A CAREER in politics is well within reach for Warrnambool's Madeline Winzar.
The King's College year 11 student spent last week in Canberra watching our country's leaders at work as part of the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship (RAIC) program.
Madeline was the sole south-west addition to the group of 40 year 11 students from across Australia, who met their regional members of Parliament and the Prime Minister.
"It sounds clich but I think it was the best week of my life," she laughed.
"You kind of got star-struck, seeing all the politicians.
"It was really amazing."
Madeline said her involvement in other programs, including the International Women's Development Agency, may have encouraged her principal to nominate her for RAIC.
She said the experience had improved her understanding of parliamentary and democratic processes .
"I was really interested in how our country's run and who can run it because they have so much power," she said.
The group was in Canberra during one of Parliament's busier times of the year.
"We watched Wayne Swan reading out the budget," Madeline said.
"There was a lot of confrontation and politicians being politicians."
The group also participated in role-plays, sat in on question time for the Senate and House of Representatives and toured various Parliament House departments.
Madeline said she thought her experiences would aid her VCE endeavours into political relations.
"It's given me a new direction," she said.
"I would encourage anyone to do it.
"You learn so much about what goes in to making a fair country."
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said he was impressed with Madeline's interest in politics, highlighted by her in-depth questions about his role as a federal member of parliament.
"It was great to see how enthusiastic and engaged Madeline was about Australia's democracy and this program gave her the opportunity to gain valuable insight into how it all works," he said.