News

Lions help form new friends

Ilgim Cengiz, Julianna Miller and Manom Bax were in Nanango for about three weeks.
Ilgim Cengiz, Julianna Miller and Manom Bax were in Nanango for about three weeks. Tobi Loftus

NANANGO residents welcomed three girls from three different countries, here on a month-long exchange, into their town at a barbecue on Sunday.

The girls were staying with local couple Wendy and Scott Mathews as part of the Lions Youth Exchange program.

Over their three weeks in Nanango the girls visited the Bunya Mountains, the Gold Coast, went go-karting and spent several days in Nanango State High School.

Ilgim Cengiz grew up in a seaside town near the city of Bursa in Turkey.

The 17-year-old Year 11 student, who likes to play volleyball and taekwondo, said she wanted to take part in the exchange as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

"You can't find this opportunity when you go on holiday,” Ilgim said.

"You can't really experience the culture or live the lifestyle.

"Living with the host family, we can see everything and learn the culture.”

She said the biggest difference she noticed was how people treat meals here.

"Meals are the most important thing for Turkish people,” she said.

"For the dinner, there are lots of desserts, everyone sits together for hours.

"When we have guests in our home, we always have a kiss. Here, everyone just says hi.”

Ilgim said the school day was also longer, cramming in nine lessons.

"I think our lessons in Turkey are harder, it can be very hard,” she said.

"We don't chose our lessons, we have to take everything.

"Our school is only three buildings and we have a special cafeteria for lunch and breakfast.”

Manom Bax recently graduated from high school and is set to start business school in September.

Before starting that new chapter of her life, after years of pressure from her father, the 17-year-old decided to leave her small village in the south of the Netherlands and come to Nanango for a month with the Lions Youth Exchange.

"My father is involved in Lions back home,” Manom said.

"He told me when I was 15, he said you have to go, you have to go, I said okay.

"This year I could finally go and I'm glad I did.”

She said her small village in the Netherlands was similar in some ways to Nanango, but there were differences.

"Everyone has a lot of space here, but in the Netherlands every space is used,” she said.

"Here, the grass is just growing and nobody cares about it. That is fun to see.”

Julianna Miller, who is about to enter her final year of school, arrived in Nanango on exchange from a small town in West Virginia, USA.

"It was on our morning announcements at school, no one ever listens to the morning announcements except for me,” the 17-year-old said.

"The culture is pretty much the same as West Virginia, though there are small differences.”

She said the biggest difference she noticed was within the schooling system, where more subjects were offered in the States.

"At home the school is just one building, we have a cafeteria, no one pays for lunch, here you have to pay for lunch,” she said.

"It's expensive, like $4.”

Julianna said the girls, who were complete strangers before they spent the past few weeks together, had formed a special bond.

"We've been living together, using the same bathroom, all doing our hair at the same time,” she said.

"We're at the point now where we sing in the car together. We've come pretty far along.

"It's like we're sisters now. I feel like I'm home.”

Ilgim and Manom said they both felt similar.

"I feel I have another family in Australia now,” Ilgim said.

"I have sisters now as well. I feel like I'm home here.”

South Burnett

Topics:  lions youth exchange nanango lions club the netherlands turkey united states of america


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Wait a minute, Mr Postman: 4306 up for debate

TOWN HALL: Australia post Queensland State manager Angela Creedon and area manager Cole James address Blackbutt residents over postcode issues.

Australia post may finally move on postcode.

Cash juggle to fund hall move

The final piece of the hall being moved in Blackbutt last week.

Council needed to find $160,000 to finish the job.

Five things to do this weekend

MAN IN BLACK: Jeff Carter as Johnny Cash.

There's plenty on this weekend in the South Burnett.

Local Partners

Buskers wanted for Avocado Festival

BLACKBUTT Avocado Festival organisers are on the hunt for buskers to perform at the 2017 event.

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

Tables turn as rescue crew takes on gruelling mountain

EPIC CHALLENGE: Hundreds of runners will tackle the 4.2km run from the heart of Pomona to the top of Mt Cooroora and back on Sunday.

They are usually the people coming to the rescue of adventurers

VIDEO: Girls can feel safe at Splendour

Punters at Splendour in the Grass 2016 at Byron Bay.

High visibility police will be among the crowd at all times

Maggie's whirlwind trip around Japan

Cooking icon serves up the best of Japanese cuisine and shows you how to make it at home in her new TV special.

Exploring our complex relationship with the Southern Cross

Warwick Thornton in a scene from his documentary film We Don't Need A Map.

Filmmaker Warwick Thornton explores national identity, nationalism.

Ben will be cooking with Oma

Masterchef 2017 contestant Ben Ungermann.

MASTERCHEF'S last man standing will draw on his Dutch heritage.

Prince Charles and Camilla heading for Qld

Prince Charles and Camilla

It promises to be a holiday fit for a King

Eddie McGuire to come back as Footy Show co-host

Eddie McGuire at the Million Dollar Lunch annual fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Foundation in Melbourne, Friday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING

Footy Show axes Craig Hutchison, Sam Newman survives

Channing Tatum’s cheeky $2400 sex toy prank

Channing Tatum in a scene from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle".

Channing Tatum went all out with his prank this time

Still downloading Game of Thrones? Expect a letter

You mean to tell me HBO want to protect one of the world’s most popular shows?

HBO title holds record as most illegally downloaded show

Owner tells of ghostly goings on at old Mackay pub

GHOST STORIES: Several people have died at the Mirani Hotel

Owner says pub is 'definitely haunted'

Developers 'pushing the envelope' with subdivisions

Darren Boettcher.

"When I said the block couldn't be subdivided, he just walked out"

'We don't want taken away': Death of big block lifestyle

BACKYARD BATTLE: Residents on Laloki St, Camira are desperately fighting to stop a subdivision and construction of a duplex going ahead in their street.

Wide open spaces could be thing of the past

Locky eyes next 'series' win

WINNING COMBINATION: Rugby league great Darren Lockyer is to launch his collection of house designs with Ausmar on Saturday at Caloundra.

NRL legend Darren Lockyer in Sunshine Coast partnership

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!