On Sunday April 21, a group of Prince George exchange students, host families and staff went to spend the afternoon at the Moose Meadows Sugaring Off Farm Festival outside of Quesnel, BC. It was a beautiful walk around Ted and Heloise’s land to explore not only the sugaring off process but also their many animals and beautiful property. The llamas, alpacas, goats, chickens, roosters, ducks, geese, pheasants, and rabbits were all quite the entertainment during the afternoon! Heloise and Ted are hosting with Shecana this year and have enjoyed their time with Titouan from France who has been helping with many different chores on the farm this year. This is a very different lifestyle then he has back home but he has adapted well and is enjoying learning about all of the different components of seasonal farm life.
The recent work has been to produce the Birch syrup which is a 2-4 week process. The Birch trees are drilled, tapped, and the sap is collected in buckets. The sap then goes through an evaporation process where the 100 liters of sap is turned into 1 liter of syrup. On average, Ted shared with us, each tree produces about 4 – 12 liters of sap per day during this peak season. They tap about 300 trees per year and make syrup that is sold at local farmers markets, online, and also in Victoria, BC. Heloise has even authored the first and only manual about birch syrup production in Canada.
We had a wonderful day walking around visiting animals, feasting on pancakes and syrups (maple, birch, hawthorne, apple pie, and many more), taking a tractor ride to view the trees that are being tapped, and learning all about Moose Meadows farms. It was a beautiful day and we were happy to spend it there. Heloise and Ted are incredible hosts and are very accomplished in their fields. Moose Meadows has won many awards for planning, business and agriculture. If you are ever in the Quesnel area we recommend you stop by to check out the farm and the Antler Shed gift shop for many treats that Moose Meadows produces.
If you would like to learn more about their farm please see the below link:
Below are some pictures from the day they spent there:
Shecana cultural exchange student Charlotte shares her exchange experience studying in Canada so far. Here's what she had to say:
"My name is Charlotte, and I´m from Norway, this school year I spend in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. I really enjoy my stay here, and I don't regret a second for going to Canada as an exchange student. I have been quading, skidooing, fishing, been to Vancouver and Victoria, and I have been out ice fishing. The nature of Canada is not very different to what I'm used to from home, but the catholic school system is different, since I'm going to a catholic school here. I really enjoy my stay in Canada!"
For more information about our Cultural Exchange program visit our Study In Canada page:
Last week Shecana's High School Abroad spring 2013 student's departed for their destinations. We are happy to share that everyone arrived safe and sound and are settling in with their host families.
Carolyn Arlt, the Outbound Program Coordinator for our High School Abroad and Specialty Programs, had this to say about our recent student departures:
"Even after 10 years of working in high school exchange, still, with every group of students that departs I feel the excitment, anxiety and anticipation, which are all part of departure time! These students have been looking forward to seeing another part of our world for so long, some for a year or more. Helping students to finally realize their dream come true, and supporting parents all the way is what I love!"
In Villavicencio, Colombia our Colombia Teacher Assist Program students arrived with a very warm welcome. Melba, our country manager in Colombia, shared this update about the girls with the Prince George team shortly after their arrival:
"I just want to let you know how wonderful and lovely these two girls are, there was so much tenderness, respect, and joy in their smiles and hugs!!! After such a long trip they had such a high spirit of joy!
Colombian Host Families, Salcedo-Mesa and Vallejo-Rincon in Villavicencio are so happy to meet our new Shecana students that will start their TAP experience at their schools."
To keep updated on what's going on with our students abroad you can visit our facebook pages at:
For our Colombia TAP
For our High School Abroad Program
Shelby our Shecana High School Abroad student in Sweden shares some great pictures from her Christmas holidays. Shelby and her host family travelled to the family cabin, had a delicious Julbord (Christmas dinner) and spent the week downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross country skiing. Her host father taught her how to snowboard so this a lot of fun for the family!
Please see the pictures below of her experience this Christmas and a favorite Swedish treat called Pepparkakor (Gingerbread in English).
Shecana Intenational Schools country manager in Colombia, Melba Lucia Morena, recently wrote a welcome letter to the next two students who will be attending out Spring 2013 Colombia Teacher Assist program.
The letter really reflects the kind-heartedness and good nature of the Colombian people and more information about our country manager in Colombia, so we thought why not share this with our readers.
