Hi, my name is Mahasi Nateela and I am from Arviat, Nunavut. My summer placement was in Powell River, BC on the Tla’amin First Nation. I decided to apply for this program in 2015 but was an alternate that year, in 2016 I decided to apply again because I was told by friends that NYA is a fun & amazing program, and it really is. I was determined to be part of the program because I wanted to meet new people and learn new traditions. (I was actually really awkward when it came to meeting new people, but I’m not awkward as much as before.. at least I don’t think I am)
There are so many assignments you have to do before you get to be a participant for this program, which is pretty stressful, but totally worth it once you finish them all and start travelling. Throughout this program I learned a lot about my culture, other cultures and myself. Learning about other cultures amazed me, learning to speak and understand their language, listening to their stories and legends, participating in their dances and songs, trying out their food and clothing, etc. I enjoyed teaching my host family and co-workers about my culture too.
My work placement was at the Tla’ amin (“Sliammon”) Day Camp. At the day camp I played with children/infants while their parents/guardians were at work. I wasn’t too sure at first how I’d like working there, but I had an amazing time taking care of the children. My co-workers were very welcoming and funny I thought their reactions were funny when I told them the prices of food and clothing where I live.
My host family was very welcoming too. My host mom, her daughters and friends welcomed my placement buddy and I with a traditional welcome song as we got off the plane and it was very heart-warming. My host mom also took us to a festival one weekend and it was something I’d never really experiences. I’d love to go to another one.
I’d like to say thank you to my mentor, the NYA coordinators, and my host family for giving me and my new friends this once in a lifetime opportunity. I couldn’t ask for a better summer.