2019-20 - Jasper Holst - Schwarzenbeck, Germany

2020-06-03 Jasper Holst - Youth Exchange Student



The Rotary Club of Corowa was forced to meet by electronic means (ZOOM) for a few months due to the lock down imposed by COVID restrictions. Jasper was able to join our Club meeting one evening by ZOOM, and he gave his final presentation which he had been unable to deliver in person before he left Australia.

He thanked his host families for their hospitality and the Club for their friendship, then outlined the trips he had been on, the Mittagundi experience and the friends he had made - all illustrated by photos. He is looking forward to being able to return to Australia some time in the future. As his Safari had been cancelled, he is particularly keen to see parts of this country which he had been looking forward to seeing. 

Thank you to the families that hosted Jasper. Thank you to Jasper for his presentation. It was such a disappointing end to his Exchange with the Covid19 impacting. Thank you for the great times we had with you whilst you were here in Australia.

Best Wishes



G’Day mate, it really was a pleasure to get to meet all of you.

What I experienced in this Rotary Club is that really everyone is welcome and I have to say I felt like it was another home for me. I really enjoyed my year here and I am so sorry and sad by myself that I couldn’t say goodbye or rather “see you later MATE” to lots of you. But I am sure I will come back one day and see that lots has changed, or maybe nothing will change but what I can say that this year changed me a lot and I will take all those great experiences home with me and will never forget those friends and family’s I made here.

These circumstances are hard for everyone at the moment but with this I really just want to say thank you again, for everyone who made my exchange year to what it was. Thank you for forming a part of my personality and thank you for a bloody good year.

I hope I can stay in contact with the great Rotary Club of Corowa. I won’t forget how much I learned out of this year and I really hope more exchange students after me will get the same opportunity too.


I hope everyone stays safe, I arrived good and healthy here at home now, lots of love Jasper

Picture: Jasper safely with his mum and Dad back in Germany

2020-03-30 The Rotary Club of Corowa

It seems like only yesterday that Jasper travelled from his home in Germany and joined us in Corowa to live life as an Aussie! What a wonderful time we have had with him! Unfortunately Covid-19 has meant an early end to his exchange but not before he was able to make lifelong friends, gain three extra families and learn a lot about our Aussie ways. Jasper has been a true ambassador for his country and Rotary Youth Exchange, always smiling, ready to help and give things a go. We wish him well as he returns to his family (also in isolation) and hope that he gets to return and tick a few more things off his bucket list. Travel safely and take care Jasper, we will miss your happy, smiling face🇧🇪🇦🇺😘❤

2020-03-30 Auf Wiedersehen Jasper!


After a meeting of all Australia District Governors, it has been decided to suspend the Youth Exchange rogram for 12 months nationally in all formats.

This will mean there will be no inbound students arriving from overseas in July/August 2020, and there will be no outbound students in January 2021.

We are hoping, depending on the COVID-19 situation, that we may be able to accept inbound students again in July/August 2021, and our next group of out bounds will be in January 2022.

We appreciate the decision of the DG’s and it is in the best interest of not only the program, but also all people associated with this truly life changing youth program of Rotary International.

Bruce McIntyre, Chairman, District 9790 Youth Exchange

Pictured: Jasper in the Corowa Federation Parade representing Youth Exchange an Rotary

2020-03-30 Farewell Jasper - Message from host Mum Deb Rowe


With great sadness Guy & I took Jasper to a strangely quiet Tullamarine Airport on Monday 30th March. Jasper’s stay with us was very short, but we were delighted to have such a lovely young man become part of our family. Unfortunaetly Covid-19 put a damper on Jaspers social life, but not before he was able to attend the CDHBU Debutante Ball.

In Jasper’s last weeks, before further restrictions on social isolating, he was able to visit the Brown’s and experience kayaking with Graham. He was also able to catch up with Paul, Meredith and Stephen. have a brief good bye to the teachers at the Corowa High, but sadly not with his friends. 

In his last few weeks with us we wandered around the Whitehead Street Wetlands at sunset - always a nice walk. Jasper grew at least 4cm whilst here, possibly more as he hasn’t been measured for a few months!! It turns out that Jasper can cook - I just wish I’d discovered that a bit sooner. He produced a very yummy stuffed capsicum dish, one of his favorites from home. 

I know the Club  would have wanted the opportunity to spend more time with Jasper and also to be able to say goodbye to him. He was very disappointed to be leaving early - the decision was greatly influenced by the German government and consequently Rotary. It was a difficult position for Oliver and Susann - Jasper's parents - so ultimately they decided to get Jasper home. We thank them for letting us have their son for as long as we did. Guy & I are very thankful for again having the opportunity to be host parents.

Yours in Rotary, Deb Rowe




Spending months with a competitive sporting family resulted in Jasper training with the Corowa Rutherglen Football Club. He managed to get one practice game in before sport stopped nationwide. They didn’t quite manage to turn him into a cricketer but he did go and watch the final and celebrated afterwards with the Lavis clan.

2020-02-12 Jasper – Progress Report

Gooday mate!

