Colorado Exchange Program

“America is a land full of new sounds, from the buskers on the subways in New York, concerts played in a stage space that had been carved into a rock, to the hiss of an alligator in the Everglades National Park or the cheers from the sidelines of a high school football match, living in America gave me the ability to hear so many new and wonderful sounds.”

“This exchange taught me a lot. From learning a little American Sign Language to realising that I was the one with the accent, not all the people around me! I have come back home with so much new knowledge about the world that surrounds me, oh and the travel bug; where to next?”

“While I was in Colorado, I got the news that back home I was elected to the YMCA Australia’s Young Women’s Council. I am now connected with 15 other young women from across Australia, keen to make a difference in the lives of others.”

“Now I am back home and get to share the wonders of Australia with an American Exchange Student, Sarah. I look forward to opening her ears to the new sounds she will get to experience in Australia, even the 5am wake up calls from the local Kookaburras!”


Aurora was a recipient of a 2018 Youth Grant to assist with her exciting exchange program to Colorado. This gave her the chance to pursue a lifelong dream. Aurora shares her story below:

“On July 22nd 2018, I took off on the adventure of a lifetime. I was heading to America, well to be specific, I was heading to Lakewood Colorado, the sister-city of my local area, the Sutherland Shire to complete a six-month educational exchange, the Suthlake Student Exchange. I was about to head off into the unknown and live with a family I had never met, in a country I have never been to and experience things I never thought I would get to – scary but ever so exciting.

“I lived with the Hoskins family, and their adorable Golden Retriever Louie! I loved getting to know Becky and Alan, and their daughters Sarah and Katherine. Attending Lakewood High School was like living in an American High School movie; it was everything I imagined it to be!”

“Living in Colorado presented me with a plethora of opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my amazing parents and family, and the youth grant I received from Deaf Children Australia.”

“My favourite memory from my exchange was my trip to the Rocky Mountain National Park. I saw epic snow, and well completely freaked out with happiness. I got to see the Aspen leaves in “Fall” AKA Autumn and hear some amazing sounds. I was able to hear Elk bugle – their mating call.”

“For me, a lot of my favourite memories are attached to being able to hear a new sound. In my case of sensorineural hearing loss, I don’t know if I will ever go completely deaf or if it will stay the same – this is all unknown. So I have made it my life goal to experience as many sounds as possible. Thus hearing the Elk bugle, is a sound I didn’t think would be possible for me to hear, it was the most unbelievable experience for me.”

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