Canada – the land of wide open spaces. Soaring mountains. Wide oceans covered with little islands.(I asked my host mum what to write for the beginning, that was the result).
I saw all of that when I flew into Victoria. After I arrived I didn’t have any problems with jetlag; I landed at 5 pm Canadian time and 3 am German time. I kept myself awake until 9 pm so I was pretty fit to go to school the next day. After a few days my time schedule was as normal as in Germany.
First I want to tell something about Vancouver Island. The scenery is fantastic! I’m living on Triangle Mountain, so every time I’m walking the dog I can see over the forest to the ocean and across the mountains to the United States. It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen! You can also see the little islands and the city of Victoria from the top of the hill too! The first time I saw the beach was during my first week and I already knew that it would be paradise in summer.
One time when I was on the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, I saw whales swimming next to me! I’ve seen animals here that I’ve never seen before like wild deer and hummingbirds. I was golfing with my PE class and there were deer everywhere and they were not even shy! When it’s really nice outside you can just lay in the garden and watch all the beautiful birds flying around, like I am doing it right now.
My host family consists of my 11 years old host sister Olivia, my host mum Debbie and my Grandparents Bev and Norm and last but not least my Labrador Cross dog KC. They are all super friendly, open and hospitable. Debbie works as a speech therapist in my school district, and Olivia goes to Middle School.
We have traveled a lot because Olivia plays hockey. For her tournaments we already visited Nanaimo and Vancouver. I was in Seattle with my school organisation for 3 days too and there were probably the 3 best days of my life. I saw everything; the Space Needle, downtown, a few malls the ‘Experience Music Project’ museum! I visited my ‘grandma’ in Parksville, up island. There were wonderful beaches and huge old trees.
I was in Vancouver twice with my school, once to downtown and once to metrotown (a huge shopping mall).
This month I will drive to Saltspring Island with my friend’s family and at the end of the year my host family and I will do holidays at Whistler! I try to travel as much as I can and I enjoy every second of it!
When I don’t travel I go to Belmont Senior School. There is big difference between my school here and the one in Germany!
The teachers are more like friends than like teachers. I am in math 12 and most of the time I’m sitting in class and have no idea what the teacher is talking about. That’s why I ask the stupidest questions ever, but my teacher always takes time to explain everything to me again and again. That is the same with my dancing teacher. She is so nice, that some girls go to her and talk about their problems in their family or whatever.
There aren’t as many rules as at home; when you want to go to the toilet, you just stand up and go to the washroom. Eating, drinking and cellphones are allowed in class too.
The School system is completely different. I only have 4 classes (math, dancing, PE and Socials in french) but I have these classes every day.
In the first semester I had Drama, it was really fun. We played improvisation games and learned how to fake a fighting scene and all that. I switched, the class later because I wanted to try out everything. I changed it to PE recreation;
That is something like normal sports, but we go on a fieldtrip every week. Last week we went mini golfing, and the week before we went to the gym. My second exploratory subject is Concert band. It’s a huge group of students each with their own instrument – it sounds really professional.
I actually found a new hobby. I never did dance in Germany before but here I love to dance. My afterschool activity is Lacrosse and ballet -so much fun! My new big hobby is watching the ice hockey games of Olivia’s; Ice hockey is a very popular sport here in Canada.
At the beginning it was hard to find friends, knowing nobody and everything was new... I hang out with the other German exchange students a lot from Belmont, but after time I met so many new people; not only my classmates but the friends of friends, and from the youth group too. They were very open and always friendly. Once I found good friends to hang out with, it was easier.
Canada is kind of a melting pot, when you are in the mall of Victoria you can see every nation! It’s very typical for Canadian people to be hospitable - my school, my classmates and my host family were very welcoming. In my school there are handicapped students too. I was very impressed with how they integrate them; they don’t mind if they are different, they just handle it!
The food here is different but delicious. Every morning I eat cereal, a sandwich or a wrap for lunch and for supper we eat a hot meal. My favourite food is the dessert, like Nanaimo bar or pie! I had my first Pumpkin Pie on Easter.
My host mum, host sister and I made one. The pie was so delicious, like the whole turkey dinner on Easter.
My host mum cooks every day, and we don’t have fast food at all! At the beginning I had to adapt myself to the eating times, because we have supper earlier and not a hot meal for lunch.
The food in general is very good, the only thing I miss is real German bread.