Jasper was hosted by his first family - Meredith and Paul Miegel - and then stayed with Doug and Julie Lavis and family at Hopefield ( 12kms from Corowa) on a farm. He has now transferred to stay with Debbie and Guy Rowe in Corowa. Many thanks to the families for hosting Jasper and making him feel part of a family while so far away from his own. 

Jasper spoke of the trip he went on with Meredith and Paul Miegel to the Outback and the big differences in the landscapes and cultures. He also spoke of the Mittagundi experience and how they were evacuated because of the fires and the later devastation at Mittagundi. He was so lucky to have faced this experience. He went from Bush Fires to snow in the same day!!

Jasper likes meeting the other exchange students at Dookie. He is also particularly amused by the weird Aussie stuff we have such as BIG RAM at Goulburn. It is an AMAZING COUNTRY WE HAVE.

Jasper encountered a Huntsman Spider in the shower at Lavis’s and spared it’s life and named it Gary. He also knows about SNAKES, particularly when they are beside your Swag.

2019-12-15  Jasper’s reflections on Christmas in Australia and Germany


Christmas in Australia

In Australia, Christmas comes in towards the beginning of the summer holidays! Children have their summer holidays from mid-December to early February, so some people might even be away visiting relatives or camping at Christmas.

Because it's so hot at Christmas time in Australia, there are quite often massive bush fires across the country. Many volunteer bush fire fighters are involved in saving people and property and travel from all over Australia to help in other states.

Australians hang wreaths on their front doors and sometimes go out Christmas carol singing on Christmas Eve. People also decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas Trees and Christmas lights. Neighbors sometimes have little competitions to see who has got the best light display. The neighbors often visit each other to look at the light displays at night. Sometimes the displays are put out as early as December 1st. One street in Sydney raises over $(AUS)35,000 every year for charity with their coordinated street display!

Australians also decorate their houses with bunches of 'Christmas Bush', a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream colored flowers. In summer the flowers turn a deep shiny red over a period of weeks (generally by the week of Christmas in Sydney). Poinsettia plants are also popular plants used as decorations.

In each State capital city there is a large Carols by Candlelight service. Famous Australian singers like The Wiggles, John Farnham, Anthony Warlow, Colin Gery, Niki Webster and many more help to sing the carols. These carol services, held in different cities, are broadcast on TV across Australia. There are also huge Christmas pageants in each state capital city, that are also broadcast across the country. Most towns and cities have festivals and parades. In some places, there is a fireworks display at the local park.

Many towns, cities and schools also hold their own Carols by Candlelight services, with local bands and choirs sometimes helping to perform the Christmas Carols and songs. As it is the middle of Summer in Australia at Christmas time, the words to the Carols about snow and the cold winter are sometimes changed to special Australian words! There are also some original Australian Carols.

When he gets to Australia, Santa sometimes gives the reindeers a rest and might use kangaroos. He also changes his clothes for less 'hot' ones! Children often leave out carrots for Santa's reindeer and there might be some cake for Santa, with a nice cold beer (although drinking and driving the sleigh doesn't like a good idea to me!).

Presents are normally exchanged between families on Christmas Day. On Boxing Day most people go and visit their friends and often have barbecues at the beach. A famous Yacht race from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania is also held on Boxing Day.

The Flying Doctor Service has to work all though-out Christmas. On Christmas Day the people who live in the outback send Christmas greetings to each other over the radio network. Most families try to be home together for Christmas and the main meal is normally eaten at lunch time. Most people now have a cold Christmas dinner, or a barbecue with seafood such as prawns and lobsters along with the 'traditional English' food. On Christmas Eve, fish-markets are often full of people queuing to buy their fresh seafood for Christmas day. Some people like

to have the 'traditional' Christmas Pudding but there might also be cold desserts like pavlova and trifle. Australians often have Christmas Crackers at Christmas meal times. 

Christmas in Germany

A big part of the Christmas celebrations in Germany is Advent. Several different types of Advent calendars are used in German homes. As well as the traditional one made of card that are used in many countries, there are ones made out of a wreath of Fir tree branches with 24 decorated boxes or bags hanging from it. Each box or bag has a little present in it. Another type is called an 'Advent Kranz' and is a ring of fir branches that has four candles on it. This is like the Advent candles that are sometimes used in Churches. One candle is lit at the beginning of each week in Advent. Christmas Trees are very important in Germany. They were first used in Germany during the late Middle Ages. If there are young children in the house, the trees are usually secretly decorated by the mother of the family. The Christmas tree was traditionally brought into the house on Christmas Eve. In some parts of Germany, during the evening, the family would read the Bible and sing Christmas songs such as O Tannenbaum, Ihr Kinderlein Kommet and Stille Nacht (Slient Night). Sometimes wooden frames, covered with colored plastic sheets and with electric candles inside, are put in windows to make the house look pretty from the outside. Christmas Eve is the main day when Germans exchange presents with their families.

In German Happy/Merry Christmas is 'Frohe Weihnachten'. Christmas Day is called “Erste Feiertag” ('first celebration') and the 26th December is known as "Zweite Feiertag” ('second celebration') and also “Zweiter Weihnachtsfeiertag” which translates as Boxing Day (although it doesn’t literally mean that)!

