Eight Wonderful Weeks in Australia

My time in Australia has flown by. After spending eight wonderful weeks here it is finally time for me to return home. I would like to thank Georgia and my exchange family for making my time here so amazing.

 

While I was over, I had the chance to go on the Outward Bound camp, a ten-day trek across the Australian outback. Over the course of our trip, my camp group travelled over 70 km on foot while each carrying over 50 pounds on our backs. We slept under a tarp strung between two trees, known as a bivvy, and cooked all our own meals. Hiking was very tough because most of the time there were no paths, so we had to make our own and this was called “bush-bashing” because the people in the front were literally breaking branches and bushes so that we could all get through.

 

We spent a lot of time on our hikes taking long detours to avoid gullies because supposedly a bunch of bulls had escaped from a farm nearby and now they were wild and liked to stay in the gullies where it was cooler. No one laughed when our instructor told us on the last night of camp how there were actually no bulls in the gully and it was all just a joke like gully-bull, gullible. Another time we spent about an hour making stick pyramid traps for the elusive hoop snake, an Australian snake that rolls like a wheel instead of slithering (it didn’t exist either). Throughout the trip, our camp group really bonded. We would sing songs together while we were hiking to pass the time and play fun games like Camouflage (extreme hide-and-seek) after lunch.

 

The purpose of the trip was to challenge us, take us out of our comfort zones, and also to make us better leaders. The instructors encouraged us to do everything by ourselves. They helped us out on the first few days, but by Day 4, we were on our own. They only intervened if we were in danger, like if we were heading too close to a blister bush. They didn’t even tell us if we were walking in the wrong direction, which we were, because at one point we navigated to the edge of a cliff instead of our campsite. Oops.

 

One of the days we went to these beautiful rocky cliffs overlooking the ocean. Our instructors took away our watches and split us up for solo time. We each got a different spot to sit overlooking the ocean and spent approximately three hours sitting there in silence. They didn’t give us our watches back until the following night so for the whole next day we had the opportunity to experience life without time.  Though Outward Bound was very challenging, it was definitely worth it. This experience made me so much more confident in my abilities and I also feel that I am a much stronger leader because of it.  It also made me appreciate the little things more like running water, clean clothes, non-powdered milk, and showers.

 

As for going on exchange, it is without a doubt one of the best choices I have made. I really encourage other students to give it a try next year. I’ve learned so much and had so many new experiences. I’ve made some great friends who I hope to see again sometime. I’m certain that the memories I’ve made here will stay with me forever.-Alexandra Gardilcic ’16

Eye-Opening Australia

The entire exchange experience is incredible, but I think that I may have had the best experience of all: I was able to take part in a 10-day camping trip with Outward Bound. I was able to see Australian bushland, and live in it. The trip was incredible as well, since I was able to bond with the group of 17 kids that I was with, some of which I didn’t know at all beforehand! Although the trip may have been tough, with lots of hiking, the experience was worthwhile without a doubt, and I will take home experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.

As my time in Western Australia comes to an end, the Hales family brought me one last place, before I head home this Saturday: Perth, the capital of WA. The first afternoon was spent in Fremantle, with a visit to the markets, followed by a picnic in King’s Park, and watching the sunset. The next day, we visited Adventureworld, an amusement park, where I first went upside-down on a roller coaster. The following day, we went to the Perth Zoo. The Perth Zoo had an entire section called “Australian Bushwalk”, where the animals weren’t entirely in cages, and could run across the path if they so chose to. That afternoon, we did an “Eye to Eye Encounter” with Tasmanian Devils, where we got to feed and learn about the species (they don’t really run around in circles creating tornadoes, unlike Looney Toons led me to believe!). Once that was done, we returned to Margaret River, where I will spend my last days Down Under! — Michael Hamilton ’16

 

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La jolie France – Semaine 5: La dernière semaine avant les vacances de pâques

IMG_4674Ce dimanche les parents de Marie voulaient que j’aille à leur travail avant que je reparte, alors toute la famille est venue. Quand je suis rentrée dans la salle, j’étais très surprise, c’était si grand. Leur travail s’appelle « Kidzy », et il y en a cinq ou six en France, car c’est une compagnie qui appartient à la famille Chrétien. Kidzy est une grande salle où les enfants peuvent jouer; une plaine de jeux. Il y avait un grand espace de jeux avec plusieurs activités, une piscine à balles, « air hockey », une petite course de voiture, et des tables pour les fêtes des enfants. Il y a beaucoup à manger chez Kidzy ; des gâteaux, des glaces, et pleins d’autres choses que chaque enfant rêve de manger. Quand tous les enfants ont terminé leurs fêtes, Xavier, le père de Marie, a fermé la plaine de jeux pour que nous puissions manger. Après le repas, moi, Marie, Léonora, et Noé sommes allés jouer un peu dans les jeux. C’était une journée pleine d’activités et d’adrénaline.

