YMCA EXCHANGES

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

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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.


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My SWSE Summer Experience: Amélie| Mon expérience cet été avec l’EEEE: Amélie

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Amelie’s group of students at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC|Le groupe au Musee de l’histoire canadien a Gatineau, QC.

L’autre jour, un de mes anciens participants nous a pose cette question : «Imaginez votre vie si vous n‘aviez pas participé au programme?» Puis, moment de silence… Nous étions tous en train de penser à ceci, «comment imaginez nos vies sans EEEE? »

En tant que coordonnatrice locale, j’ai le meilleur emploi au monde grâce aux participants que j’ai eu la chance de rencontrer.  C’est ce que j’aime à propos de mon emploi.  Ce n’est pas le fait que nous avons l’occasion de voyager à travers le pays ou que tout l’été nous faisons des activités super trippantes avec notre groupe. C’est le fait que tout le monde créer des relations très serrées entre eux en seulement 6 semaines.  C’est de voir à quel point autant eux que moi avons grandi et appris beaucoup en si peu de temps. C’est de pouvoir observer l’accomplissement d’un jeune de 16-17 ans, qui à la fin de cet échange est fier d’avoir pu améliorer sa langue seconde.  Certains sont fiers d’avoir eu une première expérience de travail, d’avoir réussi à terminer les 6 six semaines du programme loin de leur maison (et ce bien malgré des défis comme une cheville cassée au milieu de l’échange!) et bien d’autres.

Bien qu’il y en ait des tonnes, le meilleur souvenir que je vais garder de mon expérience cet été, fut notre voyage en train à la fin de l’été.  Nous avons eu l’opportunité de voir la moitié du pays et quelle belle façon de terminer cette expérience unique en voyageant via ce fameux train de VIA Rail Canada.  Le Canadien a façonné l’histoire de notre pays et il continue d’en faire ainsi par les souvenirs créés à bord!  Ce fut aussi les derniers moments du programme pour avoir des fous rire, chanter à tût tête jusqu’à en faire fuir tout le monde dans le wagon-restaurant(ne vous inquiétez pas il n’y avait que des participants du programme), danser jusqu’à 23h00 et apprécier nos derniers jours ensemble avant de dire au revoir à tout le monde.  Si jamais vous avez la chance de prendre ce train, n’hésitez pas à faire le voyage à bord, c’est une expérience inoubliable.

Pour terminer, j’ai tissé des liens avec des gens extraordinaires venant de Brandon (MB), de toute la Saskatchewan, d’Edmonton (AB) et quoi dire de plus que MERCI à tout le monde que j’ai pu rencontrer dans le cadre de ce programme, mais un MERCI tout particulier à mes participants sans qui cette expérience n’aurait pas été la même.

Après tout, cela est ‘’L’expérience de votre vie’’!

 

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The other day, one of my participants from last year asked me this question: “Imagine your life if you never participated in the program?’’ Then, a moment of silence…and  we were all thinking about it: ‘’how could we imagine our life without SWSE?’’

As a local coordinator, I had the best job in the world because of the participants that I had the chance to meet.  This is what I like the most about my job–it´s not the fact that we have the occasion to travel around the country, or the fact that we are doing awesome activities with our groups. It´s the fact that everybody creates strong relationships between in just 6 weeks.  I can see how much we all have grown and learned so much in such a short amount of time.  It’s the fact that I have seen 16-17 year old youth being proud of themselves at the end of the exchange because they have improved their second language. Some of them felt accomplished because they had their first work experience. Others were proud of themselves for being able to be so far away from their home for 6 weeks; some faced a lot of challenges–like a broken ankle at the mid-point of the exchange!

Even if there are tons of memorable moments, the best one I will remember is our train ride at the end of the summer.  We had the opportunity to see half of the country and this is the best way to end this unique experience by taking the Canadian (VIA Rail) train.  This railway line has shaped the history of our country and it still does by the moments lived onboard!  It was these last moments of the program that we had a good laugh together, sang at the top of our lungs to scare off everyone else (don’t worry, there were only participants from the program on our car!), we danced until 11:00 pm and enjoyed our last days together before saying goodbye.  If you have the chance to take this train, don’t hesitate to do it, it’s an unforgettable experience!

To conclude, I had the privilege to meet some amazing people from Brandon, MB, from all over Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, AB.  What else can I say but THANK YOU to everybody that I’ve met through the program, but also a special THANK YOU to the participants, because without you guys, the experience would not have been the same.

After all, our slogan is ‘’Experience the journey of a lifetime’’!