjoyable company: Jan (pictured) and Peter Wallace are hosting Austrian exchange student Theresa Dorner.


Looking at beautiful country vistas in Kialla reminds Theresa Dorner of home — it’s just that home is actually half a world away in Austria.

Theresa, 16, is staying with Jan and Peter Wallace at their Kialla home for six months while on a student exchange through Southern Cross Cultural Exchange.

She arrived two months ago and is studying at Wanganui Park Secondary College.

For Theresa, choosing Australia was easy.

‘‘I wanted to go to an English-speaking country and Australia is really beautiful with the landscapes and the people are really friendly,’’ she said.

Theresa said she loved Shepparton’s rural beauty.

‘‘I love the gum trees and how close to the river we are,’’ she said.

Theresa has already tried a wealth of traditional Australian activities since arriving in Shepparton, including seeing a koala at the Kyabram Fauna Park, watching sheep being shorn and petting kangaroos.

‘‘It was great,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to camping, I’ve never been before.’’

First time host parent Mrs Wallace said the decision was made on a whim after seeing an advertisement for host families.

‘‘I thought it was something we could do, the kids have all grown up and left home and I thought it would be a bit of fun and company,’’ she said.

‘‘It’s nice to have young people in the house again.’’

For Mrs Wallace, the exchange experience has been a two-way street.

‘‘I’ve learned to cook many vegetarian meals, we’ve been on lots of quick trips across the region and I’ve learned a lot about Austria as well,’’ she said.

Teresa said her family would join her at the end of her exchange and would travel to the Great Ocean Road, Cairns, Alice Springs and Adelaide.

‘‘The distances here are just amazing,’’ she said.

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