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From September 14 to 21, one of the nation’s best cultural immersion programs for youth called Encounters With Canada, held its Science and Technology Week. The program is centered in Ottawa and brings together high school students from across the country to make lasting friendships, to learn more about Canadian culture, to celebrate bilingualism, and to tour the capital, all in a short seven-day time frame. The experience is a unique opportunity for any high school student.

The EWC experience can be an attention-grabbing addition to a resume. Being the largest youth forum in Canada, the program is offered in both official languages. Each year, hundreds of students from all corners of Canada experience a themed week that may evolve into a career choice. It is a great way to immerse oneself in practical, hands-on aspects of the education curriculum. At the affordable cost of $750, travel arrangements, food and accommodation are completely covered. In other words, it is all inclusive.

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Upon arriving at the Terry Fox Centre in Ottawa, one will feel a bit of a culture shock. For those from British Columbia, being surrounded by those speaking rapid French and talking endlessly about horrid winters can be slightly overwhelming. In the beginning of the week, making friends is difficult for those who are more introverted. But, by the end, talking to everyone and engaging in friendly conversation is significantly easier.

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One can watch National Geographic and other TV channels to gain knowledge about the world, but until you experience these places in reality, it is difficult to truly know what these areas are like. To be able to take in the smells, sights, sounds, tastes, touch, and more of a place is something special. Through the senses, we gain a vision of what life is like in different areas of the world. The last thing that one might expect when they attend is for small week-long trip to have such an impact on them. It is incredible to fly across Canada without parental figures and meet so many new people while experiencing new things.