Student Exchange: Exploring the Animal Kingdom

IMG_7898On March 12, I was taken to the Rhino and Lion Reserve where I had a once in a lifetime experience. About an hour into our drive, I saw the big sign with two lion statues next to it. We drove in and I immediately saw animals. I saw ostriches and a giraffe. While driving around, we saw all sorts of bucks, like the blesbuck, rooihartebeest, sable and springbok, which is South Africa’s national animal. We also saw a warthog with her two babies. We then drove up to the predator camp, which is where the more dangerous animals are, and we were just in time for the feedings. We watched wild dogs, cheetahs and lions being fed. It was so cool because we were right next to all of them in our car watching them eat.

We then went to the cubs pavilion where there were cubs and other grown feline friends. There were also pygmy hippos and a rhino, but because the cats are so dangerous and you couldn’t be in a car in that area, they were behind fences so you couldn’t get hurt. At the cub centre, there were baby lions, tigers and cheetahs. I got to pet baby tigers which was so exciting! Some of the larger cats we saw, were grown cheetahs and tigers, leopards and black leopards. When we were driving back towards the exit we saw some zebra too. As we were about to leave we saw the giraffe right next to the restaurant balcony so I rushed up and as I got there, I saw its long neck and head right in front of me. I probably could’ve touched it! By the end of that visit I had seen the lion, rhino, buffalo and leopard, which is four out of the big five.

The next weekend we went to the elephant sanctuary, which also consists of a mini monkey sanctuary. We were put into a group of around 20 people. We walked through the monkey sanctuary where there were lemurs and bush babies. Next, as we walked through a gate, there were two elephants standing right in front of us. We got two buckets of food that we had to feed to them. I cupped my hands and put the food in one of the elephant’s trunk, and then he brought it up to his mouth. Once we emptied the buckets, we got a lesson on the anatomy of the elephant and saw some bones, which were so big. We then met two other elephants, and got to touch them and take pictures with them. I touched an elephant’s trunk, tusks, stomach, legs and ears. We also got to look inside his mouth and see his teeth and tongue. I then went to see the second elephant and got a kiss on the cheek. His trunk was so big and dirty, so it left a muddy mark on my face. Once all of us had gotten kissed by the elephant, we went to walk with two other elephants. It was my turn to walk with them, so I put out my hand behind me and she put her trunk to my fingers as if holding my hand. We walked for a few minutes and then said goodbye. It was such an exciting outing and on top of that, we visited an African craft market. After both of those trips I got to see all of the big five. How many people can say that?

– Dahlia Kahn ‘18, Exchange Student at St. Stithians College

Student Exchange: Gaining New Perspectives

Dahlia_Kahn26On Saturday, March 5, I attended my first ever rugby game. I went with my host and her dad, two other exchanges and their hosts and their families. It was at this huge stadium with what looked like a football field in the middle. We were all dressed up in blue, including face paint, to cheer for the Blue Bulls. The Blue Bulls were from South Africa and were playing against the Rebels, who were Australian. We were all sitting on the edge of our seats cheering and having a great time. We won the game and everyone was jumping and screaming for joy. Once the game was over and we were just about to leave, they opened the gates to the field and a bunch of kids ran onto it. At first we weren’t too sure what was going on, but then realized that anyone could run on the field and have a good time. The rugby players were also there behind a rope taking photos and signing autographs. It was a really good game, the best one I have ever seen.

A few days later, on March 9, I went to Albert Street with the grade eights on a community service outing. There I got the chance to spend time with young children who don’t have parents and are refugees from other African countries. We got there and the first thing I noticed was that when the kids saw us they were so excited. They were waving and smiling at us and it was a great feeling. We got separated into groups of two and placed in classrooms. I was placed into a grade 2 class with around 12 students. The class itself was very small and cramped and there were no games or books, which is very different from the grade 2 classes at LCC. It really made me reflect on how lucky and fortunate I am for everything I have. Once we got to know some of the children, we played games with them such as Simon Says. A few minutes later they had a break. Where they played was very shocking to me. It was in a small back alley with barbed wire around it, pipes above the ground, and a big muddy puddle because it was raining. There was a piece of cardboard in the middle of it which all the kids wanted to jump on and over. They were all running and jumping and even fighting over whose turn it was. It really made me think how these kids have so little and just jumping in a puddle put a huge smile on their faces. Time passed really fast and it was time to go. I will never forget that day of how just playing a game with those kids or giving them a hug put a huge smile on their faces. It was such a memorable experience, one I will keep with me forever.

