Hi everyone, my name is Anna. I am 21 years old and I spent the last three months in Vancouver. Going there was a rather spontaneous decision on my behalf because I wanted to get away for a little while. To be honest, Canada was not a conscious choice and more of a where-ever-my-organization-takes-me one. In the end, working with INTERNeX was a lucky coincidence.
My current home is in Berlin, Germany and I am doing my Bachelor in education. My main
reasons for going abroad were work experience and taking a break from studying. INTERNeX
found me a spot at a lovely preschool in Vancouver together with a homestay for the time being. Mainly, I assisted in supervising the children and all the other tasks that come up, e.g. laundry, dishes, clean up. The preschool I volunteered at is an inclusive one where classrooms consist of children with and without disabilities and/or special needs. Even as a volunteer I still needed organizational skills, patience, diligence and creativity. I loved that I didn’t have to be too strict but instead got the opportunity to play with the kids and experience their joy in learning new things. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work with colleagues who gave me a lot of freedom in getting to know the kids and how to best handle my work. Generally, everyone welcomed me with open arms and always stood by my side with advice and helpful words.
Spending three months in a different country is a bold decision. Nonetheless, I made that one very easily. I have wanted to go abroad for a few years now and finally took my chance. I knew that living in a homestay would never be the same as living at home. For me, that was exactly the point though — experiencing a different culture, living situation and work environment. It also sometimes means that not everything will work out perfectly. Problem solving is definitely a quality everyone should expect to use during that time.
Vancouver is a very diverse city with many possible activities. Downtown and also the rest of the city provide many opportunities for going out to restaurants, bars, clubs and activities like bowling, golfing, shopping or movies. Its location on the west coast of Canada means that there are several beaches with access to the Pacific Ocean. There is also a lot of nature to be found in Vancouver and surrounding areas. Many parks like Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth Park are right by the city. Just an hour outside of downtown you can find forests and mountains which can be walked or hiked on numerous trails. Lastly, further up north are several snow topped regions during winter. Especially outdoor-lovers have a plethora of possible activities right next door. Personally, I loved the togetherness of all of those things. I could go out for drinks and dancing on Saturday and then meet friends for a hike on Sunday. The diversity of people living in Vancouver means that there are lots of choices concerning food, music and entertainment.
Additionally, INTERNeX provides students with at least two outings per week. On Wednesdays
there is always pub night, allowing people to meet and connect with each other and make plans for the weekend. Moreover, there is usually a weekend activity. In the past, those included fashion and art events, festivals, hikes, movie nights or sports events. During my time there we also took two weekend trips to Whistler and Sasquatch Mountain. All of those opportunities made it so much easier to make friends and find people with common interests. Without that I wouldn’t have met so many people my age that were as willing as I was to go out and do stuff. I have spent many nights laughing, dancing and having a great time with amazing people.
Let me tell you, INTERNeX makes it really easy to take part in excursions to see Vancouver and find people you like. I encourage everyone to spend some time abroad. I gained more work experience, learned many new skills, got even more independent and found a confidence I didn’t have before. I would do it all over again and stay longer if I could. So be brave and take that step!
All the best