Testimonials from International Students


I would like to thank you again for supporting me and the other International students this first semester. It was a pleasure being at this school and it wasn't easy saying goodbye for me at all. I had an absolutely amazing and awesome time in Australia.  

As well our International camp was a wonderful time, we all wanted to stay (:  You have a great school and I loved it from the beginning on, I will recommend this school to others if I have the opportunity.
I have so many memories now, which I will never forget! Thank you again for your choice to have had me at Kirwan.

I miss Kirwan and all my friends as well as my host family heaps. I hope I have the chance to come back one day and to see everything is still the same. You helped me turning my idea of an exchange into an incredible life time experience. Thank you for everything.
Elli, Year 11, Germany

I'm Juline from Germany and I stay in Townsville for 7 months. Two of them already passed so quickly, because the school and our Homestay Coordinators supported us so much.

At first there is Lorraine Duve and Elena Hawkins, the first people we talk to when we have problems, want to change subjects or even host families. They support us in my case for example I wanted to make a trip to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra (EQI Holiday Program) in the school holidays to see something of the rest of Australia, but unfortunately it was actually too late to apply for that trip. But then Lorraine called heaps of people, to offer me the opportunity to do that amazing trip. And only because she supported me so much. I am going to Sydney in 3 days and I can't describe how happy I am to go there and how thankful I am for Lorraine's support.

Anyway, that is only a tiny bit of everything the school and our homestay coordinators offer us International students to have an unforgettable stay here and to make the most of it. Furthermore we have kind of culture days at the moment, where we learn about the Aboriginal and Australian culture. We have the opportunity to learn how to throw boomerangs or how to play the didgeridoos.

It is awesome how much the school and everyone around us wants to offer us the best. It makes all of us internationals grow together and we can just enjoy, because we know, if anything happens, we can figure it out! I am very thankful.
Juline, Year 11, Germany

It's been a long time since I arrived back in Germany but I am with my family and friends, even though I miss my Aussies a lot! I wanted to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to have whilst studying and this school is just amazing. Everyone is just so welcoming: The students, the teachers, the office, just everybody. And I just wanted to show my thankfulness in sending you some German treats.

Thank you again to Lorraine and Mrs Hawkins who kept us on the right track during our stay and to keep the balance between school and experiences. Thank you to Mrs Wenta for letting me come to this wonderful school and being part of your community. Last but definitely not least my teachers for supporting me and helping me! You made me just feel so welcome and part of the school.
Toni, Year 10, Germany 

It's been almost 2 months now that I'm back in Germany and I miss everything a lot. I really enjoyed my year and the time at Kirwan High and I'm never going to forget those experiences I made. So I just want to thank you for all your help and support and I'm definitely going to come back, maybe next year….
Julian, Year 11, Germany 

I would like to thank you for supporting me and the other International students. You have a great school and I loved it from the beginning. I will recommend this school to others if I have the opportunity. You helped me turn my idea of an exchange into an incredible life time experience. Thank you for everything.
Elli, student, Year 11, Germany

I can talk about everything with them and they (Host family) are always there for me. They are a really lovely family. I am really lucky. In every thing they do they include me. We went camping. Camping was never so nice for me
Helena, Year 10, Germany


I want to send dearest thanks back for the whole support during my time in Australia. My parents were truly proud when they saw me printed in the prospectus of Kirwan. I really would like to come back to Australia. I browse through pictures and memories of this awesome time, which was only possible with your help and your involvement with international students. Thank you for helping me with everything.
Sebastian, Year 11, Germany

Thank you and Lorraine for all your effort, I had the best time of my life and I really appreciate you making a big difference in that.
Luise, Year 11, Germany


Germany compared to Australia is very small. You have longer ways and everything is one size bigger heavier and stronger. Everyone is more relaxed and don't take everything so serious. I love it! The most Australians I've meet are living their lives and enjoy themselves. I think that's a very good way to live because you don't stress yourself. Everyone is so friendly and so nice and helpful! I want to say thank you to all of the people they helped me in School and in everything else!
Lys, Year 11, Germany

My host family is very nice. I like having young siblings as I don't have them at home. It is nice being part of an Australian family even for a short time, and they can show me very much about Australia.
Leonie, Year 11, Germany


Ms Hawkins, thank you for everything you have done for us. You are an amazing person and a great teacher! I can't express how much you have meant for me during these past 12 months.

The help with my (BSDE) German exams, the funny chats and the comfort and love. We will miss you so much, and remember that you will always have a home in Norway.
Tuva and Duda, Year 12, Norway


Hello! I am Valentina. I am from Italy and I have been here for 5 months. Deciding to leave my world for visiting another completely different one was one of my best choices of my life.

I mean, don't misunderstand, I missed my family and my friends but…. Here I had the time of my life. The place is wonderful (even if a bit too hot for me). The people are so nice and school was amazing.

