Tatiana Cooper '18 Dalhousie University, Arts

I learned so much while living and studying in Neuchâtel - like the value of friendship, culture, and life. 
Coming to NJC, I had little to no idea what I was lining myself up for. All I know is that it felt right, and good, it felt as if living abroad was something I needed to do to become who I wanted to be. I felt as if I was doing something different, I was standing out from my peers and becoming something that wasn’t the norm. During my journey this year, I have been able to embrace that sense of stepping outside, living for the moment and leaving the bubble that West Vancouver is. I learned so much while living and studying in Neuchâtel, like the value of friendship, culture, and life. I couldn't be more grateful for the connections I have made this year. I have more best friends than I could ever think of having, and as I would do anything for them, I have no doubt they would not hesitate to do the same. The concept of learning, living and travelling abroad together, brings everyone that much closer, and it's a rare kind of bond only so many people get to experience. You're together through almost every aspect of your life here in Neuchâtel, leaving no room for failed connections. That's why everyone is so connected, like a family. It can be hard to find that kind of relationship between a grade of high schoolers anywhere in the world, and that’s why this experience is so unique.
 
I have always been a strong advocate for travelling, as my parents have been taking me and my brother on trips around the world since we were little. This aspect of my life -travel- has truly shaped me into who I am today. Traveling and seeing what is on this globe besides your own little world, is so important for growth and understanding how the real world works. Coming here, I truly thought I had the ropes of what it means to travel, but little did I know, it's a lot different from travelling with a school or your parents. Getting to travel for the weekend with a group of friends is one of the most amazing experiences NJC can offer its students. It's a piece of life I wish everyone could experience, as it builds so many qualities in oneself that I think are essential to life. Qualities that I have luckily acquired during my time here at NJC. Travelling this year, whether with friends on Independent travels, or on school trips, it really teaches people about cultures and aspects of life that you don't see everyday back in Canada. It makes people thankful for where they come from, but also thankful for the fact of where they are standing in that exact moment. Whether it's under the Eiffel Tower, the Normandy Beaches, or on the shore of the Mediterranean, it places a kind of thankfulness and sincerity in one's heart.
 
Before coming to NJC, I had little sense of independence. After my year at NJC, I can confidently say my independence is a proud quality I possess. The importance of being independent and self-advocating is most definitely acquired at NJC and I am forever grateful. This skill is essential to life in the future, whether that's at school or wherever the road might take you. With the aspect of independence, I have become more internationally aware, as I am able to not rely on who I am with, but rather on myself and the amazing things going on around me. Another thing I have acquired this year is my sense of self. I feel like this year I have learned more about myself than I ever have. Instead of blindly following the path of others, as naturally comes when you go to the same school your entire life, I have been able to start fresh this year. I was able to find out how I work and I have been able to weave out and understand what I see in myself, as I never once did. I want to say I have found myself, but being only 18 I know that's a bit of a stretch, and I will only grow, and find more pieces of myself along the way. But for now I thank NJC for letting me find myself as of now, during this school year.
 
Overall, this year has been one of the best of my life. I have learned so much about myself, the world and friendship. I can confidently say that the qualities I now possess and the things I have learned this year will forever aid me in my life journey. This experience will forever stick with me, and influence my life in the future. How lucky am I to say I lived and studied abroad, and to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Not many people get to say that. My goal coming into this year, standing out from my peers and becoming something that wasn’t the norm, was most definitely accomplished, and for that I am forever grateful. Through the ups and downs, I can say I have come out a more experienced, well-rounded, kind and passionate Tat.
A Tat I am proud to be. 
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A Canadian high school in Switzerland | Grade 12 & Gap