August 2nd, 2018

Allie writes about his travels in Costa Rica

Hi, my name is Allie Cookie I am from Sanikiluaq Nunavut and I am an International Program Participant for NYA. Northern Youth Abroad is an organization that allows youth from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories to travel and gain experiences through three different programs. The Canadian phase is where participants get to gain work experience in Southern Canada for  a total of 6 weeks. The Next phase is where participants stay in Ottawa for 6 weeks at the Algonquin College campus and explore post-secondary options. They build dog houses and make picture frames during their stay. Lastly, the International Phase is where participants get to travel outside of Canada and gain travel experience. I have done all the phases of the NYA program.

My blog is about the hiking that we did for 6 days. My hiking experience was amazing, and we had two very good instructors who motivated us to try new things. They were very nice and welcoming people and I can’t put into words how thankful I am to have this experience. During the hike we stayed at three home stays. The homes that we stayed in were very nice and the people were very welcoming. They also gave us very good coffee. We also got to rappel down a waterfall and that was overwhelming for me because I have never done something like that. At first, I was scared to do it, but in the end it was worth it! We also got to climb a tree and that was very fun because I have never really climbed a tree before. During the activities we did, I told myself that I can do this, that this will be worth it, and that everything will be okay. I pushed myself to do things I have never done so I can cherish the memories I made with my fellow participants.

I saw so many interesting plants and animals that I have never seen before. Costa Rica is very beautiful and the most amazing land I have seen so far. In general, the hike was hard and challenging but definitely worth it. I am more and more grateful to have hiked the rain forest of Costa Rica. I highly recommend this program because you learn a lot and make memories with new people. I am excited to finish the International Program.


August 1st, 2018

Oliver shares his amazing hiking adventures in Costa Rica

My experience with the Outward Bound hike was amazing! The first day was a little hard on us because our group leader hurt her knee, but thankfully she’s fine now. We walked 5km in 7 hours to get to our first place we stayed. The next day we did a 5-6 hour hike to a homestay and ate some of the most delicious food I ever ate! Nothing compares to my dad’s cooking though. The third day we went to a waterfall which was so refreshing because it was a hot day. Then we made candy from sugar canes which was so good! The fourth day we hiked to our third home stay which was about an hour and a half walk from the last one and when we got there we showered, swam in a river close by then later we made banana and chocolate bread. On the fifth day we ate breakfast and had the bread we cooked the night before then hiked to a ecolodge ,and later that evening we walked around and saw some frogs then headed to bed.

The sixth day we hiked for 16km in 7 hours which was an amazing improvement from the first day, and then we got to the town of Manuel Antonio and cooked supper and chilled for the rest of the day. The eighth day was super fun because we got to go to the Manuel Antonio National Park and went swimming for about three hours, then on the way back we saw a baby sloth which was super cute! After that, we drove back to the first outward bound base then got to do some much needed laundry. The last day of the trip was one of my favourite because we got to zip-line which was amazing because I was going super fast. After zip-lining, our instructors brought us back to UWC to end the trip.

This was truly a life changing experience and I’m so thankful to have had the chance to participate in this program. Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed pura vida!


July 31st, 2018

Alaasua tells us about life in Newfoundland

Hi, my name is Alaasua Audlaluk and I am from Grise Fiord, Nunavut.

I am 16 years old and this is my first year as a participant with Northern Youth Abroad. I volunteer at the St. John’s Native Friendship Centre with my buddy Jaylene Ukpatiku and she is from Baker Lake, Nunavut. We help set up and take down with programs, go to the parks with the youth, and generally check in with our supervisor to see what tasks needs to be completed on that day. I love my co-workers because I like how humorous and enthusiastic they are.

The host family I am staying with for 5 weeks is very kind and welcoming. They do not have any children, but my host mom does have a niece and nephew that come visit her that we haven’t met yet. They have a cat named Bartleby, which I was nervous to be around at first, but now I am comfortable around her. I even cuddle with her sometimes.

My buddy and I have done a lot of activities, like camping with our host mom the first weekend we arrived to St. John’s and we also got the chance to go to a powwow. It was our first time at a powwow! We also went for a nature park and some animals I saw for the first time were a snowy owl, strigidae owl, bald eagle, frog, and a moose. We went shopping and we got our nails done and on our way back home. We went to an indoor trampoline park with Kira (NYA staff) and it was both mine and Jaylene’s first time at a trampoline park. We also went up to Signal Hill and got to see all of St. John’s. It was raining the time we went up but it was still a beautiful view.

Thank you for reading my blog.