Trying to integrate into this culture was just wonderful… and when I had problems? No worries, Elena and Lorraine have been the best counsellors ever, they just tried to make our experience the best ever.

I really enjoyed school, the breaks, parades, and even the uniform! And how can't I mention all the other international students and all the activities done together? Boomerang painting and throwing, cooking and shopping centre after school. I am completely sure I will never forget my time here, between kangaroos and joeys, snakes and spiders.

And this experience has been the best ever mainly because of the wonderful community which helped me.
Valentina, Year 11, Italy


Thanks for sending me my report card :)   I'm good but I miss Australia and I miss Kirwan High! I had awesome teachers, great subjects and I enjoyed being part of every single class I had.

Everything's really different here in Austria - but I guess that's just a reason for me to come back to Townsville soon :)
Sonja, Year 11, Austria


They (Homestay Family) try to show me a lot. They look in books where they can go with me – Ross River Dam, Reef HQ, V8 Super cars, soccer games. My host family has 2 girls who are 4 years and 8 years. My own brother is 14 years, so it is nice to have sisters!
Claire, Year 11, Luxembourg


The students attending Kirwan SHS are very open for new friendships and are really nice. The first day we came to school as international students, the other kids would all come up to us, ask questions and enjoy talking to us. It made it a lot easier to fit in. I really enjoyed making new friends at school. I really like how you can play a sport for a class because I was able to try volleyball and now I really enjoy the sport. I also like how we have two lunch breaks. It gives us some time to socialize while at school and not have to sit in class for a straight five hours.

Lastly, the administration is fantastic. They are all very supportive of the international program and have made it easy for us to adapt to the new culture and school. The school provided us with dinners and events so we can do fun activities together. They also organized a weekend trip to Airlie Beach. It was the most beautiful beach I have ever been to. We went to a beach called White Haven, which is the whitest beach. We went ocean rafting, snorkelling on the reef, and bush walking.
Lindsay, Year 11, USA


I want to thank you for helping me, Lorraine! You've been so good to me. I don't think I can ever thank you enough. I'm so happy about my stay in Townsville, and I will never regret anything about it (maybe that i didn't enjoy every single moment, because I miss it! .. I miss you, I miss my host family and I just miss Australia) .. You were there for me, helped me though everything. And now, I'm a different and more confident person. I'm so happy about my stay in Australia, though it brought me lots of tears. I have learnt so much! Please tell that to any other exchange student who's feeling home sick. Thank you Lorraine!
Karoline, Year 11, Denmark


When I first arrived here I was so lost but I noticed in a few days that the people here are really helpful and everybody here is really nice when you need help.
Vitor, Year 11, Brazil

Testimonials from homestay families

Being a homestay family and hosting an international high school student is such a great experience – both ways!

The friendship bonds and sharing/learning of different countries and cultures is priceless. The next best thing to travelling overseas as a family, is hosting an international student.
Kathy and Andrew, Homestay parents

We have been a homestay family for Kirwan State High School since 2016 and have had so many positive experiences hosting international students. The students have generally been very mature, respectful and considerate for their age and integrated into our family very easily. We have always treated the students like our own children and grown very fond of most of them while they have stayed in our home for three to six months. 

Many of them have stayed in contact with us after they returned to their home countries and we have visited them and their families overseas and been warmly welcomed into their homes.
Lorraine and Elena, the Kirwan High School International Student Coordinators have consistently been very professional and supportive over that time and have always been contactable, even on weekends, when we needed their advice or assistance. 
Daly and Holly, Homestay parents


Sandra and I have been homestay parents for approximately 7 years now. We have had girls from Germany, Norway, Brazil, Italy, Switzerland. The girls have easily immersed themselves in our family way of life and have become instant daughters and are treated as such. My wife enjoys having teenagers around her and doing the girlie things with them. They are taken on mini get aways, show casing the places of North Queensland that they would never experience.

We have never had and issues regarding our girls. They all have a great time and all make the comments that they don't wish to go.

The fact that all our girls continue to remain in contact and even come back on holidays is a testimonial of the bond between the homestay parent and the visitors.
John and Sandra, Homestay parents


We've been lucky to have several international homestay students from EQI stay with us in the past couple of years.  We enjoy bringing them into our family and routines and showing them what life is like for us in Townsville.  We try to treat the homestay students the same as our own children and everyone has jobs to do in the house.  We celebrate their birthdays, run them around to social gatherings, take them on holidays with us and generally involve them in everything we do.  We have enjoyed being exposed to different cultures and languages and look forward to meeting new students in the future.
Dion and Sandra, Homestay parents


My children had just moved out of home this year so I had three spare bedrooms and was teenager free for the first time in years. And can you believe I wanted kids back in the house! It felt too odd without them there. So I heard about being a host Mum and thought it was perfect. Along came Freddy, and a month later, along came Joey. Now it's a house of three different cultures, music and sports, camping and travelling. I can't wait to show them Australia.
Leta, Homestay parent


The girls are so very excited and Sophia (International student) said to me the other day…."I did not cry when I left my family to come here, but I will cry when I leave you and Taylah" (Homestay sister).

