On January 3, twenty students and two staff from Ararat left Australia, bound for the USA. Our first stop was Los Angeles, where we spent four days visiting Universal Studios, Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, as well as spending a day in San Diego.
From there we travelled to San Francisco. We visited Alcatraz, toured the city, rode the traditional cable car, and enjoyed the sights at Fisherman’s Wharf.
After two days in San Francisco it was time to travel further north to the city of Seattle, where we would spend the remainder of our trip. In Seattle we met our host families, and spent two days experiencing an American school. We also toured some of the sights in Seattle, including Pyke’s Market, the Museum of Pop Culture, Snoqualmie Falls and the viewing deck at the Columbia Centre. We also enjoyed an afternoon’s shopping at an outlet centre, snapping up bargains for shoes and clothes, meaning many suitcases went home much heavier than when we left! We ventured out of the city for a day in the snow at Snoqualmie, where many of the students tried skiing or snowboarding.
Overall it was an amazing three weeks. While everyone felt a bit nervous about staying with host families, they were all fantastic, and did everything they could to make us feel welcome and to show us parts of Seattle that we would not otherwise have had the opportunity to visit.
We arrived back in Australia on January 22, exhausted but with memories which will last a lifetime. We would thoroughly recommend the trip to any students who might consider travelling in the future.
Some of the highlights included:
· The guided tour of Alcatraz
· The studio back lot tour at Universal Studios
· Attending a semi-professional ice hockey game and soaking up the unbelievable atmosphere
· The snowball fights, especially at Snoqualmie (final score, Miss Jacobs 20, Brock 8, James 4)
· The rides at Disneyland, especially Hyperspace Mountain
· Sky view at the Columbia Centre
· Old Town in San Diego
· The Hollywood night tour and seeing the stars on Hollywood Boulevard
· Touring San Francisco at night by limousine
· Walking (or running) across the Golden Gate Bridge
· Shopping at Walmart
· The Underground Tour in Seattle
Brock Will, Lachie Fiegert, Mai Ngyuen, James Mullin, Mabel Molloy and Ashlee Sewastenko