My Experience at the Montreal International Congress

by Sena Lee, Grade 11

Collège Sainte-Anne de Lachine just had its 150-year anniversary. So in order to celebrate, students and the faculty invited people from more than 10 countries over the world. For a week, students were to have Model United Nations simulations, St. Anne’s historic site visits and a “Free the Children” conference.

It was interesting to meet people from all over the world, especially parts such as Senegal, Belgium and France. Also three students from Japan came. Later that week, they told me that initially they decided not to come due to the earthquake and the tsunami. However, Yuuka – one of the Japanese girls – told me that this was once in lifetime event and they did not want to miss it. One of the best things about this congress was that we did not stay at hotels. We were invited to stay at St. Anne’s students houses.

On the first day, our congress had a big opening. With St. Anne’s marching band in the front, we marched through the school as the students and faculties welcomed us. Later that afternoon, we danced traditional Quebec dances. (Just a reminder for people who want to try this dance, this will make you feel very dizzy – and I mean very). The second day was more of a preparation for the Model UN, which was on Thursday.

The third day I think was the best day. That afternoon, we had a talent show. Schools from all over the world did their best to show us their cultures or teach us about their school. Senegal performed their traditional dances called mandika. The students from the Fudan High School in China made animal shadows using their hands, which were just so realistic that I once thought they were paper cutout animals. Our school performed our Monday assembly for the talent show. Michael Muirhead and Gaby Jeliazkov acted as a Head Boy and Head Girl to start off the assembly. Then Athletics Council, represented by Alex Economou as an athletics council member, told the audience about our rivalry with Oak Bay High and our rugby game. Then for the International Council, Bonnie Moore danced a traditional Scottish dance, while I performed a Korean pop dance. After that the Goodmans – Mr. Goodman and Maddy – talked about the musical. Finally, Victoria Lunn ran SMUS Has Got Talent, doing our popular marshmallow game Chubby Bunny. I have to say that everyone enjoyed this.

When it was time to leave, honestly I was about to cry. Although it was only a week, I already felt as though the host family was my family. The whole week went so quickly that I could not believe I had to leave. I believe this experience was transformative and memorable. I would recommend any SMUS student gets involved in an opportunity like this.

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