The Rotary Club of Algoa Bay

Helping the community of the Nelson Mandela Metropole

Category: Exchange Students (page 1 of 2)

Letter From Amalie – Easter 2015

2014-05-22 09.37.43 2014-04-14 13.23.04 (2) 2014-04-17 16.19.51

My Dear Rotarians


Almost 6 years have passed since I left your beautiful country to return to Denmark. While none of them have been as exciting and involved as much travelling as my exchange year, a lot has happened and I would like to offer you a short update on what I have been doing and experienced since then.


Upon my return to Frederikshavn, my home town in the Northern part of Denmark, I still had two years left of high school to finish before being eligible for university. It was two fun years where I reconnected with childhood friends and made new ones and, as you know, did some travelling in the holidays where I once again visited South Africa with my family. However, Frederikshavn being a small place and many young people moving away, I was very happy to relocate to Copenhagen (the capital of Denmark) in the summer of 2011 when I was accepted into the Bachelor of Science programme in “International Business and Politics” at the Copenhagen Business School. It is one of the hardest university programmes to get into in Denmark, but I was disappointed during my second year over the quality of teaching. However, I now have a pretty firm grounding in economics and political science, having graduated in June 2014 and getting my first degree!


However, that does not mean that I have yet gotten around to getting “a real job”. The market for recent graduates is tough in Denmark, so I am now well into the second semester of a 2 year Master’s programme at the University of Copenhagen in Security Risk Management – a new and exciting field targeting companies with international exposure – and I plan to graduate in June next year if everything goes well. I am very happy with my new programme which has a small but highly international student body and faculty.


I have been working part time ever since moving to Copenhagen, first at the Copenhagen Business School as a research supporter, and since November 2014 as a researcher in a global executive search firm called Russell Reynolds Associates (yes they have an office in Johannesburg!). This is interesting, seeing how I know next to nothing about Human Resources and even less about headhunting, but the research and strategy work that we do is highly relevant. So even though this is probably not the area where I will end up, I am enjoying the job a lot, especially when I am looking out on beautiful Copenhagen from our central office location and drinking free coffee!


Besides that, I am also now the owner of a small apartment together with René, my long-time boyfriend, who moved with me to pursue a degree in Business and IT. No kids on the radar yet, but we are the proud owners of two pet birds – budgies to be exact – called Oscar and Freja. The pressure from my mom to supply her with a grandchild decreased significantly after my nephew, Liam, was born in the summer of 2012 and I am perhaps the proudest aunt in the whole wide world! My whole family is also well, happy and healthy after a cancer-scare on behalf on my sister-in-law last year and a coronary thrombosis on behalf of my dad a few years ago.


Having turned 24 this January, I find myself wondering how much, and also how little, has changed since I came home. There is no doubt that life in Copenhagen is treating me very well and I absolutely love living here with he full palette of work, school, hobbies, friends and family. However, I am thinking a lot about what sort of full time position and career I want to pursue when I graduate next year and I am not at all sure. I am looking to perhaps apply outside of Denmark and relocate again accordingly, as I definitely still have some “Wanderlust”. I could, for example, work in South Africa for a while!


I hope that you and your families are well and happy and I would love to hear some news from you all, both about the club and about you individually. You can get in touch with me either on my, on Facebook where I see many of your pictures and updates, or if you connect with me on Linkedin at


Love to you all and goodbye for now!


Amalieregreetings (1)

Manon Baeldon

Laura Bonnet

News From Morgan

Hello everyone,

It has been a while since my last update but don’t worry, I am alive.

I have moved onto my second host family now in kyogle, the Kenmans. I live on a dairy farm with over 300 cows, my family has always farmed and specifically dairy cows; I am an honorary boer. our farm is incredibly gorgeous and huge, but filled with all sorts of creepy crawly things that I have never had to deal with in south Africa (as well as not having my mommy to squish them for me, and no one in my family kills anything), my mortal enemy is the Huntsman spider and I sleep with a bulk can of Mortein next to my bed.

