Student Exchange: Cheers from Melbourne, Australia!

beautiful_city_of_melbourneOn Friday, October 10, I left Montreal for Melbourne, Australia. I was very excited to see Connor again and to meet all the kids at Carey Grammar. From what Connor had told me, I knew what to expect, but I was still a little bit nervous. What if I don’t like the kids? What if I’m not able to keep up with the schoolwork? What if I didn’t like my host mother’s cooking? These were all little things that nagged me while I was on the plane, but I pushed them to the back of my mind.

Because of a strange flight schedule, I had an 11-hour layover in Los Angeles. I took the time to meet up with my cousin Bryant, who I had not seen for the longest time. They took me around LA and I saw some famous Los Angeles landmarks, such as Rodeo Drive and Sunset Boulevard. Bryant is a high-end car aficionado, so we drove by the dealerships for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, and many more. Every time we saw a fancy car on the street, he made sure to point out what make and model it was. After driving around LA for almost an hour, he took me on a hike in the foothills. At the summit, we had a 360° breathtaking view of LA. I saw the Hollywood sign, downtown and Century City in the distance. It was a great way to cap off the day.

The one thing I was worried about most was sleeping on the plane ride, but that took care of itself. After getting up at 5:30 am Montreal time and having to stay up until my 11:00 pm LA time flight, I was exhausted and ended up sleeping 11 of the 15 hours on the plane. I started to get butterflies as the plane approached Melbourne on Sunday morning. The questions that I had pushed to the back of my mind started to come back. What if I got stuck in customs? I think I may have checked to see if I still had my passport about every 30 seconds. Luckily, passport control was no problem and I breezed right through and connected with my host family.

My first thought was that everything is backwards here. We drive on the right, they drive on the left. We’re about to start winter, they’re about to start summer. We have 2% fat milk, they have 98% fat free milk (no I’m not making that up). It took a really long time to get used to the accents. I didn’t understand anyone for the first few days I was here. I think I broke a record for saying the words “What?” or “Sorry, can you repeat that?” Eventually I got used to it, and I think I might develop some Australian mannerisms while I’m here (especially the words “oy” and “cheers”). The kids here at Carey are super nice and I’m having an amazing time. I am so happy I am getting to experience this amazing country. I do miss everyone in Montreal though, and I can’t wait to see you all again. – Sam Freder ’17

P.S. Go Habs go! What a start to the season!

Adventures Await in Armidale, Australia!

CricketDuring an incredibly long flight and travelling for two and a half days, the only thing I could think about was what my “home” for the next six weeks was going to be like…what are Australians like? Should I shake hands with kids to introduce myself?

I had no clue what adventures awaited me in this foreign country thousands of miles away. I was still incredibly excited while having no idea what to be excited about. Once I arrived in Armidale, I was driven directly to TAS, The Armidale School, where I Immediately jumped right into the school life getting my schedule and choosing between classes that seemed completely different to me.

While all I wanted to do was just take a nice shower and sleep, I knew I had to wake up and start meeting people. Within hours I was already settled in and had made friends and knew that I was going to enjoy my time here. I am now on my fifth day at TAS and I have enjoyed every minute. I am learning the new sport of cricket and giving class lessons on the unknown sport of ice hockey!

I am still working on understanding the strong Australian slang and I am very excited to find out what wonders Armidale has to offer! – Philippe Miller ’17, Exchange Student at The Armidale School, Armidale, Australia

First Edition of The LCC Tree: Treetober!

TreesHello Lions! Welcome to the first post of The LCC Tree, a blog that discusses one environmental topic once a month. This blog will also include really easy tips on what you can do as a person to help, and will also contain initiatives that the SS Green Team will be organizing so you know what you can do to help out at LCC. Finally, to keep things interesting, at the end of each blog, there will be a variety of media links, including informational sites, fact sheets and other web blogs, you can look into if you want to know more.

As our trees are just finishing their spectacular firework of the different tones of red, yellow and orange, what better topic is there to discuss this month other than those very things: trees.

Trees are a catalyst for life in many aspects. Obviously, their most important role is to consume carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and return the precious oxygen that all life forms on earth require, however, did you know there are over a dozen other ways that trees can contribute to our overall life quality?

