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Crofton House News

By Jessica W.

When signing up to fly to the opposite side of the world where the water goes down the drain backwards and people drive on the “wrong” side of the road, I never could have imagined having such an amazing adventure. During my five-week stay in Melbourne, Australia, I was overwhelmed by the kindness people showed me. I loved the beautiful sky and the thrilling feeling of doing simple things that were new to me such as eating a creamy pavlova! Leaving my home, I was a little nervous. Although five weeks away from home is short to most people, to me it was still the longest time I ever would have been away from home. However, I was not nearly so nervous as I was eager to arrive and form some impressions on my own. Once I arrived, I was welcomed at the airport by my exchange partner, Luci, and her family, as well as Angel’s exchange partner, Mia, and her family. About halfway through my exchange experience, I, unfortunately, caught a cold and started to feel a little homesick when it finally hit me that I was far away from the home I knew and my loving family and friends. Looking back at this challenge I faced, I am only grateful. It taught me so much about myself and how to adapt to unfamiliar situations and conditions. Overall, I grew more independent and immersed myself in the incredible culture and people around me. I also learned lessons that I will carry with me through life. Apart from all else, I developed so many wonderful memories in such a short amount of time.

Some of the best experiences I had were ziplining fifty meters high in the eucalyptus trees with Luci, feeding kangaroos and wild cockatoos, swimming in waves that were eight feet high, as well as lying on a trampoline late one night as Luci, Angel, Mia and I studied the Southern Cross. The sky in Australia seemed ever so close. 

Although I am overjoyed to be back home in Vancouver with my family, giving my yellow labrador big hugs and visiting my friends, I will certainly miss what I hope will be the lifelong friendships I made in Australia. I am more than grateful for having had this opportunity. 

This short summary does not do justice to the adventure that I will forever hold close to my heart. I am now pen-pals with one of the girls, and I have already made plans to visit everyone again someday in the future. It was a good time. 


 

By Pippa B.

During my final days at school in Hamilton, New Zealand, I began to say my last goodbyes. Giving one last goodbye to the friends I made, the family members I met, and the beautiful country that I was so fortunate to explore was extremely tough. 

Over the past four weeks, I have visited Queenstown, Raglan Beach, Rotorua, Kawhia and many other stunning destinations. Throughout our travels, we have been educated on many aspects of Maori culture. Whether it was eating traditional food like a hangi, or watching the Haka, we were able to learn about the different aspects of the Maori culture.

When thinking about Vancouver and what I am most excited to experience again for the first time in a month, I think about how the high twenty-degree weather has made me eager to feel cold air again, and have the ability to actually sleep under the blankets at night. 

I can honestly say that I will never forget my experience on exchange and that I have learned so much about independence and adapting to new lifestyles. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to travel to New Zealand and immerse myself in the kiwi culture.

From mid-January to mid-March, eight CHS students are participating in the Global Exchange Program and attending partner schools in Australia and New Zealand. The girls will be sharing their experiences of life in the southern hemisphere through weekly blog posts and photos. Read along and share in the adventure!

Emma, Grade 10 Student 

Coming on the exchange, I was extremely nervous to leave everything familiar to me. I was leaving my friends, my house, my routines and most importantly my family. However, all those nervous feelings quickly dissipated once arriving at the Auckland Airport and seeing my host family waiting for me. I was so excited to reconnect with Caitlin, and to meet her family (and dog)! One of the first things I noticed about New Zealand, is that they drive on the other side of the road. This has been one of the hardest things to adapt to, and I still constantly go to sit in the front seat of the car and find myself sitting behind the wheel. Another big difference to Canada is the 30-degree weather I’ve been experiencing whilst Vancouver has been covered in many feet of snow!

