THE JAG: Thinking About an Exchange?

by Saje Griffith

Ever thought about doing an exchange? Do you enjoy getting to know people from other places and cultures? Wondering what other people think when they visit Victoria? Saje Griffith interviewed two of the students on exchange to SMUS to get some more information:

William Harris arrived in Victoria 2 weeks before the start of school and returned home September 31st.

“I’m from Melbourne, Australia. It’s a lot bigger than Victoria, about 4 million people. There are a lot more skyscrapers and it’s on the bay. It takes a bit of getting used to, living with another family and getting into another bed every night (William was staying with Harry Shaw and his family).

I’m not missing home that much to be completely honest, just my friends and stuff. I didn’t really know what to expect, I just thought I’d come and see what it was all about. Learning about Canada’s geography with Mr. Henderson was neat.

My experience here has been great, I’d definitely want to come back on a holiday. Victoria is small, but it’s really nice and SMUS’s been great. Meeting people and making friends has been the best part.

At home I go to an all boys school, so it’s a lot more rowdy and a lot more vocal. Whereas here the guys mostly stay in line. I don’t know whether the girls have that influence, but they probably do.

I wanted to do an exchange because it’s a good way to meet people and get insider knowledge about Canada. I would definitely encourage other kids to do exchanges; you get to see where you and your country are at compared to the rest of the world. It feels like I’ve changed as a person over these six weeks, though I’m not sure how.”

Cléo Shmitt arrived in Victoria 2 weeks before the start of school and returned home on October 14th.

“I’m from Strasbourg, France. It’s located on the east coast, just next to Germany. It’s similar in size to Victoria, but it’s not really a main city. It’s different living with three girls (Cleo was staying with Catie Bass and her family), because I have two brothers. And they live on a farm, which I do not. But I liked it, they were really nice. It’s been a really good experience, I would like to do it again. I had done two two-week trips to Germany, but this was the first time being away from home for 8 weeks.

I’m looking forward to seeing my cats, my friends, and my family when I get home, but I do not want to see my school. I really like wearing uniforms, and in my school we finish three days a week at six o’clock, which is really really late, and then I still have a lot of home-
work. The relationships between the teachers and the students are different here than at my old school, where there is more difference between the students and the teachers.

I don’t know how much my English has improved, but I definitely understand more, and I’m more fluent. I don’t really miss French.

History class is very different here, we don’t learn the same things (they would learn French and European history opposed to Canadian).

Before I came I thought that the sun would rise at 2pm and set at 4pm, but it’s not like that. And I also thought that there would be snow all the time and I would eat pancakes and maple syrup but we did not eat that much. I really liked Victoria and my family was very nice.”

This story appeared in the October issue of The Jag student newspaper. Click here to read the full edition.


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