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Kate Shelton down under

Kate Shelton down under

By Tom Noreen

Kate and a wallaby at a sanctuary in Australia.

Kate and a wallaby at a sanctuary in Australia.

Kate Shelton recently updated the Cedar Springs Rotary Club on her yearlong adventures in Australia. Kate’s experience as a Rotary exchange student to Poland her senior year sparked her desire to travel. Readers may remember her monthly articles on life in Poland.

In May, she returned from her sojourn in Australia. In Australia, she lived in Brisbane where she roomed with her friend, Kara. Like Kate, Kara was a Rotary exchange student. They met at one of the Rotary exchange conferences in Europe and became good friends.

Because her visitor’s visa was good for only a year, finding a job was difficult because her prospective employers knew that she could only stay a limited period. During the year, she worked in a coffee shop and art gallery, learned how to groom dogs, and was a server in a German restaurant where she had to wear a traditional German dirndl.
She liked Melbourne the best. It was a city of art and very relaxing. The city is also the home of many of Australia’s universities. On the other hand, Sydney is the business hub of the country and full of tourists.

In her travels, she got to New South Wales, which she thought was amazing. She also learned that koalas are not the cuddly, teddy bear animals we think them to be. Kate said they could be very aggressive if they are not used to people. The photo is from her visit to the biggest koala sanctuary in Australia. In the preserve, there was a huge fenced in field where you could walk around and pet kangaroos, paddemelons, wallabies, and emus.

When asked what her experience as an exchange student had taught her, Kate said, “It taught me how to adjust to another culture.” Adjust she did, both to Poland and Australia. Kate liked the laid-back life down there so much she applied and received a residency visa, which will allow her to stay for an indefinite period. She plans to return in early November (a good time to leave Michigan!) and move back to Brisbane with her friend Kara. Once they save up enough money, they plan to move to Melbourne. Kate would like to attend university while there and do more exploring of the vast outback and neighboring New Zealand.

Kate, we all wish you luck in your many adventures!

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