My preschool internship in Vancouver:
City, mountains & the calming sound of the Pacific Ocean.
CATEGORY: Internship abroad - Preschool
READING TIME: 5 minutes
An internship in Canada is a great opportunity to find out what you want to do later on. Our SGA graduate Julia from Switzerland, who wanted to see the world after graduating from school, had the same idea. In her travel report, she tells us what made her internship abroad with StudentsGoAbroad in Vancouver so special.
After graduating in June 2023, I pondered the common post-graduation question: "What now?" Jumping directly into a university program wasn't an option for me. Considering that many Swiss universities require a pre-internship, I quickly took a gap year. My preference was to go as far away from home as possible, to explore the world and break free from the confines of my small village. While researching, I stumbled upon the organization "studentsgoabroad," offering unpaid internships without a Working-Holiday-Visa requirement. Due to the complexities of obtaining a visa in Switzerland as a non-EU country, I promptly chose Vancouver. A city on the west coast of Canada, nestled by the sea, surrounded by towering mountains and expansive fir forests.
My arrival in Canada
A few weeks later, I landed at Vancouver International Airport, eagerly anticipating this adventure, unaware of the fantastic experiences awaiting me. During the initial days, I explored the city like a typical tourist with a guidebook and map. Fortunately, I soon outgrew the need for such aids, feeling almost like a local by the end of my stay. My host family, especially my host siblings, welcomed me with open arms and helped me integrate. I lived with an elderly couple and four other exchange students in a single-family house just 20 minutes from Downtown.
The internship at a preschool in Vancouver
My internship at the preschool commenced only a few days after my arrival. The preschool, catering to 3–5-year-old children, akin to a kindergarten in Switzerland, was a private institution. My responsibilities included playing with the children, reading books, preparing meals, and supervising them during free play. The educators in my group were welcoming and appreciative of my assistance. As the weeks passed, I became well-adjusted, gradually assuming more responsibilities within the group.
Despite working five days a week, I made the most of my free time, especially during the initial two months. Weekends were filled with exploring the city, hiking in the mountains around Vancouver, and immersing myself in the breathtaking nature Canada had to offer. Most of these adventures were shared with fellow volunteers I met through the organization. Locally organized events, such as the weekly Pub Night and weekend gatherings, facilitated easy connections with new people.
My conclusion after 5 months in Canada
After five months of adventures and beautiful experiences, it was time to bid farewell. Farewell to people who had become dear to me, to a city that had become my home, and to preschool children who were reluctant to see me go. Undoubtedly, the efforts put into those five months were worth every moment, and I recommend it to anyone with the opportunity. Traveling alone to a foreign country can be demanding and occasionally overwhelming, but in retrospect, it is unquestionably rewarding. The fond memories and friendships formed help overshadow the challenging moments.
Written by Julia from Switzerland (Intern in Vancouver, Canada with StudentsGoAbroad)