Cette semaine est ma dernière semaine au Lycée St Vincent. Je suis très triste de dire au revoir à tous les amis que j’ai rencontré, et tous les professeurs qui m’ont accueilli dans leur classe. C’était intéressant d’apprendre beaucoup sur cette école et les différences entre ce lycée et LCC.  Je vais avoir plein de souvenirs dans ce lycée, avec tous les gens qui m’ont accueilli avec gentillesse.

Cette semaine est aussi le début des Pâques juives. Comme la famille de Marie n’est pas juive, une copine dans la classe de Marie m’a invitée a célébrer les fêtes avec sa famille pendant les deux soirs importants. C’était un autre changement qui était difficile pour moi, mais ils étaient vraiment gentils et accueillants. Sa famille vient d’Allemagne et les traditions que j’ai chez moi étaient presque les mêmes qu’ils ont. J’étais fascinée par leurs traditions et c’était enrichissant de voir des juifs hors de Montréal.  – Ilana Singer ’16

Inside the Skin of Another Lion

This week, I am away from our campus at a school in Ontario. I am chairing an accreditation team of a dozen educators drawn from across Canada. It is my duty to offer my services as part of the larger family of independent schools in our national association, CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools). Every seven years member-schools complete an exhaustive self-evaluation, outlining strengths and areas for improvement in all aspects of a school’s operations. The school is then visited by a team of educational specialists. They investigate and validate the school’s claims, by holding them up to national benchmarks and the latest educational best practices. Why do schools go through such a process?

LCC is a member of this national association of close to 100 independent schools. Through a rigorous accreditation process, each independent school is forced to openly evaluate its core strengths and challenges.  Internally, faculty, staff and board members evaluate and reflect upon the school’s implementation of a dozen key educational standards, from academics and co-curricular life to finance, governance and administrative leadership.

It has been an interesting and challenging week. Our team has met many dedicated faculty and staff while witnessing the daily routines of school life through the lens of a unique learning community. This includes a different local context, unique routines, approaches and special areas of focus. However, the connection between great teachers and the energy and achievement of students is a constant that is impressive when done well, regardless of school setting. I have seen many memorable learning moments this week in students from kindergarten to grade 12. By being at another school I am refreshed by belief in the magic energy of children and their deep desire to learn, develop and emerge. In helping to shape the next generation, I am also reminded that all teachers possess a great privilege.

Sometimes we need to leave our own backyard for such poignant and motivating reminders to have impact. As it is for our students, meaningful growth comes with meaningful experiences. I am pleased I was able to crawl into the skin of another lion. –Chris Shannon, Headmaster

 

Student Exchange Melbourne: A Once In A Lifetime Experience!

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I have now been in Australia for five weeks and I am reaching the very end of my stay. I have had an amazing time in this beautiful country; I have seen so many wonderful things. When I arrived the first thing I noticed was the smell of the ocean.  School also has shorter days and more periods. We are always outside as to get from one class to another you need to actually go outside and walk to the next class. People here eat lunch outside unlike Montreal where we spend most of our time inside during winter.

 

During my stay in Australia I have been to the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water is bright blue and the sand is white. The water is always the perfect temperature. There where many different beaches, so if I felt more active, I could go to one with more waves…if I wanted to relax I could just go to a beach with little or no waves. One thing that I like about Australia is that there are all kinds of climates: there is desert, ocean, and rain forests and in winter there can even be snow at the top of some mountains. I was lucky enough to experience three of those climates. If I could stay here for just a little bit longer, I might have been able to witness some Aussie snow. But I have heard that it’s nowhere as good as Canadian snow!

 

I play a lot of sports such as football, hockey and rugby. Coming to Australia I was looking forward to playing a bit of rugby. When I arrived people told me that rugby was a winter sport and that I wasn’t here for that season. I had to choose a sport to do while I was here, so I decided to start a new sport. I joined a long line of champions in the rowing team at Carey Grammar School.  Rowing is a big thing in Australia, kind of like hockey is in Canada. All the best athletes are in rowing as a summer sport. If you are not rowing you are playing cricket, and I definitely didn’t want to play cricket.

 

My stay in Australia is drawing to a close, I have been here for almost six weeks, I have made many friends and memories and it will be hard to leave them behind. Another thing that I will miss is my great host family. All and all, this was a once in a lifetime experience and I enjoyed it very much. I would strongly recommend it for other students next year. – Zachary-Pierce Pfefferle ’16