YMCA EXCHANGES

connect . exchange . discover.|créez des liens. échangez. découvrez.


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Concours Mon “Bucket List” de l’été semaine 2: #AuTravail | My Summer Bucket List Photo Challenge, Week 2: #WorkLife

Photo Challenge SWSE

Tu es déjà dans ta deuxième semaine d’échange EEEE!!! C’est fou comment le temps passe vite! À ce stade, tu nous as présenté quelques membres de ta gang et tu as déjà commencé ton nouveau travail, entre autres choses. T’as rencontré tes nouveaux collegues, ton nouveau boss, et tu te familiarise avec ton nouvel espace de travail! Ça fait beaucoup de neuf tout ça!

Pour Semaine 2, on veut voir ce que tu aimes le plus dans ton travail. Montre-nous ton côté professionnel! Partage une photo ou une video de toi au travail, avec tes collègues/ton boss, entrain de faire quelque chose qui est relié à ton travail. En gros, on veut savoir comment tu trouves ta job, et quels aspects tu aimes le plus!

*** On veut te voir au travail, mais nous te demandons de prendre/publier tes photos/videos quand tu es en pause, ou quand tu as finis le travail. Il est très important de rester professionnel dans ton lieu de travail. 🙂 ***

Et comme toujours, les meilleures photo seront postées sur Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et peut-être même notre chaine YouTube! N’oublies pas de nous marquer et d’utiliser “#SWSESummerBucketList sur chaque soumission!

Bonne chance!

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Notre employé du mois en train de travailler vraiment dur! | Our Employee of the Month working really hard!

Congrats on making it past week 1 of your SWSE exchange! Time passes by so quickly! By now, you’ve introduced us some of your squad and you’ve had your first few days at your new job. You’ve met your new coworkers, your new boss, basically familiarized yourself with your new work space. Phew, that’s a lot of “new”!

For week 2, we wanna see what excites you most about your job. Show us your professional side! Share a picture or a video of you at work, with your colleagues/boss, doing something job-related. We basically wanna know how you like your job and which parts you enjoy most!

*** We want to see you at work, but we ask that your picture/video be taken/published when you are on break, or off work! It’s important to remain professional and on task at your place of employment. 🙂 ***

As always, the best pictures/videos will be posted on our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and maybe even YouTube?! Don’t forget to tag us and to use “#SWSESummerBucketList” on every submission.

Good luck!


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My Summer Bucket List Photo Challenge, Week 1: #SquadGoals | Concours “Mon “Bucket List” de l’été semaine 1: #MaGang

Photo Challenge SWSESquad Goal (skwäd/ɡōl) (noun) (plural noun: squad goals): an aspirational term for what you’d like your group of friends to be or accomplish.

Everyone has a different name for that group of friends you do everything with. It can be the group that you got matching charm bracelets with in third grade, or the brand new crew you formed with your SWSE peeps.

So you probably caught up on the fact that a group of friends is called a squad now (as seen in the phrase: squad deep, when your whole crew is together). Squads, of course, have goals… so what are your squad goals?

You have one week to showcase yours. Make it good.  Our first #SWSESummerBucketList challenge for you: show off your squad. The best 4 pictures will be features on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and will be eligible for a prize!

Oh wait… Sock Monkey wanted to give you guys an example/show off his squad... Can yours top his though? 😛

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    #SquadGoals  | #MaGang

Ta gang, c’est  le groupe d’amis avec lequel tu fais tout. Elle peut être le groupe avec lequel tu as des bracelets identiques depuis la maternelle, ou alors ça peut être la nouvelle bande que tu as créée avec tes amis du programme EEEE!

Dans tous les cas, on veut la voir, ta gang EEEE! Donc, pour notre premier défis #SWSESummerBucketList, nous te donnons cinq jours pour prendre la photo qui représente LE MIEUX ta gang. Les quatre meilleures photos seront affichées sur Instagram, Facebook et Twitter, et pourront gagner un prix !

Ah oui, Sock Monkey voulait vous donner un petit example/se vanter de sa gang… Est-ce que ta gang est mieux que la sienne? 😛

GO!


