Valentina P., 16 years old
Type of holiday: School exchange
Destination: Surrey (Canada)
Population: approx. 470,000
Duration: 2 weeks

Valentina, how long was your exchange for?
Valentina: The exchange was two weeks and then I went back again of my own accord for three weeks to visit my exchange partner.

Did you fly by yourself?
Valentina: We flew as a group for the exchange. Afterwards me and a friend from the exchange, who was going to visit her exchange partner at the same time, flew together. But we only found out once we were both sat on the plane. Then we flew there and back together.

Tell us about what you got up to in Canada.
Valentina: We went to Vancouver and from there we went to Vancouver Island off the coast of Vancouver. We also went on a bike ride through all the parks in Vancouver and went shopping. We went up lots of mountains, for example Holy Cross Mountain. There is a zipline park there that we went on. It was like the ziplines at playgrounds, but far bigger and it crossed over massive gorges. But we also spent a lot of time at school to get an impression of how lessons are there.

The longest trip that we did was to Whistler, a winter sports resort. Some skiing events were held there during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. We did a tour of the town and saw where people stayed during the Olympic Games, found out who built the town, why it has that name and so on.

Did you notice anything particular about the food?
Valentina: I found it strange that chicken is so expensive there. Eating chicken is a kind of status symbol and shows that you are wealthy. People cooked fresh every day in Canada, which was great. And there were a few things that we don’t eat raw that they do, for example broccoli. But the whole idea of being there is to really try everything!

What was the highlight of the whole exchange?
Valentina: My favourite part was the ziplining because it was in the mountains. Luckily it was sunny so we had a great view of the city and the surrounding area. At the same time you got an adrenaline kick.

Is your exchange partner going to come and visit you in Germany?
Valentina: She certainly wants to... The problem is that they always have a lot of important exams at the end of the year and are never on holiday at the same time as we are. But I hope she does!