Thu Feb 23 2017
Vores udvekslingelev Mie Lorentz, som er på udveksling i Canada, har været med i denne artikel skrevet af The Equity, Chris Lowrey. Artiklen handler om hendes og en Schweisisk piges udveklingsgophold og deres tætte venskab.
"We all have that relative who says they had to walk to school uphill each way in their bare feet. Imagine having to walk to cross an ocean?
for 16-year-olds Mie Lorenz and Manuela Wildi, that’s exactly what they had to do to attend school.
The two arrived in Canada on August 27, 2016 and are here for 10 months, while attending classes at Pontiac High School (PHS).
Lorenz is from Sjaeland, Denmark and Wildi is from Aargan, Switzerland. Both girls come from small towns in their respective homelands, som small town life is nothing new to them.
Lorenz is in grade 10, while Wildi is in a grade 10/11 split class. When they arrived, there was plenty to get used to, including navigating the hallways of their new school.
“We were the ones running into everyone,” Lorenz said. “But we’re getting to know what to do.”
It was an especially rough start for Lorenz who was plane-sick upon arrival and, also lost her cell phone.
Since both girls are in a different social setting, the two have formed a strong bond with one another.
“It’s like we’re sisters, but also friends,” Lorenz said. “We’re more like good friends than sisters. Sometimes I hate you,” she said to Wildi with a laugh.
they’ve also been able to make friends at school, which has made the transition much easier.
“Rebecca Hamilton just came up and asked if we wanted to sit with her and her friends,” Lorenz said.
Obviously, the adjustment to Canadian life has taken some time, especially since the school system in Canada is very different than it is in Europe.
In their home countries, students attend school from kindergarten until grade nine. After that, they send four years in a vocational-type training school that focusses on training for specific employment. After the four-year vocational training, with Lorenz casting here eye on business school when she is finished.
Wildi, for her part, isn’t sure what her plan is long-term, but says she enjoys math and chemistry.
“[School] is easier here,” Wildi said. “We got an exam that we could take home. I’ve never had that before.”
The two say they are learning new things about Canada, a place they weren’t overly familiar with before they came here.
“We’re learning a lot of new things,” Lorenz said. “I never knew the Vikings arrived before Columbus.”
On top of their education, Lorenz and Wildi are also getting their fill of good old Canadian experiences.
“I played a little hockey in gym,” Lorenz said. “I was trying to get the ball but I wasn’t that good.”
She added that her skating isn’t much better.
“I’m like Bambi on ice when I skate,” she said.
Although the girls haven’t been to an Ottawa Senators game yet, they say the family is in process of making that happen.
The two also went out in a snowmobile trip, as well as a ski outing at Mount Packenham. But, Mount Packenham didn’t quite stack up to the world class ski hills the girls are used to.
“They said we were almost there,” Lorenz said of their arrival to the ski hill. “I looked around and said Where is the mountain?”
Another new activity for the girls was attempting to learn the ins-and-outs of square dancing.
“We started square dancing, just to try something new.” Lorenz said. “We don’t have that in Denmark.”
The two had trouble figuring out the new dance at first.
“It was hard to start,” Lorenz said. “We’ve been there tree times, so it’s getting better.”
“We know what to do now,” Wildi said.
Despite the initial struggles to get a gasp on square dancing, the girls say they are getting the hang of it – even if they still occasionally make the odd mistake.
“We still go the wrong way sometimes,” Lorenz said.
The girls have had to adjust to the sheer size of the Pontiac compared to their homelands.
“This area is bigger.” Wildi said. “We have to ask our parents to drive us everywhere. In Switzerland, we have more trains.” For example, in Canada, a trip to Toronto is a five hour drive – a relative short drive in Canada context.
“You can’t even drive for five hours in Denmark,” Lorenz said. When the girls need a lift somewhere, they turn to their host family, the Moffats.
Darryl and Angela Moffat have hosted several international students in the last few years, Lorenz and Wildi are their ninth and tenth students.
The Moffats first started hosting international students from such far-flung locales as Switzerland, Denmark, South Africa, Austria, Germany, Finland and New Zealand.
Angela said the students that the family host bring all kinds of things to the table that the family can learn from.
“We get the experience of learning the different customs and traditions of different countries,” she said.
The Moffats Already have four children. Twin nine-year-old girls named Carissa and Canyssa, a seven-year-old named Sofie and a five-year-old named Beatrix.
The full-house-feeling is something that Angela Moffat welcomes.
“The more the merrier,” she said. “I’m the youngest of six kids so I’m used to a big family.” After hosting several teenaged students, the Moffats have a head start on how the handle their own children in those trying years.
For their part, Lorenz and Wildi have been very well-behaved, according to Angela. “They’re like regular teenagers,” she said.
Plus, living in remote location limits the amount of trouble teenagers can get into – like sneaking out.
“We live on a farm so they can’t sneak out and go very far,” Moffat said.
Angela says the girls have been a big help, and they love the animals on the farm.
“Mie goes out and plays with the cats even though she’s allergic to cats,” Moffat said. “they’re very helpful.”
“They have melted right into our family,” Moffat said. “It’s like they’re two members of our family. They tease our kids and our kids tease them right back.”One hiccup that rears its head from time to time is the language barrier between the Moffats and their guests.
“That’s what makes it so fun,” Moffat said. “Just trying to translate what everyone is saying.”
When their Canadian sojourn ends, the girls say they will miss all of the great people they’ve met, as well as the school spirit exhibited by studnts – something they say is nonexistent at home.
However, according to Lorenz, one of the main things they’ll miss is the affordability of Canadian fast food.
“Things are cheaper here,” Lorenz said. “I thinki read somewhere that Denmark has the second or third-highest Big Mac price.”