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“SWSE Summer Bucket List” Concours Photo Challenge 2015: Intro, Themes & Rules/Règles

Photo Challenge SWSE

So you made it to your new community. You met your host family, started your new job, and even made a friend (or three 🙂 )… You’re settled in, basically. Oh yeah, and you’ve taken a million pictures to document your journey. So we’re thinking, how about an opportunity to share your masterpieces to your friends, family and the world? How about a photo challenge that’ll run all summer long?! YES.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll have seven photo challenges that will have the whole country buzzing with stories about your experience with the Summer Work Student Exchange. We’ll be posting each challenge every Sunday, and the challenges will last from Sunday to Saturday. Your mission, should you choose to accept it: take pics that show the theme of that week and post them to Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList. The best pics/vids will be showcased on all of our social media platforms and will be eligible for a prize, which we’ll be giving away EVERY week of the challenge!

And by the way: Monkey Socks, our mascot, volunteered to help by giving you examples of the kinds of pics that we’re looking for!

And of course….here’s a preview of your Summer Bucket List!

1) Squad Goals (June 30-July 5)

2) Work Life (July 6-12)

3) A Step outside my comfort zone (July 13-19)

4) My view’s better than yours (July 20-26)

5) SWSE’s Got Talent (video) (July 27-August 2)

6) My Home Away from Home (August 3-9)

7) Summer Souvenir (August 7-16)

Only three rules to follow during the Photo Challenge:

1) Be creative. The pics that catch our eye will have the best chance of winning. Think outside the box!

2) Keep it clean. If you wouldn’t show that pic to your grandma, you probably shouldn’t post it.

3) Pics submitted for the contest MUST have the hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList attached to be eligible to win prizes.

4) HAVE FUN! We hope that you’ll have the best summer ever, and that your photos over the next few weeks will show it.

Good luck!


Ok… donc t’es arrivé(e) dans ta nouvelle communauté, tu as rencontré ta famille d’acceuil, commencé ton nouveau travail, et tu t’es même fait des amis… Enfait, t’es juste installé. Ah oui, aussi, tu as pris des millions de photos pour documenter ton voyage! Alors, on se dit… pourquoi ne pas te donner l’opportunité de partager tes chef d’œuvres avec tes amis, ta famille et le reste du monde? Pourquoi ne pas faire un concours photo toute la durée de l’été? OUI!

Au cours des prochaines semaines, nous aurons sept concours photo qui vous permettrons de partager votre expérience avec le programme Emploi d’été Échanges étudiants. Nous publierons chaque défi le lundi, et les défis se dérouleront du lundi au dimanche (le premier defis commence un mardi, par contre). Votre mission, si vous l’acceptez: prendre des photos qui montrent le thème de chaque semaine et les publier sur Instagram et Twitter, en utilisant le hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList. Les meilleures photos seront postées sur toute nos plates-formes de médias sociaux et seront admissibles pour un prix, que nous donnerons chaque semaine jusqu’à la fin de l’échange!

Aussi: notre mascotte, Monkey Socks, s’est engagé à vous aider en donnant des exemples du type de photos que nous recherchons! Trop gentil, lui!

Donc… voici un aperçu de votre « Bucket List » d’été!

1) Ma gang (29 juin – 5 juillet)

2) Ma vie au travail (6-12 juillet)

3) Un pas en dehors de ma zone de confort  (13-19 juillet)

4) Ma vue > la tienne  (20-26 juillet)

5 ) SWSE Got Talent (vidéo) (27 juillet – 2 août)

6) Mon deuxième chez-moi (3-9 août)

7) Souvenir d’été (7-16 août)

Il n’y a que trois règles à respecter pendant le concours:

1) Soyez créatif!  Les photos qui accrochent notre œil auront les meilleures chances à gagner.

2) Restez correctes. Si votre photo pourrait choquer votre grand-mère, mieux vaut éviter de la poster.

3) Les photos soumises au concours DOIVENT avoir le hashtag #SWSESummerBucketList attaché pour gagner des prix.

4) Amusez-vous! Nous espérons que vous aurez le meilleur été possible, et que vos photos le montreront!

Bonne chance!


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How does SWSE hosting work, anyway??

One of the biggest things we, at YMCA Exchanges, equate the month of June to, is the official launch of the 2015 edition of our Summer Work Student Exchange (SWSE) program! Seriously, the whole department sleeps and breathes SWSE these days. Everyone is super busy making sure your experience this summer is that of a lifetime!

You guys must also be getting excited, by now! A few more weeks (or days, if you’d rather 🙂 ) and you’ll be on your way to a great adventure. We thought you might have some questions related to the program, so we had a quick sit down interview with Ken Zolotar, our SWSE National Manager. He answered some pretty common questions/concerns, but feel free to reach out to us if you have any outstanding ones!

