2016 Britain-Australia Society Education Trust Arthur Phillip Legacy Scholarship

Zach Delgado-Barter was the inaugural recipient of the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust Arthur Phillip Legacy Scholarship. This Scholarship supported a visit to Cranbrook School in Sydney, Australia for one term from 20 July to 16 September 2016.

Zach was selected to receive the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust Arthur Phillip Legacy Scholarship when he was in Year 11 and travelled to Australia after completing his GCSEs.

An Australian Adventure – Zach Delgado Barter

Firstly, I would like to say how grateful I am to the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust for the opportunity they gave me to represent my school in what is, by any standard, a ground breaking initiative.

This scholarship was established to commemorate the philosophy and legacy of Admiral Arthur Phillip, a former pupil of the Royal Hospital School and founder of modern-day Australia, and to strengthen links between our countries. When Admiral Phillip set sail for Australia, he wasn’t just going to another school; he was going into the unknown, although I believe my pioneering experience has, at some level, connected our adventures.

I was hugely honoured to have been selected for this opportunity and I feel especially privileged to have been the first recipient of this award. Now that I have returned home, I feel that I am a different person from the one who left Heathrow for Sydney in July.

As you can imagine, the early part of the adventure came with some challenges, not least arriving in the Australian winter after leaving the height of the English summer behind. However, I soon adapted to my new surroundings.

I joined Cranbrook School on the first day of their winter term and although it was tough going back to lessons after completing my GCSEs, within a week I was part of the rugby squad and played several games against other Sydney boarding Schools. This was an excellent way to make friends and I quickly extended this to social activities.

Boarding in Australia is on the whole more relaxed than in England with fewer house meetings and the opportunity to go into the city to catch a movie or to Bondi Beach to watch the sun go down with friends. The boys at Cranbrook were very welcoming and I was invited to a number of homes for the weekend and through them, I learned a lot about life in Sydney. These friends were many and varied and I am sure that some of these friendships will last for life.

I had so many incredible experiences but the following feature as my personal highlights:

  • A fascinating talk by an aboriginal speaker
  • Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge with my Housemaster, Mr Baines. A view and experience I will never forget!
  • Taking part in the City-Surf Half Marathon which was an amazing experience and great fun.
  • A trip to the Australian Defence Force Academy Open Day at Canberra where I tried a flight simulator and visited a poignant war memorial
  • Visiting the National Library in Sydney where the Librarian allowed me to view many of the artefacts associated with Admiral Phillip that are not usually on public display.
  • Visiting the world-famous Sydney Aquarium and the vibrant Sydney Fish Market
  • Camping in the Bengal Forest and meeting the local wildlife including wombats and kangaroos
  • Open water swimming, rugby and training with the rowing club
  • My final lesson when the class formed a tunnel to cheer me out and into the taxi to the airport

During week six of my trip, I had an experience that really highlighted the honest and caring Australian spirit. I accidently left my wallet in a busy restaurant in Circular Quay. I realised what I had done about half an hour later and thought that there would be no way it could be recovered. To my surprise when I returned, I found that someone had handed it in.

I am incredibly appreciative of the opportunity that the Britain-Australia Society Education Trust has given me in the creation of this award and, of course, the Royal Hospital School for allowing me that chance. It is only when I look back, that I truly appreciate how unforgettable this trip has been. I have some incredible memories and made friendships that I hope to keep forever. I have had the privilege to compare two very different schools, and ways of life. As well as the more relaxed regime and outdoor lifestyle the Australian people are warm and welcoming and will always hold a place in my heart.

It was an amazing experience; informative; educational; cultural and social, which has hugely extended my knowledge and understanding of Australian society.

And, what of the future?

I am currently studying for my A Levels in English literature, Classics and Religious studies. Despite not having a concrete plan in terms of a career, I am considering something within the field of marketing, public relations or publishing.

I firmly believe that this experience will influence the rest of my life. I know that I have grown in both stature and maturity in the short time I was in Australia. I was quickly taken out of my comfort zone and had to deal with the challenges of being 7000 miles away from home but I grew in confidence, learnt to take responsibility and to tackle new experiences with enthusiasm. I will definitely stay in contact with my new Australian friends and intend to return in the future to see them.