After five weeks in Australia, I am finally back in the United States! It was so nice to go somewhere warm and escape the winter weather here in the USA. I hadn’t realized that it is the wet season in Australia and I did encounter some rainy days. People think that because I am from Brazil, I know what to expect from a rainforest, but I didn’t live by a rain forest. So it was a bit of a surprise, but made the trip more memorable!
One of my goals for this trip was to meet with the Australian Department of Immigration to discuss the English test requirement that trainees going to Australia were required to take. My meeting with the immigration officers went very well. I was able to explain CAEP’s interview process to them and they agreed to remove the English test requirement for CAEP participants! While all of our Australian participants still need to have a good grasp on the English language, they will no longer have to take the TOEFL test. It was great to have an open conversation with the immigration officers. They were great to talk with! We even talked about other visas, besides the 416 visa, that CAEP could potentially begin sponsoring.
Our Australian hosts are amazing! During my trip, I was able to visit many of our current hosts and trainees. I was shown around the farms an even got to see some sheep being sheered! Many of our Australian hosts are former CAEP interns and trainees, so they know what it was like to be a trainee and know what they wanted to get out of their CAEP experiences. One thing that hosts kept telling me over and over was how much they care about their trainees’ and their trainees’ experiences. Many of the hosts I spoke with encourage their trainees to take days off and go experience the sites around them! It is great to partner with people who are so compassionate and understand what the international exchange experience is all about.
I was also able to visit a few potential hosts while abroad, which means that we will have more opportunities in Australia!
Of course, I was able to do a few fun things during my trip! Can you believe that I went diving with sharks?! It was insane. It was awesome. It was amazing. The adrenaline kicked in and it was so much fun. It is an absolute must if you ever travel to Sydney!
It was definitely a successful trip! I am so excited for our participants who have the opportunity to go to Australia. They are in for a great experience!