For Eliza Woods, Monday was a bittersweet day.
After spending several months in Red-wood Falls she went to class at RVHS for the last time and said goodbye to the friends she has made since first arriving in town.
Woods, who participated in an exchange student program, is likely back home in Australia by now, but Monday afternoon she was still thinking about all she has learned and all of the things she is going to miss.
“I have loved it here,” said Woods. “I want to thank everyone who made my experience worth it.”
Woods arrived in Minnesota Aug. 9 and spent the next five months learning what it means to live small town America life through the eyes of the Martin and Virginia Fabrizius family.
Woods had good things to say about her host family, adding she got along very well with them and really helped to make her experience away from home a positive one.
While many exchange students hail from larger communities and often have to adjust not only to a new culture but also to small-town life, Woods made the transition much easier.
“I come from a town of about 8,000,” said Woods, who calls Forbes, New South Wales, Australia home. “So, there wasn’t much of an adjustment that way for me.”
As an English speaking exchange student that transition was easier, and Woods agreed that likely made getting involved and fitting in that much easier. Of course, even though she speaks English the language is a bit different, and Woods said there were times when communication was not as easy.
Woods said she just recently spoke to her parents, and said they did not notice her English was that different after speaking Minnesotan for so long.
Woods said she enjoyed the chance to get involved in school activities, such as cross country, dance team and gymnastics, add-ing she also enjoyed the classes she took, especially learning about U.S. history.
“I’m going to miss all of it,” she said. “There are little bits of everything I am really going to miss.”
Woods is going to get a bit of a break at home before starting Grade 11, with classes starting Jan. 31.
Woods said she plans to do some water skiing when she arrives back home – something she likes to do with her family.
Woods also said goodbye to winter when she boarded the plane and headed home, as it is much warmer this time of year in Australia.
“Just the other day it was 118 degrees,” back home,” she said.
Woods reiterated her thanks to everyone who made her time in Redwood Falls so much fun, and she encouraged everyone who is thinking about being an exchange student to “do it.”