CINCINNATI, OH (FOX 19) -- Four Moeller High School students are spending a term down under as part of an exchange program.
But getting to the continent was a bit nerve racking for parent Ellen Sullivan, "...all of a sudden panic set," says Sullivan.
The eastern coast of Australia has been pounded with intense non-stop rains for weeks, leaving multiple homes under water and killing dozens of people.
The day before the boys were supposed to fly out, the flood waters were cresting and it was recommended the boys delay the trip a week.
But flights couldn't be re-scheduled and luckily Sullivan's son, Tommy was able to make it safely to Brisbane.
17-year-old Tommy Sullivan is living with his host family, the Sandilands. Their son, Tom spent five weeks in Cincinnati last year as part of the program.
Tommy says driving back from the airport he could see the flood waters and the instant devastation.
"Down the street though in their neighborhood there was flooding because they live by the river and people's pools went under and their first floors went under," says Sullivan.
"You could see the water level rising and all the people helping out firsthand. My exchange student [Tom] went to his friends house which was under water and he helped clean mud out of their house."
Both Tommy and Tom decided to help, they volunteered at a local school that lost it's cafeteria.
"People down the road here are struggling and everyone's helping out... it's not that hard to go out of your way to help others," says Sullivan.
Helping others is part of the Moeller education and even though it is a half a world away, the school says Tommy is making a difference.
"To realize the plight of some people on the other side of the world makes it real for them, we don't often hear about problems in Australia because it's so far away," says Brother Ron Luksic, Dean of Campus Life at Moeller.