The girls are an absolute delight, I love them so very much.  I took the girls out twilight sailing last Wednesday, they absolutely loved it, it was amazing, and they could not get over it, and we sent photos back home.  The girls have asked if they could bring a couple of other internationals as they were telling them about it and they are keen to come so I am trying to organise for next Wednesday night.  Thankyou so much for this amazing experience Taylah and I are loving it.
Sonja, Homestay parent


We've been hosting internationals now for just one year and I can honestly say it's one of the best decisions we've made in regards to our natural children who are 7 and 8 years old.  We've hosted a total of five students so far and each one of them has brought great knowledge and enthusiasm to our girls. The cultural exposure my Australian kids are coming to learn about is hands down more than I can ever teach them. The hardest part is always goodbye :( 
Margaret, Homestay parent


We had fun with them and they had fun with us. It was a great learning experience for the family as well as our international students. We still keep in contact with them.
Russell, Homestay parent


I'd like to take this chance to thank you both for supporting Laura (International student) and our family during Laura's time here.  When we started all this, we did it because it was something our daughter Rachel wanted to do, so we did it for her.  We never dreamed that Laura would become such a huge part of our family or make her way into our hearts the way she has.  She has taken the bull by the horns and made the best of every opportunity here to maximise her experience and we have enjoyed every moment with her.  She has carefully managed herself, her school work, her time and her money incredibly well.  We have told her parents many times how well she has represented herself and her family, and also that we are very proud of her. 

Laura has made unique relationships with each one of us, and we all enjoy having her here.  You ladies and all the team at Kirwan High have provided so many chances for Laura and all her international friends to experience what it's like to be a student here, so thank you to you all.  This is one of the best experiences our family has ever had and one we will never forget.  The only bad thing now will be saying goodbye to Laura and sending her home to her family next week.
Lyndal and Mark, Homestay parents


Our family joined the EQI program two years ago and we have hosted five students since then from a number of different countries – Italy, Norway, and Brazil.  One of the key reasons we began hosting students was for the experience it would provide our son who was 11yrs old at the time.  Being the only child at home, the international students have become like brothers and sisters who he can have fun with. We are a camping family and have had some great adventures to places including Porcupine Gorge and Undara Lava Tubes with our students.  It helps remind us to get out into in the bush & have some fun.  A bonus this year was visiting two of our students back home in Brazil with their families.
 Kylie, Homestay parent


Just to let you know that we are going to Rollingstone Big 4 event this weekend. Also, Araine is a model home stay student. She helps around the house and goes along with just about anything that we or the kids plan. No problems with anything at all. 
Jeff, Homestay parent

From parents and agents of international students

Pamina's mother is very happy and would like to thank not only our organization but also Kirwan SHS, especially you and the principal for the outstanding support. Pamina enjoyed her time in Australia a lot and it was hard for her to say Good-bye and to settle back in Germany. She definitely wants to return to Australia after her high school graduation.

 So thank you so much for making this stay for Pamina such a joyful experience. Thank you for your support and nice communication! Maybe I'll get the chance to visit you and to thank you personally.
Christine, Qualified Education Agent Counsellor, Australien-Ausbildung


We are so happy to see that Ronny had a wonderful year in Townsville and he did excellent at school. We are so proud of him. Thanks for sharing the report. 

He is enjoying his holidays for the moment before he is catching up to next level in school here. 

Thanks for help you have provided under his stay in Australia. We will hopefully come and visit you in Australia in future. 
Ricky, Parent, Norway


I found it very reassuring that you (Homestay coordinator) had taken such care for Rachele - not an easy request for placements with all her special requirements so a massive thanks to you and your team.
Emma, Qualified Education Agent Counsellor, Educatius Group


My daughter has gone to Kirwan SHS. I feel that the coordinators she meets with are very serious about their job, and are very helpful towards all the questions there are from both us as parents and from the students.

They are good at problem solving and take good care of the young people - it doesn't matter when or where. 

