Hey, my name is Kait Porter from Gjoa Haven, Nunavut.
I just recently turned 21 years old and I have a 3 year-old son. I attended Northern Youth Abroad as a Canadian Program participant in 2011. I was placed in Prince Edward Island and volunteered as an art teacher at Confederation Art Camp. This summer I attended Northern Youth Abroad with the most recent program “NYA Next”. It was a fantastic experience along with the other 16 participants from Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
We travelled from our home communities to Ottawa, Ontario for 6 weeks. We started off doing Orientation with the Northern Youth Abroad Staff and meeting the other participants. We learned about what we were going to do for the entire summer and did a ton of activities and workshops, including personal goal setting! This year, personally, I gained a lot of knowledge. I never knew that much about carpentry (well I knew how to hammer and the basics) but not actually the proper ways of how to build or use tools. We also learned firefighting skills and how to live in a big city like Ottawa and how to get around (because Prince Edward Island was much smaller)!
During the summer, I realized that I had known I wanted to become a teacher ever since I volunteered in Prince Edward Island helping an art teacher, but that 5 years had gone by and I never did anything about it. So during the summer, NYA Staff talked with me about what I would like to do or where do I see myself in the next 5 years and I told them I want to become a teacher and even a principal. NYA Staff showed me a lot of programs that were available in order to become a teacher and asked if I am really serious about it. I thought if I can leave my kid for 6 weeks in order to gain more knowledge, then I can go for a year of schooling.
So now I am here upgrading in Ottawa at Carleton University with the Aboriginal Enriched Support Program (AESP). I am taking courses in Indigenous Studies along with Childhood Studies and the first year seminar AESP course. I never really thought that going to school was possible until my child was older but after being here and attending Northern Youth Abroad, I noticed I had way more confidence to reach my goals. Looking at all the goals I want to achieve, I knew there was no more time to waste. The first step to your goal is to apply or do something about it. There was a lot of great times and success this summer and also difficult times because I had never left my son for more than two weeks in his life. I learnt that even though he is not with me that I am still doing this for us because all the knowledge I am gaining I will pass on to him when he gets older like carpentry, firefighting, and learning how to live in the city. Pursuing my education will benefit both of us. Once I complete this year, I would like to move to the two-year Early Childhood Education Program at Algonquin College. By then, I will have adapted to city and university/college life better, and I can bring my son here because he will be 4 years-old.