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Britta Wilde berichtet aus Courtenay (British Columbia / Kanada)
Hello, I´m Britta and I´m fifteen years old.
I spent six awesome months in Canada on the beautiful Vancouver Island. There I lived in a little town called Courtenay.
My flight to Canada was in the end of january. I was really excited, because it was my first flight and I never stayed away from my family and friends for such a long time. Luckily I already knew some people and I had two friends I flew with. I got to know them at the preparation meeting from Give. It was a really good opportunity to meet other people and to talk about issues you think you will have. There were also two boys and two girls who talked about their experiences in Canada at the meeting.
When I finally arrived in the little airport in Comox on Vancouver Island, my host family was already waiting for me with a big sign “Welcome to your second host family, Britta!” I had one host mother and two host sisters, both around my age (14, 15). They were a perfect family for me, because they were really sporty and loved the nature just like me. I became really good friends with my sisters! It was a totally different life than in my own family though. I think the biggest issue for me were the meals. I´m used to eat together for breakfast, lunch and dinner, especially on the weekends. And if we can´t make it there are normally at least two of us at the table, so we can talk about our day and things we want to do later. But in my host family this was totally different. They just ate when they were hungry, so we almost never ate together and instead of sitting at the table they sat on the couch for the most of the meals. I understood their reasons, but it was one of my biggest issues there. I got used to it after a time though.
Another new experience was the school. I was really looking forward to the first day of school, because I wanted to meet new people. The teachers there took care of us really well. On the first day they showed us the school and we did a little test, so they knew how good our English was. They also talked about emergency, the rules of the school and the exchange program and about our life in the host family. Then they gave us our schedules and we went to the last two classes of the day. I had baking, arts, gym, drama and english. Later I changed from arts to foods, cause I didn´t like arts a lot. It was no problem.
The school started at 09:00 am and finished at 03:30 pm. We had a lunch break at 12:00 pm for about fifty minutes. Every second wednesday the school finished a bit earlier. After the school there were a lot of different kinds of sports we could do. I actually did gymnastics, aerial arts and dragon boating. It wasn´t from the school, but I already did gymnastics in Germany and I didn´t want to skip it and I always wanted to try aerial arts. Dragon boating was for free so it was a great chance to try it.
As long as Mt. Washington was open I went skiing almost every weekend. It´s really easy to go up the mountain with the bus. I also had the opportunity to go to Whistler with the ski team from our school for two days. It was a great experience!
In my free time I did a lot with my friends. We went to the cinema, had sleepovers or went skiing. In the summer we went to the beach a lot and had beach fires there. I love Vancouver Island, because of it´s nature! In the winter you can go skiing and in the summer you have the beach. It´s just perfect.
With the international students we did on or two excursions every month. The best trip was to Tofino. It´s on the west coast of Vancouver Island and there are beautiful beaches. We also went surfing there. On the trips we got to know the other exchange students better. We were like a big international family and I think I found friends there for my whole life.
I also went on some trips with my family. In spring break for example we went to Vancouver. I was even allowed to take one of my friends with me. In Vancouver we went shopping and sight-seeing. It´s such a wonderful and impressive city! On the one side you have the skyscrapers and Downtown with the shops and on the other side there was the ocean with the beach.
To live in another country was a really good experience for me! I got more independent and more open-minded. If you get the chance to do something like that, do it. The beginning is hard, especially if you feel homesick (I know that feeling), but in the end you won´t regret it!