July 30th, 2018

Shannon talks about achieving her summer goal

Hello my name is Shannon McPherson and I am a Canadian Program participant with Northern Youth Abroad. This summer I have been placed in West Vancouver, Squamish Nation BC. For the past four weeks I have been volunteering in art and explore summer camps. Each week I learn something new- whether its painting, going on adventures with the kids, exploring the city and nature, or just learning from each kid. I’ve come to love Vancouver and the different cultures it has to offer. Also, seeing all the dogs and friendly faces makes me feel at home.

My summer goal was to learn my way around my host community, which I achieved and I am quite happy about. The summer is almost over and it makes me sad that I’ll be leaving soon. I’m also very happy to go back home to tell my family and friends about the great summer I’ve had. The highlight of my trip was hiking up a mountain which I cant remember the name of, but it was an hour away from Squamish BC. It was so pretty at the top, and seeing the other mountains and lakes is something I won’t forget.

There were a lot of challenges this summer, like being so far from home, having to learn my way around a new place, and getting homesick. I am glad and very grateful I had my host mom to make me feel better with the car rides we took and the talks we had. Most importantly, just being there for me when I had wanted to give up and go home was a big support. I am very blessed to have gotten this opportunity. I would like to say a very big thank you to the NYA staff for making this program happen every year. You are all the best and I am happy I have been chosen for this great experience. Thank you for reading!


July 30th, 2018

Eli shares his experience in Windsor, ON

Hello, my name is Eli. I am 15 years old and this is my first time as a participant with Northern Youth Abroad. I have really enjoyed this experience and being away from my community. At first, I spent a lot of time relaxing and meeting new people. I also had to figure out the bus schedules to know what bus I needed to take. 

I didn’t even think living down in the south would be so hard!  When I want to have some alone time, I walk the dogs, and enjoy seeing beautiful different kind of trees, and other different stuff that is different from Nunavut. The time is going by so fast because I’ve been working from 9-4pm every day Monday to Friday since July 9th! 

The people around Windsor are very very nice and kind. When I first got here, I noticed how  beautiful and stunning everything was! At first I didn’t really like the water, but I got used to it.  I am so glad that I came here. There is about 2 and a half weeks until I am done with this program, but I might be applying for NYA Next, next year!



July 30th, 2018

William shares his amazing time so far in Kingston


My name is William Sassie and I am from Fort Liard. I am 18 years old and I am a participant of NYA Canadian program, where I get to experience life in southern Canada for five weeks.

My host family are Caroline and Wilson who are VERY caring and supportive! A rabbit name Leo, Murphy the Lab dog, and Elouise the tortoise! I live in a big house which has a lot of history. They have a really nice backyard which has a garden that is FULL of vegetables. Also, I hear this morning dove, every morning, which i thought for the first week and a half, an owl!

My volunteer placements are, at the Pan Chancho Bakery and Café, Focus Forward, and this coming week is Habitat For Humanity. These placements have taught me a lot mentally, also the people who were involved ever since the day I signed up for this program! After a day of work, I would go to the YMCA, the mall, or just wait at the bus stop to go home and relax till supper. Some of the activities I’ve done are Putt N’ Blast which is a glow-in-the-dark-mini golf, arcades, swimming, boating, fishing, biking, going to the movies, take the ferry along the US and Canada border line, Ziplining, and also getting Gelato.

Throughout this program I’ve learned about different cultures, taking responsibility, leadership, and that this is just the beginning of my adventures alone. I am grateful that I participated in the NYA program. It has been the best summer so far.

July 27th, 2018

Jeannie writes about her work placement in Halifax

Hi, my name is Jeannie Kalluk. I’m 16 years old and I’m from from Baker Lake, Nunavut (the centre of Canada). I’ve been in Halifax, Nova Scotia for about 3 weeks now and I’m loving it here. It’s so different than my community back home.

My work place is Hope Blooms. It’s a place where you grow plants and make homemade dressing. We also spend time with children aged 10 and under who always help out with the garden. Some days we have a garden night. This is when a group of all the children and staff of Hope Blooms do some activities and then water plants together. I love working there because its all about children and planting fruits and vegetables. I’m happy to be part of the Hope Blooms team.

I’ve been out of community before and I was homesick. However, while being part of Northern Youth Abroad, I haven’t been homesick. I think it’s because I’m doing so many fun activities.

Anyways, I’m so proud to be part of Northern Youth Abroad.


Jeannie Kalluk

July 27th, 2018

Jeremiah shares all of the fun activities Next has done so far

Hello, my name is Jeremiah Nakashuk and I am from Pangnirtung, Nunavut.

