By contributor Donovan Simpson. You can also read the Indonesian perspective here. View the farewell here.
My Canada World Youth Leaders In Action adventure so far has been phenomenal. The journey began in early October when I left the cold Northwest Territories and arrived in a camp near Cowichan Lake where the orientation took place. I met with youth from across Canada and different parts of Indonesia. At first we were all strangers, but we quickly grew closer as friends and even as family. I found something really special about this group of culturally diverse and enthusiastic individuals. We are all so different yet we are here for the same purposes.
Canada World Youth is an international exchange program established in 1971, available to youth across Canada and partnered countries where youth from both Canada and the exchange country come together. For half of the program they reside in a Canadian community and spend the second half in the exchange country’s community, in this case, Indonesia. The mission is to build new skills in youth to partake in the growth of peace, sustainability, and abroad learning voluntarily.
After a week, one group of Canadians and Indonesians were sent to Duncan. My group was sent to reside in Nanaimo for three months. Each Canadian participant has a counterpart from Indonesia to live with in a host family. We are still in the Canadian phase and already the experience is amazing. I have learned a lot, like the language Bahasa, the different cultures in the group, politics, energy, and sustainability in Nanaimo. I am also learning about myself through group discussions and educational activities where there are different perspectives and points of view. It feels great to be a youth volunteer, helping others, gaining different volunteer experiences, and being involved in non-profit organizations. It will all help me as I move forward in life and become a leader. As I learn new skills, my confidence is increasing, I am learning to overcome challenges and obstacles, meeting new friends, learning about what I want to do for a living, and tackling new hobbies. I will be taking all that I’ve learned and gained and bringing it into my own community and lifestyle.
I am very excited to enter the phase in Indonesia where the Canada World Youth group will spend two and a half months on an island called Pelau Kelapa, north of the Indonesian capital city of Jakarta. The experience will be entirely different and new to me with more to learn and trials to take on. I know that my time in this program is life changing, a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. Challenge yourself and take all the opportunities out there such as Canada World Youth—you will not regret it.