Sydney to Santa Clarita

Vanessa McLaughlin, Staff Writer

Moving is a difficult process for many people. Even from a short distance, it creates a saddening impact because adjusting to a new life is hard, but moving to a new country can be the hardest change of all.

For Australian siblings Taryn and Deanna Stevens, moving here was not their decision. Now in high school, they had to move in the middle of their school year, which meant losing friends, relationships and a sense of home. 

“We didn’t know how long we were moving for,” freshman Deanna Stevens explains. “We were only allowed to bring two suitcases of stuff with us so we had to leave a lot of our belongings behind.” 

From Sydney to Santa Clarita, it did not take long for them to adjust to their new life as meeting new friends and fitting in was not hard for the Stevens. 

“I like the friendships that I’ve made because everyone is more talkative and in Australia, they don’t talk as much. Here everyone’s more interested and engaged,” Taryn told The Paw Print. 

She mentioned that the high schoolers here are a bit more chaotic:  “Everyone in my grade is so focused and mature, and I came here and they’re just immature.” 

The maturity in Taryn’s old peers is reflected by the school system back in Australia.

 “Over there, everyone seems to mature quicker because when you’re in high school — in year seven — then you’re like ‘oh, they’re the newbies.’ By year nine, you’re kind of respected, and year ten, you are expected to man up and become seniors because you’re almost done,” Taryn recalls of her time in school. 

Not only are the grades for high school different, but the classes themselves are different. 

“We have five periods a day, and each class is 45 minutes. With things like math, we won’t have algebra and geometry. We learn the basics of it in our first years of high school and then build on it as we get older. You can quit math after year ten. You’re allowed to leave school in year ten if you have an apprenticeship like hairdressing or building. Over 50% is a C, and you’re not allowed to fail a class. It just doesn’t happen. You don’t fail.” 

Australia is not much different than the United States, and there are many myths and stereotypes about this country that are untrue. 

“Someone thought we had  to wear harnesses to attach us to the ground so we didn’t fall off the earth since Australia was upside down,” Deanna explains.

U.S. citizens also think that Australia is filled with some of the most dangerous animals in the world. This is partially true because they do have some of the most threatening animals, but some of the most wild creatures are located in Africa, Asia, and Mexico — the list goes on before it reaches Australia.

Though there were initially some differences and misconceptions, Deanna and Taryn Stevens are now part of our West Ranch community. Our diverse cultures at West Ranch are what makes the school so special. These siblings had a hard time leaving their home and belongings, so make sure to make them feel welcome and say “Hello!”