Dear Shecana Students Spring 2013 Group,
I am Melba Moreno, your Shecana Representative in Colombia, looking forward to meet and greet you with lots of caring love and joy.
I would like to make a brief introduction about myself before your arrival in Colombia. This year 2013 my husband and I will be 30 years happily married. My husband’s name is Carlos Eduardo Mantilla and we have an only child whose name is also Carlos Eduardo and we often call him Charlie or “Carlitos” that means “little Carlos” (although he is not little anymore, is 20 years old, but with fond love and respect here in Colombia we often call people we are familiar with, using diminutive suffixes). My husband is an agricultural engineer that did his master degree in Entomology (Study of Insects) in England and then his Ph.D in Entomology at the University of Florida back in the USA. He is a professor at our public university “Universidad de los Llanos” teaching Entomology and Pest Management at the Agricultural Faculty. My son is going to start his 7th semester of Architecture at Piloto University in Bogota. He loves to sing some English songs although he does not speak English, has done oil paintings and likes to play the piano and guitar. He comes to visit us to Villavicencio on some holiday weekends (we have several holiday weekends in Colombia, no school on Monday), on Easter Week and vacation time. We also go to Bogota to visit him at least once or twice a semester.
I am licensed in Biology and Chemistry, majoring in Biology. I have been a Science teacher for the last 18 years at the two major bilingual schools in Villavicencio. I am currently the main Science teacher at Colegio Bilingual Espiritu Santo (CES) where I am in charge of maintaining and keeping track of the Science program from first grade up to 4th- 5th grade and supporting new Science teachers in Junior High when they arrive to school for the first time. This year 2013 is my 11th year at CES and I love this school very much. I also teach English at the same university where my husband works, at the Accounting (VIII semester) and Pharmacy (I semester) programs. This will also be my 11th year with Unillanos (short name for our Public University in Villavicencio).
Carlos Jr., Melba and Carlos on New Years Eve, 2012
I have been blessed working for Shecana since last year and having the experience to treat and get to know my Canadian students, has been a life-changing experience to me and my family. Making sure that our Canadian students get a safe, loving and a best family-environment at their host families is my priority as well as to ensure that at the private schools Shecana students are placed, get immerse themselves into our Colombian culture and learn Spanish as one of your main goals for the TAP. The schools that Shecana has been working with, are the best private schools we have in Villavicencio, I know the owners and staff well, the schools are quite different from where you are coming from but you and your Canadian parents can be sure that you are going to be very well respected, loved, cared for, supported, and enjoy your stay with the Colombian host families and schools where I have carefully placed you.
Villavicencio is a tropical and warm city in the Eastern Plains of Colombia, about two and a half hours from Bogota, our capital city. Villavicencio is often called “Villavo” and you can expect at your arrival time very hot weather in contrast with the winter you are having right now back in Canada (by the way, a season I love and remember back in England and New York where I lived years ago). Summer clothes, a good sun-block, lots of juicy tropical and new fruits are waiting for you to experience; new and delicious food for you to taste and love and traditions we have as any other country. Furthermore, your host family is counting the days to meet you at the airport and enjoy your company as part of their families. They are both wonderful families.
Colombians have such a high sense of admiration and respect for Canadians, appreciate how beautiful your country is, the wilderness, fields, mountains, touristic places and how warm and kind you are. Students at the schools are always looking forward to greet and meet Canadians with high respect, care, joy and warmth environment. As time passes by and you get familiar with our culture, know us better, you will find out how warmly our students are at the school, how we greet with a warm hug and kisses with friends and families we get to know as closer ones.
I am on vacation right now, arrived in Villa de Leyva last night with my husband and son and staying at the same hotel where my first Shecana exchange students were taken to see other part of Colombia and enjoy this lovely place. Yesterday we were in Barichara, Santander (Northeastern of Colombia) and thinking about you both, I got a special souvenir for each of you, something that I always like to give to my Shecana students to greet them with, when they arrive at the airport in Villavicencio. That is like a bond of trust, love, care and 100% support that you can expect from me while in Colombia.
Colombian children dancing to Folkloric songs wearing the traditional outfit in Santander
May this be the opportunity to wish each of you and your lovely parents and family a New Year 2013 filled with lots of joy, peace, health, love and happiness.
Melba Lucía Moreno V.