Nanamoye Ascofaré: Good morning Ken! Thank you so much for taking time off your busy schedule to meet with me! How are you today?

Ken Zolotar: No problem. I am well, thanks! How are you?

NA: Fantastic. Let’s get started. Tell me about yourself and the SWSE program.

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Meet Ken Zolotar

KZ: Sure! I am the SWSE National Manager and I have been with the YMCA for the past three years. In a nutshell, SWSE is a unique national exchange program that brings together youth (aged 16 and 17) from various communities across the country for six weeks. During their exchange, our participants get to practice and improve their second official language skills while gaining important employment and life experiences.  SWSE is a great way for youth to learn more about themselves, to discover another part of Canada (think TRAVEL!) and to know more about the people that make up our great nation. Plus, participants take on new challenges, make new friends and have fun!

NA: Thanks for telling us about the SWSE program. Off all the years you’ve been with the program, what, in your opinion is the most important component of SWSE? Or should I say, which component tends to bring up the most questions amongst your participants and their parents/guardians?

KZ: Well, all our components are important! But, if it had to come down to the one that attracts the most questions, it would be hosting.

NA: Tell us more.

KZ: For the duration of the program, participants stay with a host whose son or daughter is also participating in the program.  Parents/guardians play an essential role as they act as a host to students from another community for the six-week exchange. Their role is not only to provide lodging and meals for their visitor, but also to act as additional support for them. Hosts are responsible for the participant staying with them, by providing a safe living environment and by allowing them to experience a new home, language and culture.

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Let me explain this a little further, hosts spend time with their guest as they would with their own child.  During the work-week the youth are at work and do not require supervision.  During the weekends and one weekday evening, the youth spend time with their other group members doing organized activities with the Local Coordinator.  The host’s role as a youth support largely takes place during the evenings and other week-days. I’ve worked with a lot of potential hosts over the years and from the outset, many think they are unable to host. Thankfully they learn about ways it can be worked out.

NA: What are some of the most common concerns you receive regarding hosting?

KZ: Let’s see. For one, many families take weekend trips during the summer. What usually happens is that our potential hosts end up thinking they can’t host just because they are going away for a weekend. But that can be worked out!  For example, the first weekend of August is ‘family weekend,’ where we, at YMCA Exchanges encourage hosts to take their guests with them if they go away, or to spend some quality time with their guest by exploring the family’s interests in the community.

Furthermore, if they are going away for a weekend that isn’t ‘family weekend’ they can also arrange to have another adult such as a neighbour or relative stay in their home when they travel and that adult can provide support for the youth.

NA: Makes sense. Speaking of traveling… Do you ever get potential hosts who are concerned with distance?

KZ: Yes actually. Some of our potential hosts think they can’t host because they live far outside the city. We understand that commuting is a factor of life for many workers.  Our goal is to find a place of employment that is within a 45 minute commute from their home.  Youth can take public transit, get a ride from one of their coworkers, or get driven in by the hosts or neighbours who drive on the Monday – Friday work week.   We select our employers around the same time that we select the youth, and we have often broadened our search for employers to suit where the hosts live. So that too, can be worked out.

NA: For sure. About work weeks… Many families have a diverse range of schedules. Are we able to accommodate potential hosts who work late/evenings/weekends?

KZ: Absolutely. As I previously mentioned, the youth are involved in group activities one weeknight per week and both days on the weekends.  It is a busy schedule and like everyone else, the youth can use some down-time to recharge.  The youth need to be supported by an adult during the time they are at home.  Having someone in the house in the evening is excellent but not necessary; having someone in the house after the curfew (10 p.m. on weekdays, midnight on weekends) is necessary.  As long as those arrangements can be made with friends, neighbours and/or relatives, potential hosts are eligible.

NA: I see. What other concerns do you sometimes get?

KZ: Another concern we get is one where potential hosts think they can’t host because they do not have a separate room for the participant. However, sharing a room with a sibling is normal and can provide for a new experience for youth from a different family setting and environment.  Our participants need to have their own bed and a separator between their space and the common living space to give them privacy. As long as they have that, potential hosts can host!

NA: So basically, many concerns really shouldn’t exist, right?! Any last words?

