Aussie trip awaits two local exchange students | VailDaily.com

Aussie trip awaits two local exchange students

Scott N. Miller

Special to the DailyNo trip to Australia is complete without kissing a kangaroo, as Moore is doing here.

EAGLE-VAIL – Christina Harrison is a different kid than she was a year ago. A trip to Australia is a big reason why.Harrison and Kyle Moore, both seniors this year at Battle Mountain High School, are the most recent “ambassadors” in the Vail Valley Exchange program. Harrison, Moore and their families welcomed a pair of Australian students last winter. Those kids – who live near the Mount Bullard resort Down Under – worked for Vail Resorts for about six weeks.In June, Harrison and Moore went to Australia to stay with the youngsters who had stayed with them.

Harrison worked as an intern for a few weeks at the “High Country Times,” the local newspaper in Mansfield. She did basic office work, of course, but also worked on a few stories, which reinforced her desire to study journalism in college.”It was the best summer I’ve ever had,” she said. “It was just amazing.”And during her time in Australia, Harrison blossomed.”This trip was huge for her,” said Chip Domke, director of the Vail Valley Exchange program. “It really brought her out. I’ve told people that it’s like talking to a whole different woman now.”

To get to Australia, Harrison had to apply, write an essay, and then go through an interview with program board members.”That was nerve-wracking,” Harrison said. “They asked why I wanted to go, why I’m a good candidate.”But the two students a year who participate in the program get a great deal. Specifically, the exchange program provides each participant with round-trip airfare and $500 in spending money.Harrison’s eager to return to Australia, both to see new friends – who quickly nicknamed her “America” – but, perhaps, to go to college.”I’d really like to study international journalism,” she said.

And that’s the sort of thing a few weeks in another country can do.”This can be a real life-changing experience for a kid,” Domke said.Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 613, or smiller@vaildaily.com.

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