Flinders Students Invited to Apply for Exchange Adventures Across Australia

In 2023, 15 students in Year 8 at Matthew Flinders Anglican College participated in the College’s Round Square Domestic Exchange Program, swapping places with students in schools across Australia. 

The program was a huge success and applications are now open for the 2024 Flinders Domestic Exchange Program, due by Wednesday, 5 March. 

Flinders offers the program to provide its students with character education and experiential learning opportunities to help them grow as empowered, aware and compassionate global citizens.

While on their two-week exchanges last year, the Flinders students enjoyed a taste of a different school life, either staying at their exchange partner's family home or boarding on campus. 

In return, the students had to host their exchange buddies for two weeks in their own family home while introducing them to school life on campus at Flinders and playing tour guide across the Sunshine Coast.  

Last year’s host schools included Hale School in Perth and four Round Square schools - Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange, NSW; St Philip's College in Alice Springs, NT; Scotch Oakburn School in Launceston, Tasmania; and Ballarat Grammar School in Ballarat, Victoria.  

The program is expanding this year to include three more Round Square schools: Radford College in Canberra, ACT; Trinity Anglican School in Cairns, Qld; and Ivanhoe Grammar School in Melbourne, Victoria. 

The domestic exchange experiences in Year 8 are a great way for students to prepare for the College’s more adventurous Round Square International Exchange Program for Year 10 students, with 17 students this year travelling to the UK, Canada, the USA, Denmark, Germany, France and Japan.

As a certified Round Square School, Flinders connects and collaborates with the 250+ like-minded schools across 50 countries in the Round Square network, all offering world-class exchange, service learning and leadership programs.

Flinders exchange student Rachel, now in Year 9, chose to experience boarding life at Scotch Oakburn in Launceston, Tasmania over two weeks last November. Her advice to other students considering an exchange is to “go for it!”

“Going on a school exchange is a controlled and safe way to experience new challenges, make new friends, participate in new activities and see new locations and attractions you may never have experienced before,” Rachel said.

“I was lucky enough to spend a week living in the boarding house, which was definitely a stand out. It was so different from the way I live at home, and I got to adapt and experience a new way of living which was interesting and fun.” 

Students shared many of their exchange highlights - see their reflections below. 

To learn more and apply, Flinders families must contact Mrs Jodie Symons, Flinders Teacher and Round Square Co-ordinator and join the MyFlinders 'Year 8 Domestic Exchange' group.

Reflections by Flinders Domestic Exchange Students

Olivia B | Kinross Wolaroi School, Orange, NSW 

“I chose my host school because I thought that boarding would be a great new experience. I also chose this school because it is the school my grandfather attended.

I have to admit, I was concerned about boarding as I had never experienced it before. However, it was amazing! 

I became a lot more independent as I had to travel by plane on my own and look after my belongings. I also had to be outgoing when meeting new people and trying new things that I had never done before.

On my exchange I learnt about the Army and experienced cadets. And I experienced boarding and learnt how to manage my life by myself.

My favourite classroom subject was cooking because the school had a large commercial kitchen and every lesson students could cook any meal they chose with their partner.

My advice would be to be confident and friendly and to try as many new activities as possible to make the most of your exchange experience.”

Hannah D | Kinross Wolaroi School, Orange, NSW 

“I’ve always enjoyed travelling, especially with my friends. So I embraced the opportunity as I thought I would enjoy it - and I did!

I was so excited to see what boarding was like and to go through that experience. I have always wanted to try it out. 

And, fortunately, I loved the boarding experience! It was so much fun to go back to the boarding house with everyone after school and hang out as one big group. Everyone there was close and I made lots of new friends with the girls who were in my boarding house. 

My favourite subject at Kinross was art and textiles. It was fun as I got to do lino printing in art and make a kite, and had so much fun flying it with the other girls.

My favourite co-curricular activity was their cadet program, which was held every Wednesday after school. The first week was about camouflage and concealment, so we got to paint our faces with camouflage face paint and learn about the principles of hiding. I also enjoyed watching my host partner play netball for school.

My advice to others considering a Round Square exchange is to step out of your comfort zone and try it, especially if you are an adventurous person. It’s a great experience and something I know I will remember. You make great memories and friends. It’s a new experience and you never know what it will bring you.

Rachel M | Scotch Oakburn in Launceston, Tasmania

My favourite lesson at school was forensics. I got to analyse crime scenes, decode handwriting and experience a really fun subject that I haven’t participated in before.

I was lucky enough to spend a week living in the boarding house, which was definitely a stand out. It was so different from the way I live at home, and I got to adapt and experience a new way of living which was interesting and fun.

I loved going to the Gorge with my host family. We did a 6km hike while being able to look at some stunning views. At the Gorge, there were wallabies and peacocks which was new and exciting to see. We also went on the chairlift that stretched across the basin, which showed even more gorgeous views.

This exchange experience has shown me that I am adaptable and confident, which helps me know that I will be resilient in future situations.

Rose H | Kinross Wolaroi, Orange, New South Wales

I wanted to have a chance at being independent and to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone a little bit. I also wanted to make new friendships.

During my exchange, I noticed that I grew in confidence. I met a lot of new people there… By the end of the exchange I knew and became friends with nearly everyone in the grade.

My standout experience was staying at my buddy’s farm for two weeks, which was completely different to my own home. The land was huge, and it was about a 20-minute walk just to get to their mailbox from their house! I also had a new experience of learning to drive on the farm while I was there.

Matilda C | Kinross Wolaroi, Orange, New South Wales

I thought it would be a really cool experience where I got to see new things and meet new people. I also love traveling, even within the country, so I thought I would really enjoy the experience.

I didn't realise how different schools are, and I experienced a very different living style and school culture. I learnt a lot of social skills as I was meeting so many new people each day. I also learnt what it was like to board.

I enjoyed every minute of the exchange, but I loved how close I got to everyone in boarding and how it was a different way of living. I also enjoyed the chance to go to my buddy’s big canola farm on the weekend. 

I loved all the school grounds, and I spent a lot of afternoons exploring them. I also liked walking through the town and visiting my buddy’s farm.

Definitely take the opportunity! I loved doing the exchange and made so many new connections and experiences. You will not regret doing an exchange, it is definitely one of my biggest highlights during my time at Flinders.

Dusty Anne S | Ballarat Grammar School, Ballarat, Victoria 

I chose to go on exchange because I wanted to embrace new experiences and go outside of my comfort zone. 

My favorite co-curricular activities were the ‘Take the Stage’ drama class and the music program. 

I enjoyed the experience of ice skating when we visited Melbourne and the local area of Sovereign Hills as it displayed some of the rich history of the area. 

Through the exchange I learnt new social skills that I may have not developed if it were not for the exchange challenging me to make new friends and learn about different cultures. 

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