Last week we visited the Mamidosewin Centre here at Algonquin College where we played video games and board games with the people here. We played with a VR which was very fun. A few days after, we visited A7G at The Bronson Centre, where we did a sharing circle and just hung out and had pizza after. When we left the centre, we visited a park to go watch a movie, which was fun.

During the weekend we had free time to do what we wanted. The project leaders all went to different places, and everyone decided who they wanted to join. I decided to go to the Canadian History Museum in Quebec, then went back to Ottawa to visit Little Italy where we went to a little sandwich shop. After we ate, our group decided to visit Bayshore Mall.

Around ten days ago we went camping at Fitzroy Provincial Park for the weekend where we went swimming at the beach. Our project leaders rented a canoe and 2 kayaks to use and it was a lot of fun. We visited a cultural camp, tried beading, learned about herbal medicine, how to build a sweat lodge, and how to hoop dance. The next day we went to a nearby park to learn more about dragonflies and damselflies.


July 27th, 2018

Stanley writes about construction class and trying Beavertails

My name is Stanley Mackenzie and this has been one amazing experience because I get to see some familiar faces that I did the Canadian Phase with, and explore new opportunities with trades that I have not tried before.

During my first week here in Ottawa, I first thought that the residence was some kind of fancy hotel with an awesome lounge that we can use to play online games. The college itself is beyond my imagination because of the architecture style and the friendly vibes I feel whenever I walk through the buildings. Our construction teacher Doug told all of us that we are ahead of schedule which is awesome because I didn’t know that I was so good at trades or anything like that. I always thought I was great at filming, but construction is really fun and he explains everything in such an easy and simple way. I’m seriously thankful for this amazing trip that NYA has provided me with.

Last weekend, we all split into groups of three. One went to the Museum of Canada, second went to the farmer’s market that’s close by to the Rideau Centre Mall, and the third went to some other farmer’s markets. We spent our time walking around the market and checking out clothes and food. Then I saw something that said “Beaver Tails”, so instantly I thought “I gotta try this mystery!”. It was so crunchy and good- worth the money I’ll say.


July 27th, 2018

Laila shares memories of NYA, fun stories, and her time with Next

Hey everyone, my name is Laila Onalik and I am from Kimmirut, Nunavut. I recently graduated high school in June and it was an amazing feeling. Congrats to the graduates of the Class of 2018! This year I am participating in the NYA Next program. We started off at orientation at Macskimming camp where the facilitators and volunteers got us prepared for our 2-month summer journey at Algonquin College. It is such a fun experience, but also a lot of hard work which is worth it!

Last year I did my Canadian Phase with NYA and I was placed in Glencoe, Ontario. My work placement was at the ELM’s Children Centre working with toddlers and preschoolers. It was very interesting and I have gained a lot of knowledge and experience working with children. I learned that every child has their own voice, and that all children deserve to be heard and included. This year I applied for NYA Next which is similar to the Canadian Phase, except I get to live in a college dorm for 5 weeks! NYA next has given me an opportunity to experience college and city life. City life can be risky sometimes coming from a small community. There are many challenges like having to get used to all the bus stops, all the traffic, and the different faces I’m seeing. It’s fascinating and overwhelming!

I have a short funny story to share. Me and my new friend Megan decided to go to the Bayshore Mall. We went there with no problems by bus. The funny thing is when we were trying to come back to the Algonquin Residence, we kept getting off on the wrong bus stop. We were somewhat scared, but we made it back safe and ended up being late for our session. It was an amazing few hours and we were both scared but we figured it out and had fun at the same time.

We also went camping for the weekend at Fritzoy camp where we met with The Assembly of the 7th Generation (A7G). We got to meet new friends, and experienced and learned about different cultures. We went swimming at the camp and did some group activities while we were there. All in all, camping was awesome. Three weeks have gone by so fast! At times I wanted to go home, as I was homesick, but with the never ending support and encouragement I am determined to finish this and get through the other obstacles coming my way. I learned that college life can be risky, fun, and challenging. Waking myself up at 7:30am to get to my construction class at 8:00am, dealing with the humidity, and not seeing the same people all the time is actually a lot to take in. In the first week of construction class, we were working on a picture frame and then we started working on dog houses that we are building for the Humane Society SPCA. Construction classes are actually fun and easy-going. Our professor Doug is one awesome guy. He always tells us to do everything “nice and easy”. I’m so happy I got to be a part of this program once again. Thank you for reading my blog. I hope you enjoyed!