Eric Backman ’15 Queen's University, Engineering

Coming to NJC afforded me so many opportunities that I would not have had available to me if I had stayed in Toronto.
Looking back on the past 10 months it really has been a life changing experience. The school, students and staff managed to surpass every single expectation I had coming in. I was expecting to have an amazing time, but I was not expecting to have so many fantastic experiences all packed into the 10-month period.

At the start of the year, I was quite nervous about the transition. I was worried about leaving home for the first time and I wasn’t sure how I was going to adjust. The transition went so smoothly I barely noticed; I felt that within a few days of living in Neuchâtel it was already my home. Therefore, having to become more independent was something that happened fairly quickly. Living in Boudry meant that I had to be very careful with my tram times, because if I missed my tram or train I would be at least 20 minutes late for class. By the time September ended, I found everything to be so comfortable that I never wanted to leave.

Coming to NJC afforded me so many opportunities that I would not have had available to me if I had stayed in Toronto. I was on four different teams over the course of the year, volleyball, hockey, rugby and badminton. At my previous high school I would not have been able to participate in these sports because at a school of 1200 students I would not have made the teams. Being on those teams was a fantastic experience for me, at each of the tournaments (aside from hockey) our teams went in with little to no experience, and by the end we could all tell we had improved. At rugby and volleyball especially, we improved throughout the day and finished our tournaments with a win. Another great opportunity the school afforded me was the Model UN conference in Leiden. I got to meet students from all over Europe while learning about how the UN functions. It was a very educational and engaging experience.

The biggest opportunity that NJC gave me was the ability to travel Europe with so many great friends. I went on 7 independent travels over the course of the year, each one better than the last. Including school trips, I visited 13 countries and countless cities over the course of my stay. This was easily the best part of my year, being able to travel to so many unique and interesting places allowed me to grow in ways that I would not have if I had stayed at my former high school. I now feel much more independent, responsible and organized. If you are not organized for an independent travel it will quickly fall apart. Travelling with the school helped to prepare me for the independent travels that came later on in the year.

In conclusion, this year truly has been the best of my life. NJC gave me a great safe space to grow and mature in a short span of time before going out and travelling more independently. It allowed me to participate in school sports that I would not have been able to enjoy at my previous school. I was able to meet so many new people at the LEMUN conference, but also at NJC. The friends that I have made over the last 10 months are people I hope to keep in touch with for the rest of my life. NJC is a school that attracts a certain type of student, one that is adventurous, outgoing and always looking to try something new. That’s why I feel like the friends I made here will be friends I have for the rest of my life. Overall NJC truly was the experience of a lifetime.
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A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap