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Testimonial:

Adam from Brazil, June 2019

At school and in my homestay, I found myself at home. Both local, international students and teachers were very welcoming to me and my best friends were from abroad. I never imagined I would have made so many friends from so many different regions of the

Activities

  • September 2017 - present, cadet in the 1922 RCAC Royal Westminster Regiment (Army Cadet regiment) Position: Sergeant
  • October 2018 - present, volunteer at Bevan Village (Local nursing home) Position: Recreational Volunteer
  • March 18, 2019 - March 22, 2019, police cadet at the Junior Police Academy (Abbotsford Police Department)
  • April 2019 - present, Member of the Abbotsford Christian School Track & Field Team
  • February 2018 - June 2018, Member of the CLCC (Christian Life Community Church) High School Youth March 2019 - present , Member of the CLCC (Christian Life Community Church) High School Youth 

Post Secondary Plans

My plan for post-secondary is attending the University of the Fraser Valley, which I have already been accepted for the Bachelor of Arts program. I will be doing History as my major and will either take Criminology & Criminal Justice or Political Science as a minor. I have been selected as one of the three recipients of the BC Region High School International Scholarship, awarded to the top three international high school students studying in BC who apply to study at UFV in their graduating year and the biggest offered by UFV. While going to university I intend in continuing to volunteer at Bevan Village, the nursing home where I already have over a hundred hours in volunteer work; I also plan on helping with the organization of the future police academies held by the Abbotsford Police Department annually during Spring Break and volunteering for the Fraser Valley Regional District as a junior firefighter. After graduating from university, I will be eligible to apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit Program (PGWPP) and start a life here. My long-term goals are becoming a Canadian citizen and either joining the municipal police force of Abbotsford or the Armed Forces as an infantryman. In order to achieve that, I have started studying and taking French lessons by myself. 

Comments

Since my arrival in Canada in September of 2017, I have had many opportunities and taken part in several activities that have involved me in the community, therefore responsible for who I am today, which I am deeply grateful for. The first thing I had in mind when I arrived was joining the Royal Canadian Army Cadets, which I did on the third Wednesday of September, just two weeks after school started. I was very well welcomed, made multiple friends and I am now a sergeant in my regiment, a position of leadership I so much enjoy. In my time with the cadets, I have been part of both my unit’s Guard, restricted to cadets demonstrating proficiency on military drill etc and the Colour Party, also restricted to the most proficient cadets in the unit. With almost two years in the cadet program, I have been awarded a double promotion; taken part in multiple field activities, including camping, orienteering and shooting, as well as physical training; volunteered on behalf of the Royal Canadian Legion as well as my unit in order to raise funds for veteran programs and in order to fund field activities.  Donned in my army cadet uniform, I have also participated twice in the school’s Remembrance Day ceremony, the Remembrance Day parade in Aldergrove and the Vimy Ridge parade, this year in Cloverdale and last year here in Abbotsford. The cadet program has provided me with insights of what it is to be in the Canadian Forces, and this year myself and other fellow cadets had the opportunity to meet a captain who did a tour in Ukraine as part of Operation Unifier in support of the Ukrainian Security Forces. In his presentation, he showed us pictures and talked to us about his experience in Ukraine, as well as post-secondary options for the ones interested in a military career.

At school and in my homestay, I found myself at home. Both local, international students and teachers were very welcoming to me and my best friends were from abroad. I never imagined I would have made so many friends from so many different regions of the world. The cultural impact had me dumbfounded, and me and my circle of friends always met at the amazing Clayburn Village Store & Tea Shop to have coffee and talk. Going there became our tradition and our circle of friends represented the five continents. Along with my friends, I went to the CLCC (Christian Life Community Church) youth meetings, regular hikes as well as gatherings with friends to play tabletop games, video games, going to the movie theatre and going out at night to enjoy the snow (which has been quite the experience these last two years).

Nonetheless, it was the warmth of my host family and other Canadian friends that truly made me feel at home. Despite how busy they are due to work and watching the grandchildren, I have had the chance to go out to their summer cabin in Kamloops and go out fishing with my host father, which was indeed a peaceful and lovely occasion considering we were just a few miles away from the ravaging forest fires at the time. Furthermore, we have watched countless movies together, played various games - including Unwrap, the gift game at Christmas - and had many talks in regards to current and past events, books, sports, cultural differences and traditions etc.

My host family is incredibly open, which makes these talks easy, engaging and interesting, and I do not consider them a host family but in fact my second family, for they have treated me like their own son. The same can be said for both the international and local friends I have made since my arrival, and without their support my stay here would have been unbearable. It was through an international friend that I was able to unofficially join the Abbotsford Christian School’s Track & Field Team, which has allowed me to make many new and great caring friends. In spite of not being registered as a runner and not attending ACS, I have acquainted myself with the runners and coaches who are always making me push my limits in the weekly practices held around the school, always going for 5km runs. These runs have helped me in breaking barriers and the health benefits are already evident to me: increased endurance, better breathing and significantly less leg and stomach cramps. The choice of becoming active again has been incredible thus far.

In my time here, I was able to become friends with great people from overseas as well as become friends with people from all different faiths, an opportunity that is rare if not non-existent where I come from due to religious and ethnic homogeneity. Undoubtedly, this has so far been a magnificent phase of my life and I consider myself incredibly lucky to live this.