I have 6 siblings; I have not met my oldest sister as she had moved out ages before I came to the house. My siblings include Lara (the girl I have not met, 18), Nikkoli and Sean (twins, both 16 but in year 11), Dion and Robert (twins, 13), and Bryn (10). when I first arrived at Kyogle I met Nikkoli, she is in my year and my friendship group, and we soon became very close (little did we know we were going to become sisters); we made it a ritual that every Thursday (we both had triple frees on Thursday) that we’d both go to her house and just relax and play around. I soon moved in. I know many people would be thinking, “oh you shouldn’t move in with a friend”, her and I are getting on wonderfully.

We share a room, have similar interests, have a few disagreements and get over it.

My new home doesn’t have phone reception, and our internet is often too slow to even log onto; it is very different.

I have milked in the dairy, it wasn’t horrifying at all, I honestly was getting into it and even doing quite well, but unfortunately, during the last row of cows, one cow decided to “relieve” its bowels all over me.

I have not entered the dairy since.

My year is currently in the process of having their yearly exams, I decided to attempt my Advanced English and Maths examinations; I forgot I had missed over half of the years curriculum (the things that were taught in Tweed Heads are completely different to what is taught here); I have never felt more useless. A lot of the questions involved farming references, which I know nothing about, and one question involved sketching a paddock by using the numbers 300, 400, 150, 360, 800, 900 and many more… I am not completely sure of what a paddock is.

Last weekend I worked for my rotary club at a school fete, and there was a big fund-raiser that managed to raise well over $1000, the fund-raiser was “Kiss the Pig”; a Kyogle traditional fund-raiser, where 4 people volunteer to kiss the pig, the public pays as much as they would like towards the fund under the name of whichever volunteer they would like to kiss the pig, which ever volunteer has the most money under their name has to kiss a pig.

Just a fun fact from the farm country.

Morgan’s Update

it is time for another update I thought I should start off with the basics –

  • My older host Rotary Club, The Rotary Club of Tweed Heads South, has dropped down to about 19 or less members.  About 5 of my club’s members have retired, the average age of my club is quite an old one, and although this is low I have been told my club once had as few as 14 members.
  • I  had a school camp/tour, it was actually for the year 10s but I joined as it was such an incredible opportunity, through Sydney and the capital city of Aus, Canberra. It was a lovely tour and I was fully funded by the school, there is no way I could thank Lindisfarne for all they have done for me, it has been absolutely brilliant.
  • I will be attending Kyogle High, it is the only high school in Kyogle, and has the subject “Agriculture” in which students learn to drive tractors, plough, raise cattle, working with chickens and other farm skills, behind the school where there is a large plot of farming land for this subject. I met my future host father, Bowd Jansen, who lives on a farm 14km out of Kyogle, with his family, few cows and I think chickens. Bowd is Dutch and I will be unable to talk in my broken version of Afrikaans when I Skype with people back home. Kyogle does not even have a bus system, McDonalds, or a movie theatre. Kyogle is fast becoming a retirement town as young people out of school will leave there in search of jobs or Uni, neither of which Kyogle has, and older people will sell their houses in the big cities and move to the quieter, closer communities like Kyogle. I will also be Kyogle’s first exchange student for about +20 years (the pressure is on mates).
  • I have also moved to the small village of Wiangaree, it is 14 km outside of Kyogle. Kyogle is my new home, it is a VERY small town filled with a population of 3000. It has a single public high school, Kyogle High, which I will be attending from the 19th of July. I currently live on a farm, with 5 cows, my host family, our two cats and one dog.
  • I received 46% for a Japanese semi-exam/test (better than my Afrikaans marks in some cases).
  • Before I left Coolangatta held the Cooly Rocks Festival, which I attended and was stunned by. The festival is centred around vintage cars and their restoration, it is filled with 50’s themed dancing, bands, the original Rock’n Roll and everyone dressing as if they were on the set of the movie “Grease”. I am fanatic about vintage cars, as you can ask my mother and I spent from  10:30  – 20:15 on Saturday admiring and having photos taken with the cars while singing along with the reborn Elvis who is on stage.

