The School Motto: "ubi Humilitas, Ibi Sapientia"

Bible verses: Empathy

Take part in the joy of those who are glad, and in the grief of those who are sorrowing.

(Romans 12:15)

School Honor

STEP 2019 Canada Culture and English Summer Camp

At Thompson Rivers University

Day 1 – 22nd June, 2019

All the students, teachers and tour guides arrived at 4:30pm at aisle D at Hong Kong International Airport all anxiously waiting to start the trip. All the passports were distributed to the students by the teacher and we checked-in one by one at the Air Canada booth. The students had a hard time with their suitcases as many of them packed more than they could carry even though they were warned. After checking-in, immigration and security with smooth as could be. We had a lot of time before boarding the flight so we wandered the airport buying some snacks and looking at the planes taking off. Once we boarded the plane, the children were extremely excited to take-off and enjoy the TV set in front of them. Luckily the flight was not delayed and we had nice staff on the plane. It was a big group of students from multiple schools with ours having the most at 18 students. As a proud and unbiased teacher, our students behaved the best and were respectful to the flight attendants. The students had a hard time sleeping as they were too excited. Fortunately, they got a few hours in to combat the oncoming jet lag.

When we arrived at Vancouver airport, we had a few students throw up due to the lack of sleep and change in cabin pressure. However, students were perfectly fine and got through Canadian immigration quickly. The four-hour journey up to Kamloops resulted in students crashing throughout the whole ride. We stopped at McDonalds in Hope and enjoyed a quick dinner before taking another 2-hour bus ride to Thomson Rivers University where all the home-stay parents were waiting to pick up the students. The teachers then ventured off to the Thomson Rivers Residences to prepare for the days to come.

Day 2 – 23rd June, 2019

The students stayed with their host family for the entire day. They had great experiences like swimming, playing with dogs and going to the parks. Some of them woke up extremely late while others got settled in right away. According to their comments, they had an outstanding day.

Day 3 – 24th June, 2019

The first day of lessons at Thomson Rivers University. The students arrived at the International Learning Centre and were greeted by all of the instructors. There were lots of ice-breaking games, setting of rules, and general activities to settle the students in. The instructor Gio and Hannah created a warm and welcoming classroom environment. The students all enjoyed their lunch after the morning session, with some extremely happy to get items like pizza, packets of crisps and candy.

In the afternoon, the students went on a tour of the campus, exploring the different department blocks, going to the book store, finding all the food outlets and discovering food vending machines. They were surprised by this as Hong Kong is not home to many food vending machines. The campus was absolutely stunning with grassy knolls to relax on and views of the mountains and downtown.

Day 4 – 25th June, 2019

The second day of school posed some problems with students having trouble sleeping and rough-housing. The chaperones made sure to deal with this so the children could settle in better. Most of them were homesick at this point but after reassuring them, they got into the mood of class and we all had fun learning about the origins of Canada and some facts about Native Canadians.

After lunch, students had the opportunity to make dream catchers with a native Canadian called Dave. He explained dream catchers are gifts that are hung above people’s bed where they catch the bad dreams and let the good dreams through. In the morning, the bad dreams are washed away by the sunlight. During the activity, he played Native Powwow music to set the mood. The girls and Miss Chan found the activity really easy whereas the boys and Mr M struggled with the crafts. In the end, the boys powered through to make some beautiful dream catchers, but nothing compared to the crafting skills of the girls. The students felt fulfilled despite the long and arduous winding of the materials.

Day 5 – 26th June, 2019

The students came back bright and early to continue with their English lessons. Students began to develop their speech from the previous day using the photos taken during the campus tour. The aim of this practice was to lead up to the ‘Pecha Kucha’ presentation at the end of the duration at the university. The students, instructors and chaperones had great fun participating as it was an interesting way of creating a presentation through conversing as the main content. Before lunch, students were briefed about their trip downtown and were given an ice cream sheet to think about what flavour they want when going to the ice cream shop Scoopz in the afternoon.

After lunch, the class went on their first outdoor excursion downtown. Students first went to the farmer’s market where they bought souvenirs, fruit and other handmade crafts. One student bought nineteen fridge magnets as souvenirs. All of the students and teachers had great conversations with the locals at the farmers market and found it hard to move onto the Museum.

Arriving at the museum, the students got to enjoy the history of Kamloops by viewing, touching and playing in the different exhibits. The students were most interested in playing in the children’s exhibit but all of them still appeared to enjoy learning about the history despite the level of cultural understanding.

Once we finished at the museum, all the students rushed down to the ice cream shop to dive into their ice cream. There was more than 30 flavours but all the students enjoyed what they got immensely. Unfortunately, 3 boys dropped their cones at different times as they were messing around and not concentrating on holding their ice cream properly. They had to learn a lesson and no new ice cream was bought for them. Fortunately, the boys understood what they had learned and next time they planned on getting a cup and sitting down while they had the ice cream. The day was finished by playing at Riverside Park before heading back home.

