Last week the College hosted students and teachers from our sister school in Cortina, Italy. The exchange project saw JPC students and staff host our Italian guests for just over a week. During the week our Italian students experienced secondary school life in Australia and were able to enjoy a variety of activities including a day trip to Queenscliff, Phillip Island, Gumbuya World, Cape Schank and Sorrento.
Ruairi, Year 11 hosted one of our Italian exchange students. Ruairi built a strong connection and friendship with his student and hopes to keep in touch with his new international friend. Below are his reflections on the experience:
"On the 14th of February, 10 John Paul College families arrived at Melbourne Airport Arrivals to welcome 10 complete strangers from Italy into our homes for the next week. Little did we know that after one week with our “strangers”, the deep, profound bonds of love and friendship created would lead to great sadness at the time of their leaving. After a nervous wait through countless delays, we finally met our new friends. We spent the weekend getting to know our new family members and showing them around Frankston and the Peninsula, and soon it came to the first day of school for the week. I think I speak on behalf of all of us when I say that there was a chorus of varying feelings in response to the differences school in Australia poses. Some were amazed at the size and subject selections. Others, a little overwhelmed. As the week wore on however, our bonds with our new friends only grew, and our three day trips to Queenscliff, Phillip Island and Gumbuya World proved to fortify the friendships of all involved.
As the final days of their time with us slowly creeped closer, we tried to ignore the nagging feeling in our hearts, slowly tugging at the fact that it was almost time to say goodbye. Before we knew it, Sunday morning arrived, and it was time to say farewell. Our arrival at school was met with a plethora of emotions, and everyone’s eyes were filled with tears. As we said our last goodbyes and waved them off, I couldn’t help but thank God for the opportunity he had bestowed upon our school, and the deep bonds of love and friendship he has allowed us to create. Although it may not be easy to see our Italian friends as often as we’d like, we can rejoice in the fact that our bonds will always remain, and look forward to when we meet again."
Ruairi, Year 11