I ended school on the 1st of July, and as it was my last day many tears were shed. It was hard for me to leave my school, because I knew that I would never come back, it was a different experience from leaving South Africa; because I know I will always come home, but I know I will not return to Lindisfarne.

I have been quite busy lately, since it was my last holiday on the Gold Coast I wanted to do as much as possible, and have visited Tropical Fruit World (a place where you tour around an enormous weird and wonderful fruit growing facility, almost like a fruit safari with tastings, play ground and petting zoo for the younger children; it was lovely. I’ve been going out with my friends a lot. I tried learning to surf, failed miserably, in fact all I’ve gotten from that experience was a sunburn and bruise that has lasted about a week now. I have learnt to rollerblade, not well but I can go and turn without falling. I have done so much that there is no way I can write it all down. My stay in Tweed Heads was absolutely superb, but now I move  on to a much more foreign atmosphere.

New News from Morgan

Hello everyone

It is time for an update – I have officially been in aus for three months!

I have just gotten back from an 11 day our around Queensland, Bush and Beach, it was indescribable. I had an amazing time. We went from gold coast to roma (which flooded so we had to evacuate), roma to Carnarvon (which flooded too, so we evacuated), spent two nights in Charleville, charleville to longreach, longreach to emerald, emerald to 1770/Fraser Island (emerald was the beginning of our beach stay although it was in the bush and about an hour or so drive to the beach), Lady Musgrave for the day (this is where we went snorkelling and diving in the Great Barrier Reef), Agnes Waters to 1770/Fraser, 1770 – Hervey Bay, Hervey Bay, and from Hervey Bay to home. It was spectacular, with breath taking sites and joy filled moments.

I met so many extraordinary and wonderful people, ranging from Japan, Austria, Brazil and a lovely girl from Minnesota, USA.  I cant explain the connection I made with my fellow exchangers. In such a short time I had gained so many friendships, and each one with a person who I want to stay in touch with for as long as possible.

Australia is a gorgeous country/continent filled with interesting scenes and heritage. The life is so different to home that I have stopped comparing South Africa against Australia. A few were; back home we have stunning wildlife where as here has beautiful flora that is completely indigenous. I saw a giant fern that has 95% of its population in Aus, it has not changed its form since the pre-historic times, and it looks like a prop out of the Jurassic Park film.

I have felt homesick but it is manageable and I have so much support here and back home that I have overcome it.

I have enjoyed my first few months so much and I still have a lot more to learn about this unique place. Next month I travel to Sydney for a weekend of tourist fun, then travel around Canberra for a week with my schools year tens, my year doesn’t go on any camps.

I leave for Kyogle in July and, although I am moving to the bush and leaving my friends here, I am relatively excited. I am so thankful for this opportunity and if there is one thing I can say to anyone who has the chance to do an exchange is to do it. The people I have had the luck to meet and know have made my exchange a pleasure. The friends I have made I know I will keep in my heart for ever; my friends have already started planning for me to come down for their year 12 formal and whose limo I will be in. My Priciple has even given me an invitation to our formal, which is an honour especially since they never give them to people who arent students at Lindisfarne at that time.

Thank you for letting me have this year.

PS I am also a footy (rugby league) fan, with posters of my team, the Gold Coast Titans, all over my walls in my bedroom. I even have my enemy team, the Brisbane Broncos, who cheated and won a match against the Titans (the first live match I watched).

Heaps of love,




First Report From Morgan!

When I arrived in Aus I was greeted by the Sydney humidity with a young woman called Jismene, she was from East London and getting ready for her two year stay in Brisbane for her new job. Her and I sat together from JHB to Sydney and were on the same flight from Sydney to Brisbane. Once in Brisbane her and I went our separate ways but are still keeping in contact; about twenty three hours after saying goodbye to Port Elizabeth I met Valerie Haywood (my counsellor), I was sweaty, uncomfortable, nut I was still keen to see my new home.

