My name is Crystal. I am currently attending Queen’s University in Kingston in the faculty of Education. As Adrienne says, I have been doing a placement with her these past three weeks. The time has absolutely flown by! I have been investigating some different programs in Montreal as well as around the world which bring together diverse groups of people through outdoor activities. As well as doing some research I have been able to participate in two evening programs and a weekend away with a partner group- the McGill University ‘Canada World Youth’ Club.
In 2010 I lived and worked in Switzerland. This was a challenging experience for me because I was often treated as an outsider and was in the beginning very lonely. Although I fit in based on the colour of my skin it was obvious that I was a foreigner as soon as I opened my mouth. I was in the German speaking part of the country close to Zurich and was trying to learn German while I was there. I found that the most effective way for me to make friends, to practice my German skills and to really enjoy the natural beauty of the country was to participate in organized groups doing outdoor activities like hiking, rowing and rock climbing.
Since then I have been very interested in the power of outdoor activities to bring people together and especially to make people feel ‘at home’ in a foreign place. I would be very interested to hear any personal stories about the influence participating in outdoor activities has had on you. Please share them with me via [email protected] if you have the opportunity.