The Outback, According to Australian Sisters Emerson and Serena McNeilly



Serena (9th) and Emerson(11th) McNeilly

Lilly Keith and Alesis Ruley

Colossal spiders, atrocious birds, and reversed traffic directions are all associated with the grand country of Australia, a country we were not very familiar with, until now. 

Serena and Emerson McNeilly, two new students from Australia attending Central Hardin this year, confirmed these conspiracies and informed us of some other strange facts about their experiences in their home country. 

For instance, they drive on the left side of the road.

“We have almost had some collisions because of that,” said Serena, a junior. “My mom drove and we were driving on the road and we were like ‘Huh, why is this car coming towards us?’ We had to just swerve. It was not good.” Defrosting their car in the morning is another unusual change for them, as it’s not anything they’ve had to do beforehand. Australia is typically very hot and only experiences warm weather, unlike Kentucky where we sometimes experience every season in one week.

Their mom, Ms. Battistoni, had to make an adjustment to the traffic directions after she moved her family out here to be closer to the girls’ grandparents. 

“To defrost our car in the morning, that’s strange. Like, on the outside it felt a bit frosty and that was really cool,” said Emerson. 

Our rural little state is the most peculiar aspect out of everything for the girls. Growing up on the outskirts of Sydney, seeing cornfields and soybeans instead of public transport and tall buildings is very foreign to the pair. 

“We were living in  Sydney and we were right outside the city, all these roads and suburbs, city areas and public transport, there’s not much of that here,” Serena said… It was just all farmland and fields, a lot of that stuff.”

While our farmland is divided into 50 states, Australia is a little different. 

“We do have, I guess six states, I guess people call it, and then we have two territories, and then we have Tasmania as well,” said Emerson, a freshman. 

Here in the states, yellow buses have always been something we’re familiar with, but this isn’t true for the McNeillys. They had never seen a yellow bus in real life until they moved here. 

“You guys have uh, this is what I really like, the yellow buses that I’ve always seen in the movies,” Emerson said.

 Another difference is the sporting events and class schedules.

“One of the differences that I really like here is you guys have football games and those are really fun,” says Emerson.

“Another difference is quizzes and homework,” Serena said. “We don’t get any of that graded, we don’t even have quizzes. We just do schoolwork, and we have one assessment per term for each subject. We also don’t do five subjects at a time. We just take like 10 subjects throughout the whole year and it rotates, so it’s different every day, so you have two weeks of just random subjects and then it starts over again.”

“I do a lot of chemistry study groups currently,” Serena said., “I went to the movies last week, but I don’t do much.” “I normally just sleep,” Emerson said.

The two of them have a basic idea of what they want to do outside of high school. 

 “Probably gonna be going to University somewhere,” they both said. 

We hope that Central Hardin provides them with a welcoming experience into our state of Kentucky and provides them many great opportunities for their future.