Student Exchange: Athletics Galore

Simon_ShepherdI’ve been at Stanford Lake College for a week and a half and overall my experience has been great.

Our daily routine consists of an early 6:45 am breakfast, then five hours of classes. After that, we go to our extra curricular activities or athletics on the big field. While our extra curriculars are more or less the same as LCC, the athletics are a bit different. Among South African sports such as cricket, rugby and field hockey, they also focus a lot on track and field. Since I’ve been here, I’ve competed in and won the school’s long jump competition, and made the team. I also made top three in the high jump competition.

The actual curriculum and materials taught are similar to LCC, however the school is less technology-oriented. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it opens me up to new teaching styles.

I’ve really been enjoying my time here so far! – Simon Sheppard ’19, Exchange Student at Stanford Lake College

On Exchange in Thailand: We’re not in Canada Anymore!

Andrew_VandenbusscheIt’s been a week and half since I arrived in Thailand and I have loved every second of it so far. Between the lack of snow, the great people from all parts of the world and the fun atmosphere, I am enjoying myself and learning a lot.

After a long 24 hours of flying, I arrived in Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport on January 8. The first thing I noticed when I got off the airplane was the humidity. Although I was looking forward to some heat, I was not prepared for Thai heat. I had decided to travel in a heavy pair of sweatpants and a comfortable sweater but I was already broiling just getting off the plane!

When I got to the boarding house at the school, jetlagged and exhausted, I wanted to take a short nap. I turned on a 30-minute timer to make sure that I didn’t sleep too much and confuse my body more but I slept for five hours, right through the alarm! I woke up very annoyed at my timer and extremely frustrated. Then 30 seconds later my roommate, Nikhil, walked in. We got to know each other and became friends (although we do have occasional fights about whether or not the room is too cold or too hot and whether or not we should turn on the A/C. I say it’s too hot, and he says that it’s just because I’m Canadian!)

The school campus is beautiful and different from LCC in almost every way imaginable. First, the school is mostly outside, but because Thailand experiences some pretty crazy tropical storms every once in awhile, they cover most of the pathways. Sadly, I once got caught in a tropical rainstorm in the one part of the school that was not covered. Let’s just say it was not a fun experience! Second, the school is a giant garden. There are palm trees everywhere, beautiful flower hedges, and the school is surrounded by mountains covered in dense forest. Birds fly across the campus and there is even a campus cat. If you meow at it, it will meow back at you. How cute!

The school day is slightly different here than it is at LCC. Although it starts at 8:20 am and ends at 3:20 pm, there are only five periods per day, with each one lasting an hour and twenty minutes. The curriculum is also slightly different. Here, English and math are compulsory classes and you get to choose six other options. I chose history, geography, music, Spanish, biology and psychology. Most classes cover similar topics as LCC, but I’ve had to work extra hard in psychology and English!

I’ve only left the school campus twice so far, both times to go to shopping malls, which seem even more Western than some of the ones in Canada. You can go bowling, watch a movie, play in the arcade, or even do grocery shopping and get your haircut. My friends and I chose to watch the sunset over the gulf of Thailand. It was really pretty! However, what I’ve found most interesting about the trip so far is the drive from the school to the shopping malls.

Driving in Thailand is quite different from driving in Canada. The most obvious difference is that in Thailand they drive on the left side of the road (the wrong side of the road!) But there are many greater differences. Traffic in Thailand is crazy! It’s every man for himself here. No one drives in the lanes and the motorcyclists are reckless. They cut through traffic between cars, no one wears helmets and I’ve even seen them go the wrong way on one-way roads! Tuk tuks also pass by offering street food to local vendors and cars randomly park alongside the road. But by far, the biggest difference in Thailand is the poverty. I was driving by shacks that looked like old abandoned buildings. But then I took a closer look and realized that there were people living there. There were motorcycles parked outside and people standing beside their house. Although I know that there is poverty in Canada, this struck me and it seemed more prevalent than it home.

So far, I am having a lot of fun, learning a lot, meeting new people and making friends. I’m very excited because next Saturday, we are heading to the tropical island of Ko Si Chang. – Andrew Vandenbussche ’19, Exchange Student at Regents International School Pattaya

Impressive Iceland

IMG_1083Reporting LIVE from Germany: This is Abby writing on behalf of the entire LCC Round Square Conference Team and sharing with you our adventures encountered during our pre-conference trip to Iceland.

On October 5th, my group and I all met at the Montreal airport filled with excitement as well as 20 kilos of every single type of clothing we could fit into our bags (as Icelandic weather was a mystery to us!) Two plane rides later, a four-hour time difference and barely any sleep, we landed in Iceland and met the four other schools we were going to spend the next few days with. As we were all tired, we mostly spent our first day driving into Reykjavik, the capital of the country, and stopping to sightsee along the way. We explored Viking World where we learned about the history and culture of the country. We even got to go on a boat at the museum! 

The second day was jam-packed. We started off by visiting the Golden Circle, which is a huge waterfall! After having barely made it out alive due to the strong winds, we got back onto the bus and went to go see geysers. This is where I learned that Iceland is home to thousands of geysers that contain an abundance of sulfur. Steam would be spraying out of all these holes and, for the biggest one there, it would explode every 15 minutes. I was lucky enough to see the geyser’s water burst up into the air and even fall all over some of my friends on the trip that, without knowing, were in the “splash zone.” Finally, at night we went to the Blue Lagoon. Personally, this was my favourite part of the trip. We got to swim in an actual hot spring! Our group went very late at night, which made the experience even more memorable as we were entirely in the dark. We all got to spend two hours in the lagoon, which was warm and incredibly wavy. This was scary for me since we were told that it was not a good idea to get our hair wet in the water as it would become hard. I therefore had to bounce around and “ride the waves” to ensure that my 5’1 body would not dunk under the water. We all had a superb time! 

