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Haisla students return from successful campus tour

“It provided a lot of value for them to see what life is like outside of our home in the northwest.”
Mathew Wilson. Photo by Cameron Orr

A bus tour through B.C. gave 35 Haisla students eyeing a future in post-secondary a lot to think about.

Starting on July 3, students embarked on their trip which left in the morning in Kitamaat Village, bound for stops in Prince George, Kelowna, Vancouver, Victoria, and places in-between.

The two-week trip was intended to give the students an on-the-ground look at what post-secondary campus life is like and to understand their educational options.

“Being as remote as we are from many colleges and universities means Haisla youth don’t always get a full idea of what it means to live and learn in other communities,” said Chief Councillor Crystal Smith.

“Taking students directly to campuses in B.C. provided a lot of value for them to see what life is like outside of our home in the northwest.”

Under the guidance of the students’ five chaperones – volunteers and Haisla Nation Council staff – students visited places from technical colleges such as Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Okanagan College, to Simon Fraser University and the University of Victoria.

The students also lodged in campus housing to get the full student experience. It wasn’t only campuses for the youth, as they also made recreational stops at the Vancouver Aquarium, and were even given a guided tour through some areas of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side.

Mathew Wilson, 24, one of the Haisla members on the trip, was excited to visit his former home of Kamloops on the tour.

That connection made Thompson Rivers University one of his favourite stops.

“Thompson Rivers University felt like home,” he said, noting that the campus has a lot of social clubs, which appeals to him.

More generally, he learned about the many resources all campuses offered to students, and in particular to Aboriginal students.

Through Aboriginal Centres, he said, there are resources to find, including books, housing, cultural supports, and tutoring services. The bus arrived safely back in Kitamaat Village on July 16.

The students visit the UBC campus. Photo supplied