HAMPSTEAD — Soon, the jaunty Australian greeting made familiar to Americans in the movies will be rolling off Bonni R. Crispin's tongue.
"G'day," she'll say to the natives as she passes them on the city streets of Sydney or the dusty roads of the outback.
"It's a nice, sharp accent," she said.
The Australians will peg the 19-year-old for a Yank right away, but she'll take the opportunity to learn as much as she can from them about their culture and wayof life.
"I picture kangaroos hopping all over, koala bears in every tree and alligators all over the place," Crispin said.
She will leave June 24 for a six-week trip to Australia as part of an international 4-H exchange.
"It's like a childhood dream. I've always wanted to go to the land Down Under," she said.
Crispin, a sophomoreeducation major at Frostburg State University, is one of 33 studentsfrom around the country traveling to Australia with the International Foreign Youth Exchange Ambassador program.
Students in other programs will visit Switzerland, Ireland, England and Costa Rica this summer.
In Australia, students will live with families during part of their stay and will participate in leadership development activities during the trip, said Sheri Furlott of the international programs office at the National 4-H Council in Chevy Chase, Montgomery County.
Crispin said she hopes to stay with a farm family.
"I'm a country girl," she said.
The itinerary includes stops in Sydney, the country's largest city; the Silver Wattle Outback Camp; Goulburn, a rural town south of Sydney; and Cairns, a city on the coast in the Barrier Reef area.
Crispin said she has been reading up on the country and learning its language quirks.
Crispin's mother, Frances, said her daughter, the youngest of three girls, will make the most of the adventure.
Crispin, a slim young woman with bright eyes and curly hair, has won high honors in 4-H and has worked on projects at the national level. In December, she was the first in Carroll County to winthe 4-H Presidential Tray, a national award.
"She's outgoing and friendly and mouthy," her mother quipped. "She's the kind of person who can go into a crowd of people and make herself feel comfortable.
"I'm real proud of her. She's done all the things I wanted to do in4-H. She didn't give up. She stayed in it and gave it all she could," Mrs. Crispin said.
Her mother is office manager at Vogt's Parts Barn Inc. in Finksburg. Her father, Forrest V. Crispin Jr., works forthe Army at Fort Meade, Anne Arundel County.
Mrs. Crispin is helping her daughter write letters to civic groups and businesses to ask for contributions to help pay for the trip. She said they will send out about 600 letters and hope to raise $3,600.
When she returns, Crispin said she plans to put together a slide show and talk to give to groups that contributed.
To contribute, call the 4-H office at 848-4611.
Crispin belonged to the Carrollton 4-H Club for 10 years.She graduated from North Carroll High in 1989.
She said she hopes to return to Carroll when she finishes college to teach science to fourth- through eighth-graders in Hampstead or Manchester.
"My family connections are here. I've always liked it. Everything I've ever needed was in Carroll County," Crispin said.