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KZ: Exactly. We are always looking to provide our participants and their families the best experience possible, so we do our best to accommodate and address concerns. I hope my responses were insightful. We also have a host guide that explains things in more detail. Lastly, I understand that in certain circumstances, hosting a student may not be possible. However, in order to participate, an alternate exchange host has to be found. We do our best to recruit additional alternate hosts but we also ask that families do their part to assist us.

NA: Thank you so much for all this information and for your time this morning, Ken!

KZ: It was my pleasure.


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My SWSE Summer Experience: Jao (Second Go)| Mon experience EEEE: Jao (Deuxième chance)

As every milestone in your life, you would always be excited to do it all over again! This summer, I had this very opportunity by becoming the Local Coordinator of the Langley, BC community for SWSE 2014. Two years ago, I was a 17-year-old student heading to Laval, Quebec and now I had another chance for a second go! The summer has been a blast in every way and I wish that it could last longer. Being a coordinator opposed to a participant changed a lot of aspects of the exchange but I can confidently say that this time was as remarkable as the first.

I received 10 beautiful students from St-Jean, Boisbriand and St-Eustache, all small towns in the province of Quebec. These 10 people were what made the summer particularly amazing for me. The past 6 weeks were filled with memories, challenges and many inside jokes. My personal favourite memory was our Dragon Boating activity in Fort Langley. For many different reasons, this event allowed us to discover the community and build friendships. As one of our first activities, it was a good chance to build teamwork as one community and as one dragon boat. None of us had tried dragon boating before and it was awesome to see my students putting themselves out there! As a bonus, we visited the area of Fort Langley itself. With all its eccentric and old-fashioned beauty, the neighbourhood showed another side of the city. We dined at the famous Java’s 50 Café in the heart of downtown Fort Langley. My students enjoyed the lively atmosphere, decor, and creamy milkshakes.

With the program now at its end, I want to send a small message to my students.I hope that you have had the summer of a lifetime. Keep our memories and friendships together with you forever. Live life trying to achieve whatever you want, and know that I will be supporting you every step of the way. À la prochaine!

 

 

Comme pour chaque étape importante de sa vie, on est très excité à l’idée de devoir le faire de nouveau! Cet été, j’ai eu la possibilité de devenir le coordonnateur local à Langley pour le programme Emploi d’été Échanges étudiants de 2014. Il y a deux ans, j’étais un étudiant qui se dirigeait à Laval (Québec) et maintenant, voilà qu’une deuxième chance se présente à moi! L’été a vraiment été génial dans tous les sens du terme et j’aurais aimé qu’il dure plus longtemps. Être un coordonnateur et non un participant a changé de nombreux aspects de l’échange, mais je peux dire en toute honnêteté que cette expérience a été aussi remarquable que la première.

J’étais le coordonnateur pour le groupe de Langley (C.-B.) cette année. J’ai reçu 10 beaux étudiants de Saint-Jean, Boisbriand et Saint-Eustache. C’est grâce à ces 10 personnes que l’été a été particulièrement génial. Les 6 dernières semaines ont été remplies de souvenirs, de défis et de nombreuses blagues d’initiés. Selon moi, mon souvenir préféré était notre activité sur des bateaux-dragons à Fort Langley. Pour de nombreuses raisons différentes, cet événement nous a permis de découvrir la communauté et de créer des amitiés. Il s’agissait d’une de nos premières activités et d’une bonne occasion de travailler en équipe en tant que communauté à bord d’un bateau-dragon. Aucun d’entre nous n’avait essayé le bateau-dragon auparavant et c’était formidable de voir mes étudiants jouer le jeu! Nous avons visité la région de Fort Langley en guise de récompense. La beauté excentrique et démodée du quartier nous a permis de voir une autre facette de la ville. Nous avons soupé au fameux Java’s 50 Café au cœur du centre-ville de Fort Langley. Mes étudiants ont beaucoup aimé l’atmosphère dynamique, le décor et les laits frappés crémeux.

Le programme touche maintenant à sa fin et j’aimerais envoyer un petit message à mes étudiants. Pour conclure, j’espère que vous avez passé le meilleur été de votre vie. Conservez les souvenirs et les amitiés que nous avons créées ensemble jusqu’à la fin de votre vie. Vivez votre vie en essayant d’accomplir ce que vous souhaitez et sachez que je vous soutiendrai tout le temps. À la prochaine!