Let’s start with a few other oftentimes-unseen uses. First of all, trees provide a basis for life for many animal species and foster ecosystems necessary for the survival of many individuals. In fact, coming from the World Wild Life organization, 80% of all land biodiversity exists in and depends on forests and wooded areas. This means that without trees, most of the animals and plants we have come to know and love will never be able to exist.

Not to mention, we ourselves also depend on forests in our lives. Wood is used in many of our buildings (just look at our LCC dining room!) as well as the making of many commodities. What is a pencil made of? What type of material is your desk, in school and in your home, made from? Where did we get the paper in our notebooks, and in our annual LCC Reads, The Alchemist? Furthermore, I should mention that trees contribute about $24 billion dollars to our economy in Canada, generates more than 190 000 jobs in the forest industry and is the reason why Canada is the primary newsprint producer. So you can see here how we as humans depend on this resource.

Trees also take part in improving our mood as they add color and vigour to our regular, and sometimes repetitive, lives, especially during the fall season. Every morning, when you arrive to school by bus, car, bike or other means, if you have stopped for a moment and looked at our LCC campus or the trees planted along Monkland, you will know what I mean. The vibrant and picturesque colours of those trees have a certain calming effect on the street and our campus.

Sadly, because 80% of all land biodiversity depends on wooded areas, this makes deforestation a pretty effective method of exterminating life on our planet. However, what can we as the population do?

Ways you can help

The easiest and most efficient of all methods is probably to reuse paper and recycle it properly. Reusing paper will not only save you money but lets you make the most of each tree which was put into the composition of the paper. Got a used piece of paper that’s still blank on one side? Keep it in a separate box as scrap paper, so whenever you want to write calculations for a math assignment or plan out an outline for an english essay, you can reuse the paper. Teachers also keep a special box for scrap paper as well, so if you have any paper that’s still blank on one side during class, don’t be afraid to give it to your teacher as spare paper!

If it’s not possible to do the above, you can also opt to recycle the paper. Recycling is a great alternative, albeit not as good as reusing before recycling. When recycling, however, be conscious about other things you are putting into the recycling bin. Paper can be recycled with other paper products so long as it doesnt have any sort of paint or glue on the paper. This is because the process of recycling paper uses a lot of water, so paint or glue will affect the final outcome after recycling. Moreover, if a paper recycling bin contains something else that’s not a paper product, that entire bin cannot be recycled unless that object is removed, so if you are recycling, you must be careful with what you put into your recycling bin.

IMPORTANT!

As a reminder, LCC’s green, plastic recycling boxes only recycle clean products. This means if you plan to recycle carton, plastic, paper, juice boxes or others, be sure they don’t have anything inside or on the product. For paper, watch for paint and glue as they disrupt their recycling process. For juice boxes and other fluid containers, be sure that they don’t have any juice, milk, etc. in them before putting them in the recycling bins. This goes for the metallic recycling bins as well.

Finally, if you would like to extend your support again at LCC, you can always participate in the SS Green Team’s Treetober Campaign. Starting from October 22 until Halloween, during the advisory periods, we will be accepting donations for the organization we are supporting: One Tree Planted. If you make a donation of $15 or more, you will also be given a free Tree Hugger t-shirt!

For all of Senior School, there will also be a bake sale during the lunch period on October 22. Last but not least, there will also be t-shirt raffles happening in the house office and in and around locker rooms for a chance to win another free Tree Hugger t-shirt! One ticket costs $2 but three tickets will cost $5, and along with the purchase of each ticket, you will also obtain some candy along with it. – Andrew Zhang ’17

Media Archives

Learn more about the organization supported by Treetober! http://onetreeplanted.org/

If you would like to support One Tree Planted and its cause via online donations, you may also donate here.

