I’ve been living in Parry Sound, Ontario as an exchange student, hosted by Rotary, for a little over 11 months now. My experience in Canada has been the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.
Rotary exchange student Caitlin Meikle, of New Zealand, enjoys a Canadian favourite during her visit to Canada.
Parry Sound was an ideal place for me to live during the year because it gets a lot of snow in the winter, which was an awesome experience. The snow here is beautiful the way it covers the streets. I made my first snowman and got to experience other cool Canadian winter activities like snow tubing and snowshoeing
My summer in Canada was a major highlight of my experience, being on Georgian Bay was great place to be. My host family who I was staying with at the time had a place for me to stay on an island by Franklin Island, which was a stunning setting for my Canadian summer.
I feel very fortunate to be living in the stunning area of Muskoka, which must be one of the most spectacular and popular places in the whole of Canada. I lived near the town beaches; I enjoyed spending a lot of time there. Parry Sound has a nice beach vibe in the summer.
I’ve been blessed to have been given the opportunity to travel other parts of Canada, as well as beautiful Ontario.
I spent three weeks on an east coast tour travelling all the way to Prince Edward Island, with a busload of other exchange students from all over the world. This was a great experience and opened my eyes up to how open, widespread and large this country really is beyond this province. I’ve traveled a lot around Ontario as well, thanks to the Rotary Club of Parry Sound and volunteering families.
During my year I attended Parry Sound high school, a half semester of Grade 11 and half of Grade 12. I was lucky to be selected to do a co-op at the West Parry Sound Health Centre observing nurses at work, as well as being shown other departments in the hospital.
One thing that I found very different to home was the school. The use of lockers and the cafeteria; things my school at home isn’t equipped with.
I stayed with three awesome families who were kind enough to volunteer to host me for three to four months each. Each family gave me new experiences and showed me different parts of this country.
I also had a lot of opportunities thanks to Rotary who sponsored me to go to Rotary weekends to go to various parts of Ontario to see my exchange friends and to learn more about Canada.
This year has been the best experience I’ve ever had, thank you so much to the Parry Sound community and the Rotary Club.
(Caitlin Meikle is a Rotary exchange student from New Zealand)