Archive for Countries/Canada

The best way to reach adulthood: go abroad!

It has been a few years now since my first adventure abroad, without any friends and so far away from Mummy. It was in 2007, after finishing my A-level exams, when I went to Montreal, Canada. I had decided to study Romance Languages, but before I could start my studies, I had to ‘brush up’ my French. I had received six years of French tuition at school, but it was two years since my last lesson. I loved the idea of travel and globetrotting, and felt France would have been too boring for me. So I decided on Canada; the city of Montreal it would be!
I cannot really describe my feelings and thoughts that went through my head when I was sitting alone at the airport, thinking about all the things I had left behind and my expectations for all that lay ahead. The first adventure of my trip started straight away: my first flight (Frankfurt-London) had been delayed so I only had a very little time to change terminals at London Heathrow. I had met some other Germans, who also had to hurry to reach their connecting flight. With their help I was able to find out how to change terminals: We had to take a bus. As we were in the United Kingdom, the bus driver drove on the left hand side of the road, and this was scary, some of the Germans were really frightened by this experience. I had only been thinking about what I would do if I had missed my flight: So it was a relief that everything went well and I arrived safely in Canada.
Upon arrival, I took my two huge suitcases (yes, at that time you were allowed two pieces of baggage!) and immediately found the gentleman from the language school who had come to collect me from the airport. Everything was running perfectly so far, it seemed I could be arriving with my host family in time to get to bed ‘early’(think about the time difference between Germany and Canada!). But I wasn’t able to reach my bed in such a short time, because we had to wait for two boys who were also arriving at the same time and would be attending the same language school as myself. And they did not arrive! I do not remember how long we had to wait until we finally found them. Their luggage had got lost during the journey, which was the cause of the long delay. I felt very lucky to have been organized and prepared for any disaster with back up supplies in my hand luggage, but I did feel sorry for the two boys who had nothing.
When I finally arrived at my host mother’s home, it was already passed midnight (according to Canadian time) which means that my biological clock was crying for breakfast but I only wanted to sleep. During the first few days of my arrival at my new (if temporary) home, I had time to explore the city and to settle in. School started soon enough with evaluative tests to determine my ability and language level. Then the classes ‘for real’ started. For four weeks, I had had French classes in the mornings and in the afternoon a preparation class for the internship. The morning classes were very funny and interesting, but the afternoon classes were a little disconcerting because there was only Lena, another German girl and myself participating in this course. We learned a lot, and it was certainly better being part of a small group and Lena soon became a very good friend!
The language school offered both, English and French classes, I was lucky to have the opportunity to met so many amazing people from all over the world. Unfortunately, at that time, the social networks were not as popular as they are today so sadly I have lost contact with the friends I met on this trip to Canada. I would love to have the chance to meet some of these people again and see how we all have changed over the years.
After four weeks of language course, I started an internship at AMARC, an organization that connects community radio stations around the world with each other. I had to cut audio-data, update homepages and translate between English and French, I really enjoyed this first work experience.
The school organized lots of trips for us, every day another event: from group dinners, to picnics, from sports matches to nightlife, and from New York to Toronto. The offer was simply amazing! One weekend we went to New York, another one to Toronto and Niagara Falls! The day at the huge waterfalls was definitely the best day of my life and I am still saying this even seven years later! After having seen lots of other parts of the world and meeting lots of great people! But being in such a warm and hospitable place with people you have taken to your heart is an experience that is not repeated often in one’s life.
After two amazing months we all parted sadly had to part company, left with beautiful memories of the first real challenge in my life, and a time that let me grow up and become more independent.
The experience changed me, helped me to find myself and I had the best ever time of my life!
I returned to Germany to discover that one of my two suitcases was still in London!

Canada Experience – Internship in Montreal

Hey, I am Julia from Germany. I am 21 years old. Last year I was in Montreal, Canada for two months. For the first four weeks I did a language course at the International Language School of Canada in order to improve my French. After that I did an internship in a private gym for another four weeks.

First of all, Montreal is a great city to live in. There is so much to see and to do and you can visit other towns, for example Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa or even the Niagara Falls. The best thing for me was the bilingual experience because almost everybody is fluent in both English and French.

During my language course I met people from all over the world. They mostly came from Europe, Japan and South America. I learned a lot from them and we had a great deal of fun together. Now I have friends everywhere and by visiting them I will do a lot of travelling. In my school there were lots of Germans but I tried to talk French to them all the time.

Later on, during my internship in the gym, I was in charge of administration and of dealing with the clients. At first it was really difficult because they all had this Quebec accent which was really hard to understand, but it helped me to improve my French a lot. Now I am able to speak French without even thinking about it. After two weeks I came to love the accent and now I miss it very much. I even watch youtube videos about interviews with French-Canadiens just to listen to the sound of it from time to time.

Unfortunately I didn’t do an internship related to my studies (translation) but nevertheless I’ve learned a lot. I recommend a stay abroad to everybody, whether it is an internship or an au-pair or studying abroad. It enriches your knowledge, broadens your horizons and you get to know different people with different points of view. You will learn for you life and
you will find out new stuff about yourself as you will develop throughout time.

Go abroad, embrace life and make the most out of it! You won’t regret it!

Julia Stegmaier