WELCOME: Nanango resident Wendy Mathews has welcomed exchange students Aline Pereira and Noa Scholten into her home.
WELCOME: Nanango resident Wendy Mathews has welcomed exchange students Aline Pereira and Noa Scholten into her home. Madeline Grace

Sharing slice of South Burnett paradise

NANANGO resident Wendy Mathews has been hosting exchange students through the Lions program for five years now.

She said she loved sharing her small slice of South Burnett paradise with the girls.

"It's just such a good program and I love being able to share our culture with them,” Ms Mathews said.

"They've only been here three weeks.

"But, we sure have packed a lot into that time.”

This time around Ms Mathews opened her home to Aline Pereira (19) from Brazil, and Noa Scholten (18) from the Netherlands.

The girls said it took them a bit to adjust to life here in the South Burnett, at first.

"Everything is so nice and spread out and pretty,” Ms Pereira said.

"The food is also very different.

"But mostly the biggest difference is how chill everyone is here. It's very different from back home.”

Ms Scholten said the highlight of the South Burnett for her was visiting the Bunya Mountains.

"It was fun seeing all of the nature and animals there,” she said.

"We got to feed the birds and saw lots of wildlife.”

Ms Mathews kept the girls busy.

She took them to the Bunya Mountains, Coomba Falls, camping for the first time, a trip to Maleny, to Movie World, to Toowoomba, and has plans to take them to hold koalas.

Ms Mathews said the program was mutually beneficial.

"We've always had students from different parts of the world,” Ms Mathews said.

"So that way we're learning lots about them and their cultures as well.

"We will probably be having more stay with us next year. It's such a great exchange program and I would encourage any South Burnett families who are interested to get involved. You can host for one week, or for all three. Up to you.”

The girls will be leaving the South Burnett on Saturday, July 20. They will be going to the Sunshine Coast where they will be meeting up with the 20 or so other Lions Club exchange students.

"The program finishes up with a trip where they all get together for a week of fun on the coast,” Ms Mathews said.

Both girls said they were looking forward to exploring the coast and taking part in a variety of water sports.

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