On our final day, we put on our raincoat and saw lots of Iceland’s best waterfalls. Some of them, due to the wind, would even stream upwards, which was quite funny to look at. During one particular waterfall visit, we got to make a wish in the country’s finest wishing well (legend has it that, if you watch your coin make it all the way to the bottom of the water, your wish will come true!) After this, we did our big adventure of the day: glacier hiking. We were given crampons for our feet and ice picks and got to hike all around the ice. This was a cool experience as not only was it fun but we also learned a lot about global warming. Iceland’s glaciers have been melting. Two weeks ago, they installed something that would measure how much ice is melting and the result was unthinkable. For example, one part of the hike was through a tunnel, which was one of the best parts. I was sad to hear that, at the current rate the ice is melting, the tunnel will probably be gone in the next two days… 

All in all, this was a great experience. Although the only thing we did not get to see were the Northern Lights, we all feel as though we had a fantastic time. As we say farewell to Iceland, we cannot wait to see what the actual conference has in store for us. Stay tuned!  –Abby Shine ’17

Student Exchange Australia: Becoming a Stronger Individual

Auclair_Sophia_GlidingThe past few weeks have been fun, doing things I never expected to do in a million years and challenging myself to push my comfort zone and make new friends.

While the first week of school was a bit tough, this experience has helped me become a stronger individual. The classes are super fun, the teachers are wonderful and overall, Westminster School is just a great environment.

In math, the students are working on items which I have already covered at LCC. In English, we are studying Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In history, we are working on the Industrial Revolution. Meanwhile, in art, we are looking at the painting style called Impressionism. It is very fun to learn new ways of observing things in these classes. For example, in math, I have been learning new styles of studying, which has also been helpful in learning skills.

I believe I have been participating very well in class and simply getting to know the environment. I have also been making a ton of Australian friends and friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.

Last weekend, I went plane gliding and flew the plane myself!! I also asked the instructor if we were able to do aerobatics and luckily he did a barrel roll, which was awesome. This recent weekend I went to a maze where I climbed four levels and had to avoid obstacles. This was approximately four stories high and lots of very hard work but a blast.

I am leaving in 14 days and will be sure to make the most out of the rest of the time I have here. We will be going to Sydney next weekend…stay tuned! – Sophia Auclair ’19, Exchange Student at Westminster School, Adelaide, Australia

Student Exchange Australia: Discovering my Passion


Since I’ve arrived in Australia, all my days on this wonderful journey have been filled with joy. This trip has not only been the best time of my life so far but it has also been a time where I learnt about myself as an individual and my passion for animals has deepened.

The day after I arrived I started to explore this beautiful country. On July 19, my exchange student, Abigail, Angela (her mom) and Alana (a close friend of Abigail’s), and I, explored downtown Adelaide and the amazing sites that awaited us. We first started off our day by visiting the central markets where we wandered around for a while, and then headed off to the North Terrace where we saw the university of Adelaide, an art gallery and a library. We also had an opportunity to visit Adelaide’s war memorial; it was beautifully detailed and filled with representations of soldiers that fought for Australia during World War II. We then visited the Alpine festival, which is an annual festival to celebrate winter with a lot of different fun activities available to the public. We ended the day at the Torrens River, where we relaxed for a little while.

On July 20, I had a very memorable experience. I learnt something about myself that I am very happy with as it made me aware of my deep passion for animals. It was during our visit to the Urimbirra Wild Life Park where I got to see so many different animals from those I have seen in Canada. Yes, everyone loves animals but something in my heart told me that day that I definitely want to work with animals in the future. This day was also filled with numerous activities, such as a visit to Victor Harbour where we ate fish and chips and indulged in some candy I had never seen or eaten before. We also walked around Granite Island where we found some spectacular views overlooking the bay. However, this will be the day where my happiness was greatest as it touched my passion for animals.

The next day, we went to Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens. Although there weren’t many leaves on the trees to see—it is winter in July, which feels like a warm Canadian fall—it was an amazing experience to see the Australian nature that surrounded us. After this, we went to Melba’s chocolate factory. Who can get enough junk food? Here, I tried many different chocolates that Australia is known for in this part of the world. We then walked through Hahndorf, a charming German town with lots of pretty sites and then wound down our day with a little bowling and dinner with some of Abigail’s friends.

July 22 was somewhat rainy so we had a laid back day as we walked around the Westfield Marion Mall where I had an opportunity to see stores that are unique to Australia. We also caught a movie—Central Intelligence—that was actually pretty funny. It was too rainy to do anything else so we headed home and had a relaxing night watching movies and eating junk food. The next day the weather had cleared up, and we spent some time in the Kuipto Forest where we made a bonfire and…went Pokémon hunting! We also explored the forest and roasted yummy marshmallows.

On July 24, we walked down to Jetty Road in Glenelg where we strolled along the coast of their beach, which was very windy. This being their winter, it was too cold to swim in the water as the temperature hovers around 15 degrees Celsius.

Although my trip has only begun, I have had an awesome time so far. I am very excited to go to Westminster School—even though it is my school summer break!!— and I am really happy that I am having this opportunity to travel the world.  – Sophia Auclair ’18, Exchange Student at Westminster School, Adelaide, Australia