Australian exchange student, Claudia Radburn, arrived in America for the first time with the intention of completing only a year of schooling at DHS. Now, having almost concluded her year here, Radburn is seeking permission to extend her stay until the end of the second semester. The process has been quite complicated and tedious, as Radburn must acquire approval from several places and people in order to attend DHS throughout the rest of the school year.
“First of all, I had to talk to my rotary clubs in America and Australia to make sure they would be okay with [extending my stay], even though my year with them is up,” Radburn says. “I also had to check with my parents, and oddly enough they were the easiest [to convince]. You know, they want what’s best for me and they’re working really hard to help me achieve this.”
Getting permission from DHS has been the most difficult part of the process for Radburn. Australian and American schooling differs in several ways—one of them being that American schools separate their middle schools and high schools, while Australia combines them. This complicates the transfer and interpretation of grades and manuscripts.
While Radburn’s love for Midland and DHS contributed to her decision, these were not the only factors that motivated her to undergo this process.
“The whole reason I’m trying to do this is so I can have an actual graduation because I didn’t get to graduate with my class in Australia,” Radburn says. “They graduated this September, so obviously I didn’t get to be with them for that. When I brought this up with my mom, she thought it would be a really good opportunity for me to experience a graduation and have one with friends.”
Because of strict DHS graduate requirements, Radburn must take on an extremely heavy workload this next semester—a daunting ten classes.
“This is just to guarantee that I graduate on time,” Radburn says. “I have all of my English, elective, and foreign language classes, so all of the classes that I’m missing are like Chemistry, Physics, Advanced Algebra, Government, and Economics.”
However, this process will hopefully be made worth it by the experiences and memories she will continue to make in Midland.
“I love America,” Radburn says. “There is no place on earth I’d rather be more than Midland, Michigan. I love it here and I want to go to college in America and stay here forever. America is my favorite country in the world.”
For more information on student exchange, visit: https://www.rotary.org/en/get-involved/exchange-ideas/youth-exchanges
By Emily Peterson