Woodridge College Exchange

By Hanna Koch, Year 9 student

On my first day in South Africa, I took the time to settle in. I was very tired due to jet lag, so I went to stay with my exchange student, Julian, and his parent overnight. The next day, I got to explore and start school. The dorms at the school are very nice; I am sharing with five other people. I have one bed, a cupboard and a desk to work on.

Hanna makes friends with the local zebras.

The classes are very different to those at Radford. We sit in single rows, and most teachers give out detentions very easily. We have eight 45-minute classes, a break between the fourth and fifth classes, and school ends at 2 pm. I am struggling in classes such as accounting, because we don’t do that at Radford. Most of the classes are similar, but science is separated into physics and biology. Most girls are allowed back to the dorms after that, but not during class.

The food here is okay. We get breakfast at 7 am and dinner at 6 pm. Lunch is optional, but most girls make chicken noodles back in the dorm. We get to keep a snack draw and stock it up every week.

My water polo is going great. We go to different schools and compete every Tuesday and Saturday. Sometimes the competitions go all weekend. During the half-term break, the team is going to Knysna, a coastal town, to play water polo in the boat port!

I am also having a great time with my grandparents. I go to their dairy farm every weekend if I am not playing water polo. We get snacks and go shopping. I also go on runs across the property - it is beautiful.

Elephants in the wild.

Africa is very different due to load shedding, water shortage and poverty. Load shedding is a program that turns off the electricity for three hours, three times per day. This makes it hard to do anything given all Wi-Fi and power are cut off. The water shortage means you can only have one shower per day, for two minutes, and you can't water plants or wash cars. As for the poverty, there are slums in every town, even towns as small as Braidwood.

I am sure this has given you an insight to what boarding in South Africa is like.