Germany is well known for its Christmas Markets where all sorts of Christmas foods and decorations are sold. Perhaps the most famous German decorations are glass ornaments. In some parts of Germany, mainly the south east of the country, children write to the 'das Christkind' asking for presents. The letters to the Christkind are decorated with sugar glued to the envelope to make them sparkly and attractive to look at. Children leave the letters on the windowsill at the beginning of or during Advent. 'das Christkind' translates as 'The Christ Child' in English but Germans don't think of the Christkind as the baby Jesus! The Christkind is often described as a young girl with 'Christ like' qualities. In Nürnberg a young girl is chosen every year to participate in a parade as the Christkind. She wears a long white and gold dress, has long blond curly hair and wears a gold crown and sometimes wings like an angel. This is similar to St Lucia in Sweden. (And it can seem a bit confusing calling the 'Christ Child', Jesus, a girl!). The Nürnberg Christkind officially opens the Christmas market on the Friday before Advent starts. And before Christmas she has over 150 'official duties' including visiting hospitals, old people's homes and children's nurseries! She also has to give TV interviews and visit other cities. Santa Claus or Father Christmas (der Weihnachtsmann) brings the main Christmas presents on December 24th. You might also write a letter to Weihnachtsmann in other parts of Germany. Some people say that Santa/Father Christmas (Weihnachtsmann) brings the presents and some say it is Christkind!

As well as hoping for presents from Christkind or der Weihnachtsmann, some children also hope that 'der Nikolaus' will bring you some small gifts, such as sweets and chocolate on the 6th December (St Nicholas's Day). He comes in the night between the 5th and the 6th and puts the presents into the shoes of children, who usually place them by their doors. He might also knock on the door and the children will have to sing a song, play a song on an instrument or tell a story to St Nicholas before he gives them their presents.

Carp or Goose are often served for the main Christmas meal. Stollen is a popular fruited yeast bread that is eaten at Christmas.

Pictured: Jasper and his Counsellor Rtn Stephen at the Corowa Rotary Christmas Party.

2019-12-11 Brydee Lavis and Jasper Holst


Brydee and Jasper attended the meeting of Bellbridge-Lake Hume Rotary Club’s meeting. It was DG Brian Peter’s official visit and Brydee was representing Rotex. She was presented with a $500 cheque to their charity (DG partners charity) Headspace.

Jasper presented Club President John Haffenden with a banner from his Sponsor Club, Herzogtum Lauenburg-Molln.

Bellbridge-Lake Hume is a small club (13 members) with a lovely atmosphere.




Jasper has been on a holiday trip with his host parents, taking in the sights of Surfers Paradise and beaches of northern NSW and southern Queensland. 

They then went west to Cameron Corner - the intersection of the QLD/NSW border with SA - where Jasper found out just how pesky and irritating the Aussie bush fly can be!!


Pictured is Jasper learning to surf.


2019-09-04 JASPER HOLST


Our Exchange Student Jasper Holst of Germany is currently staying with the Miegel family.


Over the last few weeks, Jasper has visited the MCG, Powers Lookout and 

Healesville Sanctuary. At this last venue he had the opportunity of meeting some of our iconic wildlife up close and personal !!!!!


2019-08-21 JASPER HOLST


Jasper has had his first Orientation Weekend at Dookie. On the Friday evening before going to Dookie, Jasper made his speciality - Franzbrotchen (German Cinnamon Rolls) - to take along to share.

Like all the newly arrived inbounds, Jasper gave his presentation to the other students - both inbound and outbound. This was one way to introduce himself and also as an example to the outbounds of the type of presentation they will be required to give.


Pictured: Jasper giving his Presentation 

2019-08-14 JASPER HOLST

In his address to the Club, Jasper showed photos and talked about his country Germany. He wanted to go on Exchange to learn a new culture.

Jasper introduced his family - mother Susan, father Oliver and sister Merle.

He made some interesting comparisons between Germany and Australia. His hometown is Schwarzenbek, which is a town in the district of  Lauenburg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated approximately 10 km northeast of Geesthacht, and 35 km east of Hamburg and it is in the northern part of Germany.

Jasper likes to make cinnamon rolls and likes tea with milk and sugar. He plays tennis and golf and wants to learn to play footy.

The Club found that Jasper's English is very good, and he explained that In his country it is compulsory to learn English from Year 6.

Pictured: Jasper with President Paul Miegel

2019-07-31 YOUTH EXCHANGE - Jasper Holst


At the dinner meeting, President Paul Miegel introduced our newly arrived Exchange Student Jasper Holst of Germany to the Club. Paul presented Jasper with his Dinner Badge, Rotary Theme Badge and a Kangaroo Pin.


Jasper has had the opportunity of tasting an emu pie at Parkers Pies, found that his new phone works and has started school - dressed in his CHS uniform!


We wish Jasper a very enjoyable and memorable year hosted by the Rotary Club of Corowa


Pictured: Jasper is met at the airport by Rtns Meredith and Paul Miegel.