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My SWSE Summer Experience: Camilla|Mon expérience Emplois d’été Échanges étudiants: Camilla

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I’m continually surprised by how one SWSE summer can create lasting connections. As a past participant, I know that this exchange doesn’t end when you return home – I still keep in touch with the people I travelled to Quebec with, my host family and my twin! My exchange trip is still one of the best summers I’ve ever had. It was so much fun exploring new places, trying new things and meeting new people. by the end of the six weeks, I had also fallen in love with Quebec! So when I applied to work with the YMCA as a Local Coordinator, I wanted to give a new group of students the chance to explore and enjoy another part of Canada like I did (and have the time of their lives to boot!).

Setting myself with the goal of creating a memorable summer was challenging sometimes; as Local Coordinators (LCs), we want to make sure that everyone has a great exchange no matter what their interests are. This means balancing oil painting with a night out line dancing, and weekend camping with city sightseeing. I was also excited about showcasing a side of my community, Brampton, ON, that not many people know about such as the vibrancy and small town charm of downtown Brampton on a Farmer’s Market Saturday! I wanted to give the incoming participants a summer of exciting adventures, lasting friendships and new perspectives. However, I was so preoccupied with what I could give, I didn’t realize how much my participants would give me.

I have learned so much about patience, laughter and fearlessness from my participants during my time as an LC. My participants brought so much honesty, energy and their individual experiences that I was always learning something new about them, myself, and being part of a team. Despite being incredibly different, we grew respect and developed trust. That’s not to say there were no tense moments, or that there were no tears (there were!) – we just learned to be honest about our feelings and remember that for six weeks, we were family.

I am most grateful for having the opportunity to meet such a dynamic and thoughtful group of individuals two summers in a row.  And really, as much as we LCs get excited planning for big activities, the best memories are always the small moments you can never plan for: it’s pouring rain but we’re singing camp songs and radio hits while cycling around the Toronto Islands; it’s 8:00am but a small group of early risers from Brampton West, Markham and Richmond Hill are sharing conversation, muffins and peaches at our camping trip until the others wake up; it’s a long drive to Tree Top Trekking or Niagara Falls, but our car becomes the best dance party on four wheels. Pancakes for dinner, Hide and Seek in the park, Pachamama…too many to list!

I couldn’t have anticipated how meaningful my SWSE summers would be as an LC. The truth is, LCs will be crying alongside participants at the end of the summer. So, on behalf of LCs past and present, thank you to you, the participants – for your laughter, your kindness and positive attitude. It means a lot to us.

 

 

Je ne cesse de m’étonner de la façon dont une expérience Emplois d’été Échanges étudiants peut créer des relations durables. Ayant moi-même participé à un échange, je sais que celui-ci ne se termine pas lorsque vous retournez à la maison; je suis toujours en contact avec des gens avec qui j’ai voyagé au Québec, avec ma famille d’accueil et avec mon jumeau! Mon voyage d’échange demeure l’un des meilleurs étés que j’ai jamais vécu. C’était tellement amusant de découvrir de nouveaux endroits, d’essayer de nouvelles choses et de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes. À la fin des six semaines, j’étais aussi tombée amoureuse du Québec! C’est pourquoi, lorsque j’ai posé ma candidature pour travailler au YMCA à titre de coordonnatrice régionale, je voulais donner la chance à un nouveau groupe d’élèves de découvrir et d’apprécier une autre région du Canada comme j’ai pu le faire (et de vivre la meilleure expérience de leur vie au maximum!).

Il était parfois difficile d’atteindre mon objectif de créer un été mémorable; en tant que coordonnateurs régionaux (CR), nous voulons nous assurer que tous vivent un excellent échange, peu importe leurs intérêts, ce qui signifie qu’il faut trouver un équilibre entre la peinture à l’huile et une soirée de danse en ligne et entre une fin de semaine en camping et une visite touristique de la ville. J’étais aussi enthousiaste à l’idée de présenter un aspect de ma communauté (Brampton, en Ontario) que peu de gens connaissent, notamment le charme et la capacité d’adaptation du centre-ville de Brampton, un samedi pendant le Marché des fermiers! Je voulais offrir un été rempli d’aventures excitantes, d’amitiés durables et de nouveaux points de vue aux participants d’ailleurs. Cependant, j’étais si préoccupée par ce que je pouvais donner que je ne me suis pas rendu compte de tout de ce que les participants pouvaient m’offrir.

