Kelowna Secondary School often gets foreign exchange students. Every year we get students from all over the world coming to Kelowna to attend school. This year not only do we have our regular foreign exchange students, we have acquired nineteen amazing extras for a month. Amongst those nineteen, Alice and Camille have joined our journalism program. Their school paired with KSS and we invited their class to come visit from their school in Annecy, France. Coming to a foreign country is an unnerving adventure, especially with no adult to accompany them.
By staying with host families, Alice and Camille have gotten to see a bit of Kelowna already. Between attending school, they have been to the Kangaroo farm in Lake Country, shopping in Orchard Park Mall and hiking up beautiful Knox Mountain to see the amazing views of our city.
The comparison between KSS and a high school in Annecy is a great one. While we are allowed to converse with our peers, eat snacks, and use our phones (sometimes), their school does not allow any of that in class. Canadian schools encourage collaboration between peers but that’s not how it is in Annecy, “at our school we just listen to the teacher and not talk to our friends,” Alice says comparing her school to ours.
Even the length of our school days are different, we have a standard six hour day, while they exceed six hours. Starting at eight in the morning and often ending between four and six in the evening, some of their days ten hours long.
Although their stay is short, there is one thing they really want to experience seeing while in Kelowna, and it corresponds with our name sake: a bear. Now, there are a few ways to achieve this one task, staking a campout up in the mountains, baiting one with meat while out for a hike or you could just take a drive to Kamloops to the wildlife centre. I would personally recommend taking a drive to Kamloops as the views of the Okanagan and Shuswap area are gorgeous. It is also the safest option of the three and will result with the least amount to injuries.
On behalf of Kelowna Secondary School I want to extend a very large and warm welcome to Canada. I hope your stay is as amazing as you hope it will be.