An email home from Ollerup – Grace Shearer

Anna Robertsone-News

Grace Shearer (Omni Gymnastics Club) is currently enjoying a 6-month scholarship at Ollerup in Denmark – read her email below to see just how much.

There have been so many highlights during my time at Ollerup, that I don’t quite know where to start!

At the start of March, we went on a school ski trip to Trysil Norway. It was a very long bus trip (around about 14 hours). We were exhausted when we arrived, and got just a little bit lost trying to find our cabin … the bonus of getting lost was that we saw the Northern Lights. This was an amazing sight and something I’ll always remember.

I can’t believe how much my skiing improved over the course of the week. A highlight for me was how my skiing went from being a not very confident beginner to being able to get down a red run (the second to hardest) with one of my friends, who is a ski instructor in Canada, giving me tips along the way.

We are currently preparing to attend and perform at a gymnastics festival in Oldenburg in Germany, and we have already performed at a Danish festival, called Megamix. At Megamix, I was part of a group of over 100 people, doing a gymnastics performance routine. At Oldenburg, the whole school will be performing.

Performance gymnastics is quite different from anything I have ever done before. It is a mix of Danish rhythmic gymnastics, tumbling, and mini-tramp, set to music. It’s been fun to learn the routines and the logistics involved in being part of such a large group performance (and there is always a party at the end of every event!).

We still have a few more social events at the school to look forward to before the semester ends. This weekend we are celebrating a ‘wedding’. Everyone has a role to play, and of course, there is a wedding reception at Crazy Daisy, our local. Our final event will be the Gala evening, which we all get to dress up for.

Probably the most interesting thing has been the number of opportunities that I was not even expecting to have when I first arrived at Ollerup. The biggest surprises have been:

  • I have learned an incredible amount about how to safely exercise and do resistance and strength training. During my time competing, I had had numerous injuries, and I was hesitant about how my body would cope with the physical challenges of Ollerup. I have been lucky to have had no major injuries at all during my time here, my body is much stronger than it has ever been, and I now have the confidence to walk into any gym situation, and be able to train myself (and others) in a safe way.
  • I had always intended to go to Gymnaestrada in Amsterdam at the end of my semester at Ollerup – this has always been a dream of mine. I was so happy to find that I was able to elect to be part of a team that Ollerup puts together to actually perform at this amazing event. It will just add an extra special dimension to a trip that was already on my bucket list.
  • I have made a very tight, core group of friends from all over the world. We have travelled to Malmo in Sweden twice (where one friend is from), and have also enjoyed exploring Copenhagen together. We are planning to spend a week together in France at the end of the semester, and another trip to Sweden at the end of July.

I have learned that if you are open to new experiences, you never know where they will take you or what amazing things can happen!

I am incredibly grateful to Gymnastics NZ for giving me the opportunity to experience everything that Ollerup has offered to me. Thank you.

Applications are now open for 2024 scholarships – if you’re interested in expanding your gymnastics coaching through a unique international experience, email us for more information. Applications close 1 September 2023.