Two international visitors housed by local Whyalla Lions Club member Colleen Pattingale have spent the two weeks learning and loving Whyalla.
Lucia Munzittu from Italy and Jasmine Vader from Canada have spent time getting to know Whyalla and surrounding areas as part of the Lions Exchange Program.
They’ve noticed some startling differences, and marveled at all the attractions the Eyre Peninsula has to offer.
"We went to swim with the Cuttlefish, we went fishing and saw the dolphins. It was amazing to see the dolphins because no one can see the dolphins where I’m from,” Lucia said.
“We also went to the Flinders Ranges and the Barossa Valley which was amazing. This weekend we are going to Adelaide.”
According to Ms Pattingale, the girls have seen every animal except a koala.
“I’m wanting to be a vet in the future so I’m really into the animals and wildlife. Seeing all the different animals that are here has been really amazing,” Jasmine said.
“For me it’s the landscapes, the sky is so different, it looks bigger. I can’t stop looking at it, Jasmine is looking at the animals while I’m looking at the stars,” Lucia said.
One of the major differences for Lucia was the lack of traffic on the road and footpaths.
“This is a town of 20,000 people and no one is on the street. I wonder where all these people are because I live in a town of 10,000 people and everyone is on the street, you can’t move!” she said.
Jasmine became involved in the program through the Leo’s Club, which is effectively a junior Lions Club, while Lucia was informed of the opportunity through her local Lions Club.
It was a daunting trip for Jasmine, as she had never been on a plane before her journey to Whyalla.
“I was extremely nervous because I had to travel alone, and it took me about 38 hours just to get to Whyalla. I was in the air for over 22 hours,” she said.
While the trip was daunting, Jasmine and Lucia have had each other to rely on during their time away from home.
“I’m an only child at home so this is my first time living with someone who is my age so it’s been really good,” Lucia said.
Jasmine has been filling in a journal and will be aiming to produce a scrapbook based on her trip to Whyalla.
“When I go back my Lions Club want me to do a big presentation about it,” she said.
Lucia is also chronicling her time in Whyalla – to the tune of over 1000 photos taken of the steel city. Ms Pattingale said she enjoyed having the girls stay with her and her husband. Next week the duo will be traveling to Melbourne to take part in a camp with others who participated in the exchange program, something they are looking forward to.