Nanna and Iver from Norway wanted to study abroad and are pleased they chose the Saanich International Student Program because of the wide range of courses and activities available in their schools and the community. Both students say that they decided to go overseas because they enjoy new experiences and wanted to become more independent. For Nanna, “My main reason for coming was the overall experience of doing something different.” Iver feels the same, “I’m interested in experiencing new things, I wanted to live the culture and see how schools are over here.”
In Norway their school is on the linear system where they take eleven courses all year. “Our teachers move around and we stay in the same class group. But the semester system here helps you to focus more because you are taking fewer courses at the one time.” Choosing Canada was an easy decision. Nanna , “I’ve always wanted to travel to see other parts of the world but I’ve been interested.
An important consideration in choosing Saanich was the opportunity to choose a school program that would give them credits for their Norwegian high school graduation requirements. In Norway they attend a “Sports High School” so in Canada would have to engage in courses and activities that would be recognized in Norway. Saanich schools and local community programs offer such a wide range of options that both students found it easy to meet their educational needs in Canada since I did a project on this country in elementary school”.Iver, “I like hockey so I wanted to come to Canada where people live and breathe hockey and treat it as their national sport. We also wanted to improve our English. In Norway we learn English from an early age and now we have a chance to speak it all the time and to actually think in English.”
Nanna attends Stelly’s where she is enrolled in the Athletic Conditioning course, has competed on the swim team and is taking full advantage of the school’s world class indoor climbing facility. See www.climbtheboulders.com “I have made some friends in the A/C class and we also do the climbing together. The swim team was so much fun, it was my first experience with competitive swimming and I came second in two separate events. The climbing facilities are fantastic and they are right in the school.” Nanna’s is taking three other courses in semester one. “ I have Math 11 and am really enjoying Comparative Civilization 12 and Social Studies 11 because they are different courses than back home and I find them interesting.”
Iver enrolled at Parkland so he could join the school’s Hockey Academy. “This is great, I get four hours of extra ice time in three sessions a week to practice my skills and improve my skating. On the other two days we do dry land training and have some classes to learn more about hockey knowledge. We have Hockey first period every day but I am also taking Math, Social Studies and Intramurals in semester one.” Both Nanna and Iver have a study period each day so they can work on the two online courses they must take from their school in Norway.
Another big advantage of attending school in Saanich is the range of community activities and facilities available for International Students. Nanna’s major interest outside of school is Equestrian. “I’ve been riding for thirteen years and enjoy all three disciplines – Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country. I am glad there are so many stables here and I have found one that fits my level of experience and expertise. It also helps that my Homestay Mom is a rider.” See www.lochsidelanefarm.com
Iver is happy to be living in a hockey community with the ice rink close to his homestay and his school at the Panorama Recreation Centre. “It is a short walk from my house to the rink for my morning classes and then we catch the bus back to Parkland. I am now eligible to play for the local Junior B Team, the Peninsula Panthers, so I can use all the training that I have received in the Hockey Academy in real game situations. I am learning so much about Canadian hockey. It’s more physical and the rink is smaller so I’ve had to change my style of play.”
Nanna and Iver are both happy with their school programs, their homestay lives and their community activities. They are enjoying the different school environment and are pleased to be engaged in classes and activities here in Canada that will give them school credits back home in Norway. Their advice to students who are thinking of joining the Saanich International Student Program? “Just come! It’s fun, it’s an experience you really won’t forget. You will meet lots of new people and get a chance to try new things. We’re really happy here.”