We have heard from two Shecana exchange students who have shared their upcoming holiday and Christmas celebrations this year in their host country with us.
The first is Ilia who is on the High School Abroad Program in France for 5 Months, here's what he had to say:
For Christmas the tradition is to spend it with family, this year my host mom family is coming! So we will spend the day at home playing games, talking and eating! They are really big into embracing the time they have together!
The second student is Shelby who is on the High School Abroad Program in Sweden for 10 Months, here's what she had to say:
The tradition in Sweden is to spend it with family and friends and Christmas is celebrated on December 24th here! This year we are going up to my host family's cabin at a ski resort up north. Also Christmas dinner is called 'Julbord' and it doesn't have to be eaten on Christmas day. Julbord consists of many strange swedish food...different fish, the christmas ham, breads, and many other typically swedish foods.
Thanks for sharing Ilia and Shelby and to all our readers we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season and we will be back with more great articles in the New Year!
Wherever you are for the holidays this year we at Shecana encourage you to take a moment and spend some time doing something special with your host family, new friends, extended family and those special people in your life.
Here is a holiday recipe for you to try that our Inbound Manager at Shecana has been using every Christmas!
"I encourage you to give it a try this holiday season. Who knows – you might turn into me and use it every year." - Chelsea Halvorson
Makes 32 bars| Hands-On Time: 20m| Total Time: 3 hours
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup toffee-and-chocolate baking pieces (such as Heath or Skor bars)
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine the flour, confectioners' sugar, and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a crumbly dough is formed. Press the dough firmly into a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake until just golden, about 13 minutes.
2. Whisk together the condensed milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour the filling over the baked crust. Sprinkle the pecans, chocolate chips, and toffee pieces evenly over the filling. Bake until the filling is set, the edges are golden brown, and the toffee is melted, about 25 minutes.
3. Cool completely in the refrigerator, about 2 hours. Cut into 32 bars. ENJOY!
Many of our exchange students who come to Canada have never experienced a real Halloween before. It is definitely one holiday that is hard to explain.
During our Vancouver/Victoria trip we were able to celebrate Halloween a little early with some of our students. One evening we carved pumpkins and then next night we had a Karaoke and Dance party! Of course carving pumpkins is never the cleanest activity to do but the group did amazing! Check out the pictures below of their creativity!
This tradition in North America can seem a little bizarre to some of our exchange students, but once they realize all the fun we have with dressing up, playing Halloween games, carving pumpkins, and walking around asking for candy – it is hard for them not to love the holiday as much as the rest of us!
See below some pictures of our students taking part in our Halloween traditions.
We hope everyone had a safe and memorable Halloween this year!
Here is a quick look at our most recent Shecana trip. In October we travelled to Vancouver and Victoria to see two of Canada's most beautiful cities. We visited the Aquarium, Stanley Park, the Vancouver Lookout Tower, Whistler, as well as had the opportunity to go whale watching, eat in some amazing restaurants, go pumpkin picking, carve pumpkins and have a great karaoke dance party! We had a wonderful time creating memories together that we will never forget!
We love hearing how our students are doing around the world! Madeleine is a Shecana student on the Teacher Assistant Program (TAP) in Colombia. She has shared with us some of what her experience has been like so far. Enjoy!
Hola! My name is Madeleine Davis. I come from Prince George, British Columbia and I am living in Villavicencio, Colombia right now. I am on Shecana´s Colombia Teacher Assist Program (TAP). I spend half my day helping teach primary age children English and the other half with kids my own age learning Spanish and some other subjects. I have been here for two and a half months now. Colombia is a great country with beautiful people, places and plants. The people are friendly and patient with my bad Spanish.
My host family is the Acosta/Castro family, which consists of Carlos, my host father, Sandra, my host mother, Andres and Juan Esteban, my host brothers. Andres, Juan Esteban and I all go to the same school, and I have some classes with each of them. I am having a wonderful time living with them, and they really do feel like family. My Colombian family is very helpful in teaching me Spanish and helping me adjust to the parts of Colombia that are different from Canada.
Many people are eager to learn English and to teach me Spanish. I love the large variety of fruits and vegetables Colombia has that Canada doesn’t. I think the fish here is my favorite food so far and I would recommend it to anyone who comes. I love Colombia at the halfway point and can’t wait to experience the next two and a half months.