Dahlia Kahn ‘18, Exchange Student at St. Stithians College

Scenic Cape Town

Dahlia_Kahn11On Wednesday, February 17, I landed in Cape Town awaiting the adventure that followed. We got in quite late so our journey only really began the following day. We awoke early in the morning and headed off to Table Mountain. We reached the top and the view was amazing. You could see everything. I walked around, took a ton of pictures and had a great time. After, we went to the aquarium, which was pretty cool. We got to hold starfish, sea urchins and sea anemones. We also saw many other creatures, including fish, sharks and turtles. It had been a long day and we needed to get some sleep.

On Friday, we decided to take the train to Simonstown and then walk to Boulders Beach, otherwise known as the beach with all the penguins. The train ride was very scenic and we were by the ocean the whole time. We even got to see dolphins swimming and jumping around. When I reached Boulders Beach, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were so many penguins. There were baby penguins and even eggs!

The last day, we woke up early in the morning and started our drive to Cape Point, the most southern part of Africa. We got there after two hours and hiked up the mountain to see the point and everything around it. We saw where the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans met as well as beautiful beaches. We walked back down and headed home. On Sunday, we flew back to Joburg. After this long journey I can definitely say that Cape Town is a beautiful city and I would love to go back one day.

 – Dahlia Kahn ‘18, Exchange Student at St. Stithians College

An Unforgettable Experience in South Africa

Cedric_Briere9

My stay in South Africa has been one of the best experiences of my life. The people here have been very welcoming to me and have made my stay extremely memorable.

The school I am attending is St. Stithians College. The size of the school is astronomical and they are very strong in sports. Teachers are very strict and it is extremely formal. One must stand behind the chair, until a teacher greets you. The biggest difference is their school sprit. Not to say that LCC does not have spirit, but at sporting events people are much more “into the game”. Many more people attend the games and they sing school chants during these events. People are required to watch the senior team of their sport play, which leads to having many in attendance.

I have made many memories and unforgettable friendships at this school. While here, I have seen all of the “big five” animals, I have been to the site where the first traces of mankind have been recorded, I have played with, fed and touched elephants, tigers and lions.

This experience has also has put into perspective how fortunate we all are to have what we have. Many people here live on eight dollars a week. For many people, it is a dream to come to Canada or the United States because of the amount of opportunity, and this trip has really made me realize how fortunate I am to come from Canada. This has been the most unforgettable experience for me and I have leaned a lot.

– Cedric Brière ’18, Exchange Student from St. Stithians College

Exploring South African Culture

Dahlia_Kahn3The first day I arrived in South Africa was so exciting and nerve-racking. I had just gotten off of a 15-hour flight to go and meet my new exchange. I was greeted with a very warm welcome from Tatum, my exchange, and her mother, Debbie. We had driven home in the boiling hot weather, just after attending the school’s open house. It gave me a chance to see what the school was like and understand how a few things work. We arrived at home in no time, where I was greeted with balloons and posters wishing me a great stay while I’m here.

The next day I was very jet lagged, but managed to take on the day. I was taken around the neighbourhood and shown multiple parks, houses and even a few different birds. including the Hadada. For dinner, I tried a South African sausage called Boerewors, which was quite delicious. It had been a long day and I needed to get some rest seeing that the next day was my first day of school. School started at 7:30 am which is around when I normally get downstairs in the morning in Montreal. We had to wake up at 5:30 am and leave the house by 6:30 am. Once we arrived, I was welcomed and it felt as though everyone was my friend. The day consisted of seven subjects, one of which was Afrikaans. Although it was interesting to listen to, it was very hard to follow and understand. St. Stithians College is also different due to the fact that it is an all girls’ school and most of their hallways and lunch zones are outside (you are responsible for packing your own lunch). It’s so nice to be able to sit outside in the sun and enjoy the weather, unlike how it’s cold and snowy in Montreal. After school their are multiple sports options including running, swimming, squash, etc. I decided I would do Saint Striders, which is running.

The school is a Christian Methodist Church, which means that on every Tuesday we go to chapel. It was the very first time I was attending any form of church and it was really interesting. There were beautiful stained glass windows and a giant organ. Once everyone was seated, a choir sang and it was beautiful. I’m looking forward to hearing them sing again.

 – Dahlia Kahn ‘18, Exchange Student at St. Stithians College