Day 6 – 27th June, 2019

Kayaking was on the agenda for the day. A long one-and-a-half-hour journey out to North Barriére Lake with heavy rains and dark clouds. Fortunately, after we arrived, the weather soon cleared up for the rest of the day. The girls and boys took turns kayaking. The girls were extremely good at kayaking as they focused on good form while the boys decided to do their own thing and ended up paddling in circles. The field games were extremely fun too. The boys enjoyed playing dodgeball and Bulldog while the girls had fun on the swings. The children enjoyed their lunch of hotdogs and iced tea, forgetting about their packed lunch in their bags. The students ended up eating their packed lunch on the way home or for dinner. The students had an amazing outdoor excursion like never before which opened their eyes to beautiful scenery, watersports and fun field games.

Day 7 – 28th June, 2019

Students were exhausted this morning from the previous day of strenuous activity. Gio got the students moving and soon enough the kids were ready to start enjoying the lesson about states of matter. The content was introduced and scaffolded well to help students understand the activities at The Big Little Science Center in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, students were under a lot of pressure. Not pressure from school, the pressure from learning about liquids and gases. They had fun playing with syringes, paper, chemicals, and a lot more. The instructor led the class well and student safety was apparent. After the seminar, the students had the chance to explore the exhibits. The day was insightful and was an amazing way to learn about science in a fun way.

Day 8 – 29th June, 2019

The day all the students were waiting for; the trip to the waterslides. We made a long one-and-a-half-hour journey out to Vernon to enjoy slipping and sliding at Atlantis Waterslides. The students thoroughly enjoyed all the slides but they had the most fun on the tube ride. The weather was unfortunately a little cold that day but luckily there was a steaming hot tub for all of us to run into in case we needed a quick warm up. More time could have been spent at the water park as the next part was a journey to U-pick orchard. Both the teachers and students thought it was too much time to pick fruit. Though we had fun at the orchard filling our stomachs with beautiful dark cherries, all of us agreed we could have enjoyed another hour at the park. Regardless, it was a fun day and definitely all the children were excited to think about what the next waterpark they will go to.

Day 9 – 30th June, 2019

The students used this day to spend with their host families. They continued doing fun activities. Most of the students enjoyed going to the park and the Dollarama to purchase souvenirs for their families. The chaperones used this day to travel to Kelowna to enjoy the wineries, farmers market and the delectable food.

Day 10 – 1st July, 2019

Canada day! All of us ventured down to Riverside Park to enjoy the festivities with removable tattoos on our faces, tiny Canadian flags and our red and white outfits. Amazing performances displayed the community of Kamloops while the food showcased the different cultures. The students explored the park meeting different locals and having fun with them.

Day 11 – 2nd July, 2019

Today was finally the day the students got to go to The BC Wildlife Park. The students saw different animals like bears, beavers, bison, bobcats and more. The students got to learn that the park was not a zoo, rather a sanctuary for hurt and domesticated animals. The animals would be released if they were suitable for the wild. The students got to go on a train ride around the park as they were getting quite tired from the dry heat. The students enjoyed walking around the park learning about the animals and touching samples of their fur, horns and pelts. At the end, all the students were directed to the gift shop where they bought some interesting souvenirs. All the kids liked the stuffed snakes that they could wrap around themselves.

Day 12 – 3rd July, 2019

The last day of English lessons and the last full day in Kamloops. Students practiced their presentations all morning before having the final presentation in the afternoon. The students did an amazing job using their conversational presentation to talk about their time in Canada. The students had the chance to have a party, play games, eat some cakes and just chat freely with their instructor. The day ended with an award ceremony for the students. It was a nice way to finish the course but it was also quite sad for all of the students because they knew they would miss Canada immensely. They all headed home excited for their last night with their homestay family and to pack their bags.

Day 13 – 4th July, 2019

We journeyed four hours all the way back to Vancouver. Fortunately, we stopped along the way to enjoy some Cantonese food that reminded us of home. The portions were extremely big and there was too much food waste, which was the worst thing to see. Ordering less food for the students next time will be the best way to approach this problem.

Arriving into Vancouver, we first stopped at Gastown. It was a chance to explore the seaside, the oldest train station in Vancouver and the of course, the souvenir shop. There was a lot of maple syrup and candies for the students to buy.

The next stop was Stanley Park. Beautiful sights to see but not enough time to take the sights in. It is recommended to cut the time shorter at Gastown or remove Stanley Park (despite its beauty) from the itinerary as getting a snapshot is not as good as having the experience.

The last stop on the tour was Granville Island and the market. The food choices were amazing. The students immediately went for the pizza and ice cream as they did not intend on experimenting with the choices available. Regardless, they enjoyed chatting, eating and watching the seagulls fight for food.

The last stop on the tour was Granville Island and the market. The food choices were amazing. The students immediately went for the pizza and ice cream as they did not intend on experimenting with the choices available. Regardless, they enjoyed chatting, eating and watching the seagulls fight for food.

Day 14 – 5th July 2019

The last day in Canada. The students woke up bright and early and got packed up before having their last breakfast at McDonalds. The students enjoyed their burgers, hash browns and tea. Since I do not eat McDonalds, we had a lucky draw to get my hash brown and burger. The students had a lot of fun doing this.

We went back to the hotel and packed up to get on the coach back to the airport. The students behaved a lot better flying back to Hong Kong as they understood the expectations we had for them as teachers. The students had fun on the flight playing games, eating delicious food and sharing their memories about Canada one last time. Once they arrived at Hong Kong, they immediately all rushed off to give their family members hugs and kisses, before travelling back home.

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