By Mikela Robertson

In 2017 I was awarded the Piedmont Community College (PCC) International Study Scholarship from the PCC Foundation. With this scholarship, I was able to travel to Canada with a group from the College. This was a great opportunity for me because I did not have the financial capacity to pay for this type of educational trip on my own. PCC’s International Study Scholarship gave me the ability to explore new culture, food, and people. I have never been out of the country, or even flown in a plane before this experience. Therefore, my adventure really started when I arrived at the airport and continued as we travelled with a company called Explorica.

The scholarship did more than send me on a trip, it also helped motivate me as a student and as a person. Although the native language in Canada is French, most of the people in Canada were bilingual. Given that I had taken Spanish for three years in high school and was still unable to speak fluently, this amazed me. I now feel motivated to learn more about different cultures and languages from around the world.

For now, I would like to share what I saw and learned in Canada. There was a lot of walking on this trip. The first place to visit was The Governors Promenade (Promenade des Gouverneurs) (pictured). This is a large boardwalk in Quebec City that connects the Plains of Abraham Park to the Dufferin Terrace (Terrasse Dufferin). While standing at the Dufferin Terrasse we could see another island across the St. Lawrence River. Along the Dufferin Terasse, there were huge statues of famous Quebec founders. It is said the river was the only thing separating the enemies from the island in war back in the 1600’s.

The next site was the Montmorency Falls (pictured) near downtown Québec City. The waterfalls are said to be 272 feet tall which is nearly 100 feet higher than Niagara Falls. According to the pamphlet, you can walk down 487-steps down the side of the cliff to the foot of the falls. We did not explore the bottom of the falls due to the snow, but instead enjoyed the falls themselves. Of course, as you can see by the photo, it was extremely cold! Over the top of the falls was a large bridge that could hold nearly two hundred people at one time. The bridge extends to each side of the falls. I had to walk using the handrail on the side of the bridge because I am not a fan of heights!

On our last day in Montreal we visited the Notre Dame Basilica and the Montréal Tower. The Notre Dame Basilica is a very large church made out of wood. All the stained-glass windows were imported and are there to represent the history of the city. The colors that filled the room were so beautiful. This church can not be compared to anything that we have back home in Milton/Yanceyville.

In contrast, the Montréal Tower is very modern and known as the tallest inclined tower in the world. We took the two-minute ride to the top of the Tower and could see all of Montreal, including Stadium, the building that once housed the Velodrome (now the Biodôme), and the Esplanade, as well as all their incredible architecture. The view could be described as one that you would see in a big city like New York. The tall buildings crammed together, with the beautiful street art along the side. However, the architecture was not as modern. It was more old-time architecture. Along with the view of the city, we could see each side of the island.

I am very grateful for this once in a lifetime experiecne. I have seen some of the most beauiful creations and I will keep these memories with me forever. I would like to thank the wonderful teachers who gave me their valued recommendations, as well as Piedmont Community College for offering students this amazing opportunity. In addition, I’m grateful to the committee that selected me as the best canidate to use the travel scholarship funds. I have truly grown as a person and as a student thanks to PCC and this scholarship.

The Piedmont Community College International Study Scholarship is a fund that assists with student travel. Recipients are required to share their experiences with other students and the community. If you are interested in supporting educational travel through this scholarship fund, contact Allison Satterfield at (336) 322-2012 or [email protected].

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