J’ai tellement appris relativement à la patience, au rire et à l’audace grâce à mes participants lorsque j’étais CR. Ils m’ont apporté honnêteté, énergie et expériences individuelles, et ce qui m’a amené à sans cesse apprendre quelque chose de nouveau à propos d’eux, de moi-même et du travail d’équipe. Même si nous étions incroyablement différents, nous avons appris à nous respecter et à nous faire confiance. Je ne dis pas qu’il n’y a pas eu de tensions ni de larmes (il y en a eu!); nous avons simplement appris à être francs quant à nos émotions et à nous rappeler que pour six semaines, nous étions une famille.

Je suis d’autant plus reconnaissante d’avoir eu l’occasion de rencontrer un groupe d’individus aussi dynamiques et attentionnés deux étés d’affilée.  Et, honnêtement, autant nous, les CR, sommes enthousiastes lorsque nous planifions de grosses activités, les meilleurs souvenirs sont toujours ceux des petits moments imprévisibles : il pleut des cordes, mais nous chantons des chansons de camp et des tubes tournés à la radio en faisant du vélo dans les îles de Toronto; nous sommes en camping, il est 8 h et un petit groupe de lève-tôt de Brampton Ouest, Markham et Richmond Hill discutent entre eux en mangeant des muffins et des pêches en attendant que les autres se lèvent; le voyage est long vers Tree Top Trekking ou vers les chutes Niagara, mais notre voiture devient la meilleure fête dansante à quatre roues. Des crêpes pour diner, des parties de cache-cache dans le parc, la Pachamama… il y a tant de choses à énumérer!

Je n’aurais pu prévoir à quel point mes étés dans le cadre du programme Emplois d’été Échanges étudiants seraient importants en tant que CR. La vérité c’est que les CR pleureront en chœur avec les participants à la fin de l’été. Je tiens à remercier les participants, de la part des CR précédents et actuels. Merci pour vos rires, votre gentillesse et votre attitude positive. Cela signifie beaucoup pour nous.


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My SWSE Summer Experience: Sabrina |Mon experience d’ete avec l’EEEE: Sabrina

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Sabrina (right) with SWSE Gatineau LC Amelie.

 

Hi! My name is Sabrina and I had the chance to participate in the SWSE exchange this summer in Gatineau, Quebec. This was an amazing opportunity to meet new friends and improve my second language (French). It certainly was all that and so much more. I got to meet some really genuine friends that I laughed so hard with that if we were at a restaurant, we’d cause a scene and the waiter had to ask if we were okay. I stayed with a family who I quickly learned was soccer-crazy: soccer games, soccer practice and FIFA World Cup games–don’t forget recreational soccer too! Because of them, I have a new found appreciation for the sport.

All jokes aside, I got to meet the most dedicated father I’ve ever met and some pretty great kids too. I couldn’t have imagined a better family to fit in with, be it going for hikes with my host dad or playing some pretty intense games of Mario Kart (a racing video game), I always felt at home. Everything was pretty great, even the things I wasn’t used to, like milk in a bag, eating shawarma, or the dog’s hair EVERYWHERE in the house. The one thing that made my experience a little different was halfway through the exchange, when I broke my ankle.  I tend to (unintentionally) make everything 100 times harder for myself: I had to get surgery in Quebec, and then there were complications and all that jazz all while getting constant checkups from my mom back home in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t the most ideal situation, but I learned a lot; I learned how determined I am to get things accomplished, even while on crutches. I also learned how much I dislike hospitals in Quebec since i had to make so many visits during my recovery.

Because of my injury, I missed out on work, the cool activities with the group and just the chance to have responsibility and be active with my family while exploring the city. But i definitely didn’t want to leave–no way José–so I found the perks of being at home like hanging out with my cool little host siblings, baking cookies and most importantly, becoming super-close friends with my coordinator, Amelie. I don’t know what I would have done without her this summer, from her comic relief with the (slightly aloof) doctors, her being there with me during almost every hospital trip, and even helping me figure out that there was an alarm coming from my fridge because I left it open (I didn’t know that was even a thing!).

I’d like to say there was nothing I would change about this summer…but I am just so thankful that I didn’t think too much about doing this exchange, I just did it. Best decision of my life. So many stories to tell. I could not have asked for better people to share my summer with.

 

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Sabrina in good spirits with her broken ankle.