Academically, I could not be doing better. My teachers and peers are not only always encouraging me to strive for excellence but also always available to talk about issues, being supportive to the best of their abilities. They are very knowledgeable professionals and it is an honour to be taught by them, which is the reason I became a Geography 12 peer tutor early this semester - to help my peers and the teacher as well as gain experience in tutoring. I have made to both Honour and Effort Rolls of Robert Bateman Secondary with an average of 90%, as well as achieving the Top Student award in Geography 12, a course I have taken in my first year here as a Grade 11. In my first year here as a Grade 11, I did challenge myself by taking Grade 12 courses (History and Geography 12) and achieving the highest grades in both classes, and this year it could not be different, so I challenged myself by taking AP European History. The wide range of courses available was for me, at first, mind-boggling - and so much that I had trouble in deciding what courses I should take in my first year.

It was my academic excellence, interpersonal skills and physical fitness that allowed me to take part in the Abbotsford Police Department’s Junior Police Academy class of 2019, a once in a lifetime opportunity. In order to pass, our applications had to be examined, we had to pass a physical fitness test and an interview with four constables. I was promptly accepted and it all took place at W.J. Mouat and during the first week of Spring Break. In it we were taught about the Criminal Code; use of force and self-defence; radio codes and regular patrol roles; traffic laws and becoming familiar with the equipment used by the police to monitor speed etc; firearms safety and introduction to the arsenal employed by the Abbotsford Police Department as well as lessons on drugs, forensic identification services, gang crime etc. All of what was learned in these lessons prepared us for the last day of the Police Academy, the simulation day, in which our responses were tested in ten scenarios organized by the APD (Abbotsford Police Department) and volunteers with the force. Throughout the week, the constables of the force not only cheered but demanded we do our best, which became clear during the physical fitness sessions and the 5km run, a run in which all of us gave the very best. This was in particular a stepping stone for me, for it was the first time I ran 5km non-stop. It taught me the importance of esprit de corps and camaraderie because we supported each other and falling would mean letting the entire team down, which was not an option. The feeling afterwards was of victory and pride for all of the twenty-three of us. At the end of the Police Academy, we were granted a certificate signed by Mike Serr, the Abbotsford Chief of Police and a handshake from the Deputy Chief of Police, Paulette Freill.

The courses that I took and currently take at school were and are great opportunities for me to learn new skills, for example Automotive and Metalwork, Carpentry, Psychology and Foods and Nutrition, all great classes which I wouldn't have had the chance to take in Brazil during high school and which have taught me lots. The Psychology classes brought me awareness of what a great field of study that is; Foods and Nutrition taught me much needed skills in the kitchen and independence and Carpentry and Automotive and Metalwork gave me the chance to become familiar with heavy machinery, drafting, metalwork, painting as well as welding - a very hands-on experience which I enjoyed greatly.

Field trips were also essential part of this journey, the most notable one being the Holocaust symposium held at the Abbotsford Arts Centre for many of the Humanities classes from schools all over Abbotsford. It was a touching and remarkable presentation on the theme and an opportunity that is fading with the last of the survivors from this tragedy passing away. Furthermore, I have also had the opportunity to visit the Supreme Court of BC in Vancouver with my Law class, my first time stepping inside a courthouse - in this case a rather “supreme” one - as well as visit a First-Nations’ longhouse with my Social Studies class last year, in which we were able to learn about the residential schools and traditions of First Nations’ peoples as well as try their cuisine, which was delightful. I have been to a few theatre plays conducted by the school’s drama class, such as Into the Woods held at the Abbotsford Arts Center and Caylee Watrin and Sadie Corne’s “A Jacket With Compassion”, an original play written for one of the provincial scholarships held at the Yale Secondary theatre last year, December 6.

Moreover, I have exceeded a hundred hours on volunteering with my cadet unit and at a local nursing home, Bevan Village. Having started in October of 2018 at the recommendation of a friend, I could not have made a better choice. At first, volunteering at Bevan Village seemed to be a rather awkward fit but is a decision that I am proud to have taken. Since October, I have learned an indescribable number of skills in dealing with the elderly from visits, games and serving coffee. I have learned many songs and the personal stories of many of the residents at this nursing home, some who like myself also moved to Canada when they were younger. Like with my host family, I feel myself at home there too. It is a rather heartwarming environment comprised of stories of the struggles and joy of the olden days, which the residents are always eager to share. It is a very multicultural environment and I have met Germans, Dutch, French-Canadians, British, Hungarian and many other folks from countries all over the world. To the other side of Bevan Village is St. Ann’s parish, which I frequent every Saturday for mass. Being raised Catholic, it was splendid to find a place where I could continue to practise my religion. I found solace by attending St. Ann’s and have met the clergymen and nuns responsible for running it - very pious, hardworking and honest people which have in the past helped me with issues by talking to me.

My future is looking promising because I have been accepted to the Bachelor of Arts program at UFV and because I was one of the three international students to be awarded the BC Region High School International Scholarship. I will be majoring in History with a minor in either Criminology & Criminal Justice or Political Science. I intend in continuing to volunteer at Bevan Village and to start volunteering for the Fraser Valley Regional District as a junior firefighter as well as helping with the organization of the upcoming Junior Police Academy classes. I will be aging-out of cadets in February of 2020, which will leave me more free time to either dedicate to volunteering or studying.