Newsletter - A Place To Call Home


​​​These three girls may live 1000 kilometres apart but today, they all call Hervey Bay home.

From Urangan State High School to Inga and Eira's Norwegian home some 15000 kilometres away; to Valentina's home in Stoncone Italy, 16000 kilometres away, these three ladies all gathered on the last day of Term 1, to talk about home.

Inga's family are traditional Norwegian custodians, known as the Saami people.  The family farm reindeers at their home in Kautokeion, a town with a population of just 1445 people. Fluent in four languages (Norwegian, Saami, Finnish and English), Inga described a very different education system to Urangan State High School. In Upper Secondary, you can't choose your subjects, instead you choose a study path; studying 10-12 subjects per week. If you have more than 10% absences, you automatically fail that subject, so you don't want to miss school! It's been 9 months, since Inga arrived on the Urangan State High School door. Since arrival in Queensland, she has been enjoying the beaches and sunsets. She has visited to the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, but camping at K'Gari has been the top destination. 

Eira, also from Norway, had a very different per​spective on home. Living in the countries capital Oslo, home to about 634 293 people, Eira said that Oslo Norwegians have a more direct culture, and in conversation, "you just get to the point.  There is none of this, 'how are you', 'you look nice today'." Eira's study path in Norway, is called a Science Uni path and has some similar subjects as offered at Urangan; Biology, Chemistry and Physics, but with 10 to 12 subjects being studied each week, there a lot more subjects than offered here; Norwegian, religion (mandatory), history (mandatory), a foreign language is mandatory in Year 12. 

Eira is fluent in six languages, English, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and German. A typical day for Eira, ends very late; after school, Eira plays sport and/or dance 5 days a week and gets home for dinner at 11:30pm week nights. Eira loves the school spirit at Urangan, school teams, sports and swimming carnivals, "we don't have this at home. If you want to join a club or play sport, you do this outside of school in Norway."

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A typic​ally day in Valentina's Italian life, involves getting up early as it is a 45-minute bus ride to school and the first class starts at 8:00am. There is one 10-minute break during the school day, and school finishes at 2:00pm; this, occurs six days of the week. "We also, don't change classes, the teachers move from class to class, not the students. If we go out for dinner, we book for 8:30-9:00pm, which is very different to here." Since arriving, Valentino has been sending photos of the Kangaroo's on our Urangan school grounds to her sister and is keen to get up close with a Koala before she returns home.

There were some factors that all three girls agreed on, chips and gravy – "these are the best!"  They had not had gravy before arriving in Australia. On the flip side, when asked what they missed the most from home, food was top of the list. Valentina misses her Nana's meat (cooked in broth) with carrot sauce, Eira will be ordering a plate of blood pancakes as soon as she gets back, and just in case you are wondering, "these are made using the blood from reindeer."   Inga, no surprises here, can't wait to have a reindeer steak!

If you've enjoyed the girl's stories, and would like to hear more, consider becoming a homestay parent. We are currently looking for homestay parents to take students from a range of countries across the world. International students generally stay anywhere from 3 months to 12 months or longer. If you'd like to know more about becoming a homestay parent, contact Trisha Houguet at 41970111 or via email

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Last reviewed 19 April 2023
Last updated 19 April 2023