Study Abroad-Calgary 2017 travel blog


The fifth day unfolded much like the previous day. We spent the vast majority of the time at Robert Thirsk High School. But this time, we got to sit in on some classes and see firsthand how their education plays out. Suffice it to say, Thursday was both the last and the best day spent in schools, in my opinion. It was hilarious, honestly, to listen to Canadian students attempt to do a Southern accent when reading out of "To Kill a Mockingbird." Their idea of what we sound like was extremely exaggerated, but probably wouldn't have been too out of place in a deep south area. They were allowed to ask us anything, and questions ranged from the differences between our schools and their's to the kind of food we're fed at lunch. It was extremely interesting, in that regard, seeing firsthand how Canadian students view us Southerners and how their schools operate so differently from ours. However, I wouldn't say everything is so wonderful there. The much touted Connect time period actually seemed like it was a social hour. Few students did much other than talk to their friends, get on their phones, or web browse. The whole point of the hour is to get assistance on things they may need help with, do work they need done, and visit their other teachers. It is funny, in a way, to be so reminded of the fact that they are kids. If I was still in school and told I had forty minutes to do whatever I want, the last thing I would be doing is schoolwork. I'd do exactly what the rest of those kids were doing: nothing. So while I enjoyed the idea of Connect, I honestly am not sure if it would work so well in the states. Schools with literally thousands of kids being told they can do what they want for nearly an hour? A nightmare.

Culturally, I noticed more on the dress code differences. One girl, a 16 year old I am assuming, since she is in the 10th grade, wore what I've seen 21 year old girls going out to the bar wear. Another girl had shreds in her pants leading all the way up to her hips. But the teacher said nothing. I am all for a more lax dress code, no more tucking in shirts, no more required belts, let us wear shorts, and by God allow girls to dress comfortably. But I think they take things a step too far at Robert Thirsk. Maybe that's just the conservative, Southern traditionalist in me talking, but it was a little ridiculous there. I didn't notice much in the way of language differences. They speak nearly the same, with the only differences usually just being a word or two, but I've already pointed those out in earlier posts.

The night was ruled by Shakespeare. Macbeth, an already haunting tale, was brilliantly performed for us. I enjoyed every second of it, and was actually a little frightened at the exorcism scene, for lack of a better description. Culturally, the simulated sex scene was a huge difference. That is something that would never be shown in Mississippi, God forbid. I ended the night as I did every night, soaking in the blistering hot hot tub while discussing the day's events with the rest of the guys. Tomorrow, we go for Lake Louis and Banff.

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