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

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


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.



Sabrina in good spirits with her broken ankle.

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My SWSE Summer Experience: Yiwei|Mon expérience EEEE: Yiwei

Many of you have shared your experiences with us (keep them coming!), and just this week, we got a short and sweet testimony from Yiwei, who travelled across the country from Edmonton, Alberta to Gatineau, Quebec with SWSE this summer and had the experience of a lifetime. | Plusieurs des participants one déjà partage leurs mémoires avec nous (continuez, SVP!); cette semaine, nous avons reçu deux petits histoires de Yiwei Chen, qui a voyage à travers le Canada de Edmonton, AB à Gatineau, QC avec l’EEEE cet été et a eu l’expérience d’une vie.



Though so much has happened during my time with SWSE this summer, there are certain events that will be forever rooted in my memory. I’d like to share two of my personal stories with you.

1. Along with the awesome experiences I’ve had and life-long friendships I’ve made, I’ve also changed for the better. For example, I hated camping since….I cannot even remember since when. However, since this summer, I learned to slow down my pace, put down my busy school work, and enjoy what nature offers to us.  I opened my heart and immersed myself in the great outdoors and the sunshine!

2. August 9th, 2014. Saying goodbye to my host family in Gatineau, QC. For a moment, time just stopped…

It was a complex feeling, like a cruet, ups and downs, all in one. As my host mother quietly wept, she gently patted me on the back and said, “One day, we will meet again.” I couldn’t resist recollecting those happy days of summer 2014, as tears streamed down my face.

Thank you YMCA SWSE for such an amazing summer! And yes, we will meet again!




Bien que j’aie éprouvé beaucoup pendant l’été avec l’EEEE, il y a deux évènements que je voudrai partager avec vous.

1.  J’ai eu des expériences étonnants et créée des amitiés pour la vie, mais en plus, j’ai change moi-même pour la meilleure.  Par exemple, je n’ai jamais aimé le camping. Graca au programme, j’ai appris d’aller plus lentement, de ralentissez ma rythme de vie, et d’apprécier le monde naturelle.  J’ai ouvert mon cœur et passe beaucoup de temps dans la nature et sous le soleil!


2.  9 août 2014. Je suis en train à dire au revoir à ma famille d’accueil, et le temps s’est arrêté….

J’avais des sentiments mitigés.  J’étais heureuse, triste, tout ce qu’on peut sentir en ce moment.  Ma mère d’accueil pleurait tout tranquille; elle m’a donné des petits tapes sur le dos et m’a dit: “on va se revoir encore”.  J’ai rappelé tous les mémoires heureux de l’été passe pendant que les larmes tombaient de mes yeux.


Merci beaucoup, YMCA, pour un été incroyable. Bien sûr, nous nous renconterons encore un jour!