Two football-mad teenagers are making themselves at home in Beaudesert on a rugby league scholarship program from Norfolk Island.
Mia Pashley, 14, and Jesse Schmitz, 15, are in Beaudesert for six weeks after touching down on 26 April.
They are the third lot of participants to come here from Norfolk Island since the Beaudesert Kingfishers Rugby League Club got involved, and the first lot since a break during Covid.
Mia and Jesse have been adjusting to the sheer size of Beaudesert compared with home, with the number of students at Beaudesert High alone on par with the entire population of Norfolk Island (about 1750 residents).
Back home, they are used to playing games against their own clubmates at Norfolk Island Junior Rugby League Club and there are about 300 students at Norfolk Island Central School, where they both go.
In Beaudesert, they got straight into playing more footy than ever before, with Jesse even training with the Kingies on his first night in Beaudesert after stepping off the plane.
They are both making the most of the school’s rugby league program, the Titans Cup interschool competition and home and away club games and training sessions.
Jesse said Beaudesert was a complete change of pace.
“It’s just weird seeing people you don’t know and seeing different kids in every class rather than the same ones,” he said.
“There are 24 kids in my grade (year 10) and Mia’s grade (year 9) would have to be about the biggest in the school, with 28 students.”
Mia said she was just looking forward to playing more football during her time in Beaudesert, and Jesse agreed.
“I’m just keen on the club footy and then the school footy tops it off as well. It’s just footy, footy, footy,” he said.