February 4, 2019
Alumni Spotlight: The Reinhart sisters
Over the years, Canada World Youth has seen close friends participate in its programs, children of alumni participating in its programs, and now, three sisters participating in the same program!
Kate, Maria and Becky Reinhart were encouraged by their parents from a young age to travel and experience what the world has to offer and how unique and diverse it can be. Initially Kate was drawn to it when she finished school. “I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to ‘do’ after my degree, so CWY seemed like a great option. Little did I know that this was a huge eye-opening experience that would be with me for the rest of my life. I also made lifelong friends that I still keep in contact with today.”
All three sisters have now participated in the Canada-China Young Leaders program. Maria participated in 2017 and Kate and Becky participated in 2018. Kate also previously took part in the Youth Leaders in Action exchange with CWY in South Africa and British Columbia in 2012.
The Canada-China Young Leaders program allowed the Reinhart sisters to learn a language, explore a fascinating culture and discover the country. Becky was amazed at how much she loved being a student again. “I have been out of university for six years now and was very nervous about going back to school. Studying at East China Normal University in Shanghai was amazing, and it really did reiterate for me that we should never stop learning. Completing this program, I came out of it not only knowing some Mandarin, and with a lot of new friends, but also with a new-found confidence. A confidence that allowed me to travel in a country where I didn’t understand the language and where I was out of my comfort zone.”
After spending three months at East China Normal University (ECNU), they travelled to Chongqing to live with host families. According to Kate, “This was another experience that was critical to learning how locals lived in China. Though there were still language challenges, we were able to get around with our basic Mandarin, especially with the help of the warm and welcoming families. Living with a host family allowed you to become really immersed within the Chinese culture, from making homemade dumplings, going to local markets or reading books to your host family, it was always an adventure.”
During their free time, they discovered so much of what China has to offer, from a tea village in Hangzhou, to eating hot-pot in Chongqing, climbing mountains in Hua Shan (near Xain) and Huangshan, visiting pandas in Chengdu and so much more.
When asked, as women, how do they feel about their international experience, they responded, “As women, we see how we face challenges here in Canada in our own everyday lives. We face them daily through visible and invisible bias. CWY is such an empowering program, encouraging women to participate in international experiences. We felt encouraged to take on this new opportunity and participate to our fullest. We felt warmly welcomed to the CWY program, to ECNU in Shanghai, and to the community of Chongqing with our host families. It can be exhausting facing obstacles that women are presented with, but CWY has created a really inclusive and accepting environment for women to feel comfortable participating in!”.
Their experience with CWY has given them new perspectives on work and their future. Furthermore, Maria is now the Chair of the CWY Mentorship program. “Once you’ve had an experience like this, you definitely want to stay involved. All three of us plan to help future cohorts with any questions they may have before or during their stay.”
To learn more about the Canada-China Young Leaders program, please visit our website.
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About Canada World Youth
Canada World Youth is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth aged up to 35 who want to become informed and active global citizens. CWY offers international transformative learning experiences focused on building knowledge, leadership and skills through participation in sustainable community-driven projects. For more than 40 years, 38,000 youth and 12,000 host families have participated in CWY programs, in Canada and abroad.
CWY is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable organization (#118973999RR0001).
Source : Mary McGee, Communications Officer, Canada World Youth, 514 931-3526 # 336, email@example.com.
Interviews and information (photos available):
1 800 605-3526 #336
514 931-3526 # 336