There are many good activities planned for the students and the coordinators are always ready to a chat if something isn't ok.
 Birthe, parent, Denmark


Thank you very much for your kind words about Lisanna. Great to hear that everyone is happy. Given the nice environment at Kirwan HS and all the support from your side, it seems to be easy to be delighted indeed.
Andreas, parent, Germany


Yes, we are so proud of Eva! She has matured in such a wonderful way during the time she has spent in Australia. Thank you so much.
Brent, parent, Norway


Thank you Lorraine for this update! I am thankful for all the wonderful care and experiences Joe has had while there in Australia, in school and with his homestay family. We are looking forward to his return though! We miss him! It is good to know he has made some good friends there. Thanks so much!  
Cathie & John, parents, USA


I just wanted let you know that we have received really positive feedback from our student Johanna's mum. Johanna is enjoying every minute of her stay there with you and seems to have settled in really well. In fact she likes it so much that she has mentioned to her mum that she is thinking about extending her stay (for another term).
Marie Thumm, Educational Consultant – GLS High School

Testimonials from Study Tours

On behalf of Hinode High school and 16 Japanese students, I would like to thank everyone involved with the program. It is obviously difficult for us to find proper adjectives to express our feelings of how "11-day-long experience" was beautiful. Now, a kind of "Kirwan fever" is still overwhelming the students and what they say is "we miss Kirwan...."

This could be true that the time my students spent with their buddies, friends and families in Townsville becomes dramatic moment in both Australian and Japanese students' life.

Surprisingly, almost 10 students out of 16 have already "declared" for applying for the program next year.

Also, I heard some of the Japanese students will come and see their friends in this December.

Now my school is starting planning to do the program next year in a few days.

I wish I can see everyone in Kirwan State High School soon.

Takashi, Hinode High School, Tokyo Japan


Thank you for the lovely picture and many wonderful gifts. Kohta (son) talked to me about his experiences in your home in excitement. How lovely your sons are! How delightful the fishing trip was!

I was surprised to hear that he ate Kangaroo. In Japan, we can see Kangaroos at the zoo only. I felt he was so very happy during his visit to Australia. Please extend my gratitude to your family.

Yuko, parent, Japan

Testimonials from Teachers

Over the years I have had the privilege of welcoming a number of international students from different countries into my senior English and Ancient History classrooms. 

Without a doubt, you see the growth and development in both their learning and in their confidence as young people.  They are able to bring different perspectives on global issues to the classroom,  and their presence also enables the reciprocal  sharing of cultures.  

The International Student program is a rich and rewarding opportunity for intercultural connections. Thus, it is obvious to all that welcoming international students into our classrooms and our school benefits not only these students' growth, but the growth of our own students and the Kirwan High community.

Joanne, Head of Department, Kirwan SHS

As a French foreign language teacher, I have always found the International students in my classes help to "raise the bar" in academic and classroom environment terms. They are always people who value education, have strong opinions and ideals and are respectful and grateful for assistance. They tend to become leaders in the class, as they provide excellent role models and the other students like to learn from them.

The benefits of having an International student in a foreign language class are obvious and unlimited, depending on the individuals involved; but the benefits of having them in an English class are even better and provide a profound learning curve for some of the monolingual English speakers.

I know that immersing yourself in another country and culture is probably the most memorable experience any adolescent can experience. Yet, the effect of introducing an international student into a Kirwan State High School classroom brings a new perspective to the domestic students and is equally intense and rewarding.

Kelly, Language and English teacher, Kirwan SHS


The international students I have had in my PE classes have been an asset to our classes. Not only are they polite and studious but the knowledge that they bring to our class benefits the other students as they are able to transfer their own understanding of topics and skills to their new Australian peers.

Caitlin, HPE teacher, Kirwan SHS

It has been really great having Francesco and Elena in our Home Group (HGR). They have provided the group with fantastic geography knowledge and often speak up during extended HGR to contribute to the issues we're talking about. We have been learning about their cultures, and been able to teach them about Australia too, including some Australian words and slang. I think it has been really beneficial for both of them, as well as our Australian students in our HGR.

Emma, Teacher, Kirwan SHS

The international students open a window on their cultures, languages, geographies, life journeys and world views. Their presence in the classroom presents opportunities too good to miss and our students truly love interacting with them. As a teacher of the Humanities they offer a unique chance to educate my students and help them become Global Citizen and agents of change.

Rob, Humanities teacher, Kirwan SHS


Gianmarco was a BRILLIANT student and he won several Kirwan SHS Academic Awards last year. He also had an exceptional talent playing the keyboard. Gianmarco was our special guest playing our Baby Grand Piano at our prestigious Kirwan High Graduation and Awards Ceremony. We were able to live stream his performance so his family back in Italy could watch his performance. They were thrilled about that.
Elena, Head of Department, Kirwan SHS


The International students have had a positive influence on my other students. The international students have been promoting their countries and this has led our domestic students to have a greater understanding of these other countries and cultures.
Steve, Head of Department, Kirwan State High School


The International Students bring the world to Kirwan. They bring their experiences from Europe and the Americas. They help to show a different kind of normal, that is, how they do things in their culture.
Rochelle, ESL teacher, Kirwan State High School

My story

More indepth stories can be found below:

Last reviewed 11 September 2019
Last updated 11 September 2019