Anime-loving Izzy dives into exchange

ANIME and Japanese art is taking Warrnambool’s Izzy Clarke 10,000 kilometres away from home.

The 15-year-old is heading to Japan on the Rotary Youth Exchange for a year.

A love for volunteering and assisting others drove Izzy to apply for the exchange.

“I like doing things to help others,” she said. “I try to do whatever I can to have a positive impact in my community without compromising my individuality.”

Izzy worked two jobs to raise money for the trip and had support from the Rotary Youth Exchange committee and Rotary Club of Warrnambool Central counsellor Matt Northeast. 

Mr Northeast counselled Izzy for her trip and said she was an independent and strong-willed young woman.

“From the very beginning, Izzy stated that she would love to spend a year in Japan on exchange,” he said. 

“Japan, due to the language barrier, can be a very difficult country for a young person to live away from home for a year. 

“Never at any stage did this pose a problem for Izzy. Instead, she took it upon herself to begin learning the language via the internet and by phone from Melbourne.

“The reason we chose Izzy to become a Rotary exchange student is (because) we believe that she will benefit greatly from the experience.” 

Izzy has always dreamed of visiting Japan and, as an avid watcher of anime and a manga drawer, she is excited by the possibilities of the trip. “Japan is the home of cosplay and I am so excited about the possibilities of expanding my wardrobe of characters,” she said. 

Izzy was surprised to receive the Windmill-Jelderk’s foundation grant, a scholarship set up to honour two former exchange students who were killed in a car accident.

I’m not the ideal student,” she said. “I am not a clone of my teachers ... they overlook the good things I do and get caught up in my non-regulation boots and hair colour. 

“I was banned from having my school photo taken (last year) because my hair was purple. I was raising money for the Leukaemia Foundation shave or colour for a cure.”

Izzy leaves on January 18, along with Elizabeth McDowell, who is heading to Brazil.


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