Welcoming the Exchange Students

This year, Holy Redeemer has a flare for the international as they welcome three exchange students from three different countries: Australia, Italy and Switzerland. The three students took the time to speak to about their experiences thus far in Canada over a big plate of perogies and sausage – something the three of them had never eaten.

The first student is Bettina Hasse from Switzerland. Hasse is 17 years old and is on an exchange program through the Rotary Youth Exchange Program.

“I chose Canada because I like the north,” says Hasse. “I also heard that Canadian schools are really excellent. Not to mention, it was somewhere that spoke English, which is really helpful.”

While here, Hasse has a bucket list of things she would like to see and do. “I want to experience a brand new culture and what’s like to live as a family in Canada.” Hasse will be staying with three different families in Edson over the course of the year.

Thus far, Hasse feels as though her Canadian experience has been a good one. “I’ve traveled to West Edmonton Mall, watched hockey at the local arena, and went to Jasper where I saw four moose,” she says.

The Rotary Youth Exchange Program is organized in part by the local Edson Rotary Club. One student from HRH, Kaelan Tait, is spending this school year in Switzerland. Soon, the Club will be recruiting a student for next year’s exchange. “We will be presenting information at the local eligible high schools in the near future,” says Rotary Club Representative Danielle Taylor. “This is always a once and lifetime experience for the student who is selected.”

The second student, Laura Padrin (17) hails from Italy. She is spending the first five months of the school year here in Edson through the YES Canada Program. When asked why she chose Canada, Padrin said she loves the snow. “It is also an English speaking country,” she says.

“I wanted to go on the exchange program because it’s a really important experience,” says Padrin. “I really enjoy new experiences.” She will be staying with one family through to early 2020.

Some things that Padrin is looking forward to is travelling to Vancouver in November. She also had a blast celebrating her first Canadian Thanksgiving in Kelowna.

                The final exchange student, Mia Cattanach, comes from Melbourne, Australia. Cattanach, 16, will also be spending the first five months here with one family as a part of the YES Canada Program.

                “I chose Canada because I had been here before and really liked it,” says Cattanach who says she vacationed in Vancouver and Whistler several years ago.

                Cattanach also has some things she would like to experience while she is here. “Living in Melbourne, it’s a big city,” she says. “Now I’m in a small town so it’s really different. I get to walk to school. I also attend an all girls school in Australia, so being at HRH is a different experience in itself.”

                Thus far, Cattanach has thought watching an Edson Aeros hockey game and attending the Rebels football games has been ‘really cool’. “Football is somewhat similar to Aussi Rules Football, which is really popular back home,” she says. Look out for Cattanach to be in Holy Redeemer’s production of Chicago: High School Edition in early December.

After their first six weeks in Canada, the three girls say things are going really well. “Everyone is so friendly,” says Hasse. “I know I really like it here.”

And just in case you’re wondering, the three of them are dealing well as the temperature begins to get colder. However, they were also told it gets much colder than this. “Really?” says Hasse. “I think I better get a warmer coat.”