My experience in Victoria with our varsity basketball team was extraordinary. While in Victoria, there was never a dull moment. I had the opportunity to experience so many things with my team, and these opportunities will inspire me for a lifetime.
My time in Victoria was so amazing that I can’t quite pin point my best memories while over there; however, there were several experiences that I’ll never forget. My first experience was going on the hike of Mount Douglas, or as it is now reclaimed, the summit of Pkols. The environment that we were surrounding by on this hike was breathtaking; I looked up to see that I was surrounded by gigantic trees that have been in Canada for centuries. Made me feel a little closer to this beautiful country I call home. As we hiked our way to the top of the summit we were lucky enough to be blessed with the beautiful view of Victoria. After the hike to the summit of Pkols, I knew that I would now always have a different appreciation for the nature throughout our country. Victoria is a beautiful city with beautiful humans and on our last full day there my basketball team really experienced this. We had the opportunity to bond with our twin teammates and just explore their city. We got to see the city they call home and the things they love to do there. Throughout the day I noticed just how open-minded each girl on our twin team was because they had all accepted us with open arms regardless of all of our differences. The Oak Bay Basketball girls are truly individuals who made our experience one of a lifetime.
The first night I met my twin, it was awkward even though we had talked to one another for about a month earlier. However, even though that first night was awkward I had never felt more comfortable than when I was with my host family because they all carried an aura of kindness. My host family made me feel welcome very quickly. They always treated me like a family member rather than a guest; they included me in their family activities and daily lives. As the week went by, my connection grew with my host family as my comfort level rose. I don’t quite have words to describe how fantastic my host family was, but by the end of my stay, it didn’t feel like I was leaving new friends: it felt like I was leaving family.
The impact of this experience is the ability to make lifetime connections with individuals who you have never met before. I know that the connection I made with my twin is one that I will remember forever. Experience Canada allows Canadian youth to establish connections and learn the importance of human connection with each other.
I would 100% recommended this experience to other youth. It allows people to see our country from different perspectives. We build these connections of a lifetime with other youth in our very own country. My only advice is to stay open minded and present throughout the time of your exchange because then you can truly experience these life-changing opportunities.