YMCA Summer Work Exchange Program

October 2, 2009
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Although I had wanted to participate in the YMCA Summer Work Summer Exchange ever since hearing about it in grade nine, I had no idea how amazing the experience would be. After a short application, interview, and orientation throughout my grade ten year, I was off to Québec to work at a daycare and live with a family I had never met. After the nerve-wracking train ride, I finally got to meet my host family and get acquainted with Sherbrooke, my home for the summer. Being vegetarian, I was worried about adjusting to my host family’s meals, but we were well-matched, and my host family cooked very little meat. I enjoyed the food, the family, and even my job (although the kids were sometimes trying). Even though I was worried about speaking French full-time, my worries disappeared and I was speaking à l’aise in no time. I also got to experience new activities such as zip-lining (in the rain) and take part in weekend trips to other parts of Québec.

Best of all, these activities cost me nothing and I was able to save all my earnings. My parents also learned a lot with their host daughter, and we all made a connection that will last us a lifetime. I would recommend the YMCA SWSE to any Canadian student (Anglophone or Francophone) between the ages of 16 and 17. For only fifty dollars, you can have one of the best experiences of your life while improving your second language. The SWSE broadened my horizons and gave me – dare I say it – the six weeks of my life! You can apply at http://www.summer-work.com/.

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Didn't work out said...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 5:32 pm
well i'm just going to say this it was not as much fun as i remember, really it was kinda boring and the family didn't like english people so it was kinda awkard
naomid This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 18, 2010 at 1:09 pm
As with everything, people have different experiences. I don't know anyone who had a completely awful experience personally, but I've heard of people quitting their jobs, getting placed with families that didn't cooperate with the program etc. etc. I'm going to Quebec again this summer with a different program and I hope it'll be just as fun.
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