Some of Carihi’s exchange students enjoy a Campbell River Storm game earlier this season. Photo by Jocelyn Diemer/Carihi Mirror

The benefits of being an exchange student

Sure, it’s a daunting prospect, but being an exchange student has huge rewards

Jocelyn Diemer

Carihi Mirror

Living abroad for a year is a challenging adventure, according to Carihi exchange and international students, but it’s also well worth it.

Carihi hosts over 50 international and exchange students each year, with many others leaving from Carihi to study abroad.

The thought of leaving friends and family behind may be daunting, but Lucía Caso Moreno, an international student who has been attending Carihi for the past few months, says that it’s normal to have misgivings, but in the end it’s an unforgettable experience.

“I know it might seem scary,” Caso Moreno says. “I know it because I’ve lived it, but you’ll never regret it.”

There’s no doubt that the opportunity to go on exchange is an exciting one, as it allows students to completely immerse themselves in a different culture. Victoria Hall, who attended school in Japan two years ago, says that her time away from Campbell River allowed her to learn more than just a new language.

“I spent time learning how to cook traditional Japanese foods and how to do a traditional Japanese tea ceremony,” Hall says. “I also learned that it’s good to take risks and that trying new things isn’t as scary as it seems.”

In fact, there are some international students who enjoy their time on exchange so much that they decide that just one year isn’t enough. Klara Kopeinigg is currently in her second year at Carihi, and says that the fine arts programs at the school were a major factor in her decision to return.

“During my time in Campbell River, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in the fine arts, hopefully in theatre and writing,” she says. “For me, personally, Carihi offers the best education in these areas with the drama and writing departments.”

Carihi’s annual musical was an especially attractive factor to Kopeinigg as she considered her options.

“It’s one of the things I am most passionate about this year as well,” said Kopeinigg.

Students also say that living abroad helps them to discover on things about themselves that they’ve never realized before.

“Accepting that I don’t know everything about everything has been rough because I alway think that I’m right,” says Chloe Dobrinsky, a Carihi student who has been living in Brazil since August.

For many students, living abroad provides a boost in self-confidence that they wouldn’t have received had they stayed at home.

“The most important thing that I think I’ve learned in all this time is to trust in myself, and believe that I am enough, and to show to the world my real me, no matter they like it or not,” says Caso Moreno. “People come and go, but you’ll have to be with yourself for your entire life, so you’d better be the one you most love, or else it won’t work.”

Students wanting more information on international exchange can visit the Campbell River International School website at int.sd72.bc.ca

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