During the hour drive to Tweed Heads, Valerie attempted to tell me about my new city and Australia, I was struggling to remain conscious. My new Rotary club, The Rotary Club of Tweed Heads South, has only twenty three members on a good day, and may just launch their website very soon. I am their first exchange student in five years (I will be Kyogle’s first exchange student ever), and I have been mistaken for being a German, Swedish and even Egyptian person.

I absolutely adore my exchange so far and I have met some amazing people, I have learnt that the Australian prime minister, Julia Gillard, is not beloved by the Australian people, I have learnt that saying “avo” means “this afternoon”. I am currently living with the Fosters, Jenny, my host mother and a vice principle, Wayne, my host father and an electrician, Daniel, my older host brother, an ex-exchange student and he has just gotten a job at a human resources firm in Brisbane, and Joshua, my other host brother who is in varsity and working as a cook.

I have so far met four other exchange students, Nick, Solveig, Boia and Johan; Boia and I are the only ones that I know of, so far, that have just arrived and everyone else has been here for several months.

My school is lovely and my new subjects are Hospitality, Japanese, I.T, Advanced English, Maths, and Art. I have so far volunteered for a model U.N, an environmental cleanup, a RYPEN camp, Aqua Aerobics, and I am grabbing as many opportunities that come my way as I can.

Morgan Lehy January 2011

Morgan Lehy



Morgan, daughter of Rotarian Michéle Lehy, is down under. In Australia that is!

Morgan who is 16 years old decided to go for the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program and move to Australia for 2011. She will initially be studying at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School in Tweed Heads, NSW and thereafter move to Kyogle.

She flew out on the 26th of January and

is already looking like she is having a fabulous time!

Many Rotarians attended her airport farewell party, including Pam Ellis from the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program.

Watch this space for more news!

Wishing you all the very best on your exciting adventure Morgan!!

20 July 2010

Dear Rotarians

After much hounding from my parents, I have finally gotten around to writing another report! As usual I have been caught up in trying to do as much as possible before I have to leave Canada. First of all, I have to give an overdue thank you to the club. As you may know, I had a dilemma as I was raising money to buy a new air ticket so I did not have to leave before school ended. After a generous donation from the club of Algoa Bay I was able to purchase the new ticket. It came as a tremendous relief and I am incredibly thankful to the club. I certainly know you are reliable and I cannot begin to explain how much it has meant to me to be able to spend the extra time in Canada. So I will fill you in on some of the things I have now been able to do after being able to stay longer.

I have recently moved in with my fourth and final host family, the Jeffords. Bob, Bonnie, Kate (18) and Joel (16) are a great family to be with over the summer, as school ended in June. They live just out of the city and have a pool, games room and big backyard. Originally I was to be staying with the Van Den Bossche family until my departure, yet all the children left to work or attend summer camps, so it would just be me with my host mom. I then decided to move in with the Jefford family as Kate is one of my good friends from school so I knew them already. The Jeffords have taken me up to a cottage for a few days, to Canada’s Wonderland and many other fun things.

The last bit of school went really well. In grade 12 it is only necessary for students to take three courses per semester, but I was taking four. I then decided to drop English for a spare period as I really was not enjoying it. Instead, during the period I would have had English, I went around to different classes every day doing presentations about South Africa and the differences in the schooling. I also collected names of some kids interested in exchange, so hopefully some will consider coming to SA! The other subjects I took were Art, Sociology and Peer Leading. My first art project, a clay pot decorated with Ndebele art, came out very well. My other two projects, however, were not as successful. The bottom of one blew off in the kiln, and the teacher mistakenly broke the other one. Now I realise why I haven’t taken art before. I did well in Sociology and was just short of winning the subject award by 0.3%! Peer leading, where I acted as a teacher’s assistant for a grade 9 drama class, was certainly memorable. One of the projects I worked on was choreographing a dance for the kids to perform during year end assembly. It fell on 11 June, so I painted South African flags on all of their cheeks for the performance to mark the beginning of the world cup.

