By Sarah Teefy Northern Ireland Exchangee
On Canada day I set out for an adventure across the sea. I was chosen as this year’s exchange delegate for Northern Ireland, linking up with members of the Young Farmers Club of Ulster. After a few weeks of preparing for my big trip, before I knew it I was on an airplane bound for the U.K. I have done some travelling before, but this is my first trip to Europe, and my first trip completely on my own.
I made my first stop in London, as I had 2 nights before my exchange began. Here I met up with an old friend from back home. A familiar face was a great way to ease into my first solo trip. After a quick visit and a full day of sightseeing it was back on the plane and bound for Belfast. I was greeted at the airport by my first host, Phil, and a fellow exchangee from Finland. We would spend the next few days together before heading to the family farm of my next hosts, Stuart and Alison.
Both of these families were so welcoming to the two of us.
Over the first week we fit in so much it felt like it should have been two weeks. From touring Belfast and visiting the iconic Titanic museum, to walking the beautiful gardens of Mount Stewart. I was having a blast!
We closed out the week by attending one of the many, YFCU summer BBQ’s where we got to meet up with a few more exchangees and many other Young Farmers.
Week 2, I have been staying with a lovely family, Joe, Lorna and 3 boys, Peter, William, and Nathan. I am hosted along with another exchange delegate from Germany. Joe was a former exchangee travelling to Canada in his days of the Young Farmers, and visited my family farm at the time of his visit. We have heard many stories of his adventures in Canada, the world is not so big after all. With this family we have toured a pottery, hiked a mountain, and celebrated the 12th of July, a national holiday here in Northern Ireland, along with many more activities.
I have one week left of this adventure and I can’t wait too see what it will bring, as it has been so exciting already seeing the country and learning about the culture and the Young Farmers’ clubs here in Northern Ireland.
Though I have set out on this trip on my own, I have not once felt alone, as the families have been so kind and made me feel at home. This has been an adventure of a lifetime, and it continues for another week yet!