Another way you can help the environment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iIkOi3srLo

Know how to properly recycle not only paper, metal and plastic, but also books, old computers, bottle caps, old furniture, and more. In short, visiting this site basically makes you a recycling master: http://www.earth911.com

If you’re interested in reading some more, here’s another blog about the environment written by Hannah Alper, a young person passionate about the environment: http://www.callmehannah.ca/

Round Square: Nature’s Spa at the Dead Sea

With the beginning of the conference being absolutely packed with all kinds of speakers, bazaars, and other interesting Round Square activities, I can speak for all of us in saying we were tired and ready for a break. As well as this, we were in a new and incredibly beautiful country, but we had hardly seen anything outside the conference and bus rides! Needless to say, we were all looking forward to our expedition to the Dead Sea, technically a hyper saline lake, one of the saltiest water bodies in the world and a very popular travel destination.

So our immense international group set off to a hotel on the waterfront and went for a swim. We only had an hour there, but it was definitely worth our time. A popular saying around here is that the Dead Sea is the only sea you can’t drown in. While this is false, and there are an average of 26 incidents a year requiring lifeguard intervention on the other side of the lake, one can easily see how that is a plausible saying upon stepping into the water. Think of it like a full body liquid life vest; it’s impossible to sink, and you can very easily fall forward if you swim on your belly because your legs refuse to stay up.

Floating was a very relaxing experience for everyone, except when some of us were taught a painful lesson in osmosis upon realizing we had some small cuts that really burned. The water seemed to make our skin soft as well, but nothing compared to the Dead Sea mud. On the outskirts of the beach, people were flocking to a mud hole like warthogs in a BBC documentary. I myself partook in this, submerging myself in the pit and covering myself in the soft silt, which felt very nice. The only problem was that there was very little time to shower in the rather weak beach wash, and a loooooot of mud to be rid of. But in the end, everything was washed off and the group enjoyed complimentary resort meals before heading off, very happy to have experienced such a unique place that nature offered. - Max Makarov ’15 - Round Square International Conference,King’s Academy, Jordan

Round Square: A Trip of Realizations

photo 2[2]In a week full of unimaginable highlights, our trip to Petra might have been the greatest highlight of all. After Shobak Castle, we traveled two thousand years back in time to Petra. I’m trying really hard not to feel uncharitably smug thinking of my siblings who are, at this very moment, getting ready to go to school. I am failing, because I know how lucky I am. Petra has got to be one of the places one must see before dying.

We are dazed by sleep, still dazzled by last night, when we had dinner at the Bedouin camp. The legendary Bedouin hospitality is not exaggerated. We ate traditional Bedouin fare and danced to Arab music in a setting straight out of the Aladdin of my childhood. All around us were mountains of sandy rock in which caves were nestled. A few of the caves were adorned with lights. In the light of dawn, it feels as if last night was a dream.

Today is Friday and our alarm clock is the call to prayers. The voices raised in unison to call Allah make us shiver with excitement. It is a call that has been heard for centuries, and in this particular setting it is thrilling.

Petra lies in a valley that runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba, and its geographical location alone sounds like an Arabian poem. Petra is a rose colored archeological city, surrounded by mountains. I say “rose coloured”, but it is not an accurate description. It is in turn orange and red and pink. It is, and really, this is not an hyperbole – spectacular. Petra was, over two thousand years ago a sprawling city with an enviable water supply system. It attracted caravans of rich merchants on camels from Egypt and Arabia. Two thousand years later, we are the one flocking to Petra, awed by the tombs and temples carved directly into the red stone. I have to say it: this is so cool.

It is impossible, when climbing 900 stairs to quiet the flutter in my stomach. This feels like the greatest of adventures. We enter a square, in a burst of sunlight. It is dazzling, both literally and figuratively. I must have seen the picture of Petra’s Treasury a thousand times before today, but it is now in front of me, for real, and the effect is surprisingly stunning. There are dozens of facades, kilometers of baths and temples and tombs, partly built, partly carved into the stone. We visit a monastery.

It is all fascinating, but it is the image of the dozens of children who hustle, desperately trying to make a few dollars from the over privileged tourists that I will take away with me to LCC. I will not forget them. This is a trip of realizations that will spur us to action. I will also take with me the image of Spencer, Maxim, Nora and Sabrina riding away on camels and donkeys. The rest of us tamely take the 900 stairs back down to reality. – David Elbaz ’15 -  Round Square International Conference, King’s Academy, Jordan

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