Testimonial - Renee Moxam

RENEE MOXHAM – Waikerie 2012
In 2012, as part of the Rotary short term exchange, I was paired with Gina Astbury and we both had the time of our lives sharing the experience together. I was first to fly over, and I was quite nervous going to live with a family who I have never met before. Her family was very welcoming and I felt at home very quickly! I felt very lucky to be shown around Northland, while still engaging in local activities.

The highlight of my trip was a weekend road trip up to the most Northerly point of the country, Cape Reinga, then down to the beautiful Bay of Islands with Gina and her parents. A new skill I learnt while staying with Gina is how to ride a horse (it’s not as easy as it looks!). It was something I had never done before, and by the end of it I was competing in a horse show at Whangarei.

In the last couple weeks, all the ‘Aussie’ exchange students from the North Island went to Taupo and Rotorua for 8 days. It almost felt like home seeing everyone, and I grew many close bonds with people from all over Australia. I was sad to leave New Zealand and all the new friendships I had made, but I was excited to come home to see my friends and family, and to show Gina the Australian way of life.

When I got home, it was hard trying to fit back in and catch up with everyone, while still trying to make Gina feel comfortable. It was sad to see Gina go, and it felt weird not seeing her for a couple weeks. It’s hard to see someone every day for six months, then they’re just gone. In a way, it was like having a sister for half a year, because we shared everything and went everywhere together.

I had an open mind and was willing to try new things. I felt like I got the most out of the experience possible. There isn’t anything I regret, and I wish I could’ve stayed for longer!Overall, I would highly recommend this to anyone who wishes to gain confidence and independence while meeting new people and having fun. Thank you to Rotary for providing me with this opportunity I will never forget!