The first weekend in NZ I was introduced to some Kiwi activities, such as floating down the Waikato River, bridge jumping, and boogie boarding at Raglan Beach. My host family was super welcoming and made me feel at home. Then came the first day at Waikato Diocesan School for Girls (Dio for short). It was strange to go to a different school, as I have been at Crofton since Grade 1, and I’ve never had to be the “new” kid. Dio is different from Crofton because to get to each class you have to walk outside, which I guess isn’t so bad when it's sunny. Another difference is we need to pack our own lunches, and the girls all eat outside. Pippa and I spent the first few days in our CHS uniform, then got to change into the Dio uniform. It is strange wearing long skirts and sandals to school, but I surprisingly really enjoy wearing their uniform. The girls and teachers have been incredibly welcoming and inclusive in my classes and at lunch.

One fun experience that I have enjoyed at school was “swimming sports”. It’s basically the equivalent of our sports day but in the pool. It was so much fun to dress up in Caitlin's house colour (yellow) and attempt to swim in some of the races. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy a weekend at their bach (a Kiwi beach house) in the gorgeous Coromandel, go biscuiting (tubing), visit the Waitomo caves and Kiwi House, run a kids “tryathlon”, watch a rugby and cricket game, go ziplining, and experience the Māori culture in Rotorua. I am halfway through my trip and looking forward to the experiences still to come.

Finally, I would like to thank my host family and most importantly Caitlin for inviting me into their home, treating me as a third child and planning endless adventures. This trip has helped me gain so much confidence and independence but most importantly prepare my parents for what it will be like when I go to university! I will forever feel I have a second family and home in New Zealand.

Angel (Grade 10 Student) 
Melbourne has truly surpassed all my expectations, and solely writing about one unique experience will not do my exchange experience sufficient justice. Melbourne has given me a number of amazing experiences, including going to the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, Chadstone, going to their local amusement park, Luna Park, walking around the city, and going to Camberwell market. However, what has truly been an experience I will never forget is swimming in the ocean for the first time. After having spent the whole morning at Chadstone, I was ecstatic to hear we would be going to the beach. This would be my first time at an Aussie beach, not to mention my first time at an actual beach in four years! Not going to lie, I was a little nervous to go to the beach, especially since there are shark attacks all the time in Australia. It certainly didn’t help when Mia (my exchange partner) and her dad were telling me of all the times they’ve been stung by a jellyfish or a bluebottle. Nevertheless, I was determined to get into the water and experience that Aussie life. Slowly we all waddled into the water, jumping as each wave crashed into us, until we were almost completely submerged in the water. Sadly, my height did not help me one bit, as I had to constantly hop on my tippy toes while everyone else just kept walking towards the waves. Twenty seconds in Mia suddenly jumped up and shouted “JELLYFISH” and me and her brother, Jake, which safe to say scared the living soul out of both of us. Both of us flailed around like dying fish trying to stay away from the “jellyfish” while Mia and her dad just laughed. In that moment, I kind of wanted to drown her, but then again, she is a highly competitive swimmer and I can doggy paddle. We stayed in the water for a while, enjoying the sensation of the cool waves rolling and crashing towards us, as we swam farther and farther out. It really was such an unforgettable experience! We then went back to the beach and sunbathed for a good ten minutes, until we were all nice and dry (and hopefully a little tanner than before)! Everything about this beachy experience was absolutely amazing and definitely unforgettable! I just pray I won’t get stung by a bluebottle or a jellyfish during my stay.

One of the highlights of my exchange, however, is definitely the Ruyton Formal. Their formal is equivalent to our Grad or Prom each year, and it was the only talk while we were here. Their formal consisted of Grade 11s and 12s, and was held at the Leonda by the Yarra. The day of the formal, March 1st, was filled with joy and excitement. I could barely walk through the halls without hearing about makeup plans, hair styles, dresses, dates, and of course the most-anticipated after party! 90% of the grade had gotten spray tans the day before, which resulted in about 50 shades of orange. The formal itself consisted of plenty of dancing, cheering, eating, and of course, PHOTOS!!! At the end of the night my feet were dead, my makeup had melted off, and I just wanted to go back to the comfort of my bed. Ultimately, it was an absolutely amazing night, and now I’ll know what to expect for Grad in two years! I still have two and a half weeks left, but I really can’t wait to see what other adventures lay ahead! 

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With the introduction of a new CHS website in April 2019, the 'read more' links found in previous issues of the newsletter will no longer work. However, the full articles can be read on this page.