On the extramural side, the play I was involved in, The Giver, made it into the next level of the competition. We also won the most awards out of all school in that level of the competition. We then went on to perform in Hamilton, which is about three hours away. We stayed for a week and watched plays every night. Seeing as I had never been there, we even made a cast trip to Niagara Falls which was phenomenal. The standard was very high and only two plays made it on to the next level. Unfortunately we didn’t make it but it was still a memorable trip. I was also part of my school’s diversity day where I set up a South African booth and made koeksisters for everyone to try. I have also been very involved with my church and the youth. I have sung and spoke during church services, as well as at the youth meetings. They have a very active youth group and I have joined them on many, if not all, of the youth outings, including a 4 day camp. I was part of a group from my church who was recently involved in a big fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society. I am now volunteering at the day camp my church runs over the summer holidays where I help run activities for children from grades 1 to 8.

Staying later also meant that I was able to be in Canada for graduation and prom. This was a truly unique experience. Although I was not graduating with a diploma like my classmates, I was still able to dress up in a robe and walk across the stage like everybody else. So I decided to represent and bring a big South African flag across the stage with me, much to the enjoyment of the audience. I ended up winning awards for highest marks in Drama, Cosmetology and Peer leading, which I was quite pleased about. Prom was also a fabulous night. Not quite as big a deal as Alex’s Matric Dance, but still lovely. A group of my closest friends and I got together beforehand with our parents to take pictures before heading out to the event. The night was filled with lots of fun and memories.

On the Rotary side of things, there has also been a lot going on. I did my presentation for my host club and they really enjoyed it. There was a newspaper reporter at the meeting who wrote an article about it in the local newspaper. As previously mentioned I did many presentations at my high school, but I also did some for a local primary school in what was called education week. I also attended the District Conference where I was required to make a speech. It was great to meet many other new Rotarians and share my exchange experience with them. I attended a Rotary Youth Leadership Awards weekend and made lots of new friends. I was also required to speak there, and I’m hoping I have motivated some to come to South Africa one day! It was an awesome weekend where we learnt a lot about leadership.

Now as my exchange draws to a close, I am making the most out of the little time I have left. It has been an amazing experience that words cannot describe. As I dread saying goodbye to all my friends next month, I look forward to seeing all of you again. See you soon!


Christmas Update!

Hello Algoa Bay

I have been given the opportunity to send you a little Christmas-note, which is wonderful. So much has happened since I left you in June and I can truly say that there has been very little spare time to think about SA! I do of course miss you all very much and my experiences in your beautiful country have marked me for life. (In a good way, obviously!) This I can clearly see from the past 5 months where I have been a terror for my family and general surroundings when I wanted to show them my 16 GB of photos! But I have not only spoken to my friends and family about South Africa, I have also been doing quite a few speeches on the topic. My Rotary Club and our Rotary Anns of course wanted to know everything about it, but also my old school and my new class mates asked me for a presentation. Recently I showed my best shots at assembly at my school, which was wonderful. I’m really advertising your countryJ

I can also tell you that my own club is going to host an exchange student this upcoming year. Her name is Riley, she’s an Aussie and she will be spending her first 4 months in Denmark with me and my family. I’m sure I will be an amazing host sister and I will try to give her as great an experience as my wonderful host families gave me!

Besides this, it is good to be back home for Christmas. I have added a picture from my old school which was closed down for a few days last year, because of snow. Thought it would be fun for you to see. So far we haven’t had any snow, but I’m still hoping for it. It will be quite different from the warm, sunny Christmas in Bluewater bay, but I will still try to make of some Lynda’s amazing mince pies..

My family and I are also planning to visit you next year in July. As soon as the World Cup is over you will be run over by another bunch of tourists, namely me and my family!

It would be great to hear a little from you all, and I really enjoyed writing this little piece for the bulletinJ

Merry Christmas everyone


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