Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of August 30, 1999
Student evades snakes, bugs on three-nation study tour
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
Amarpret Dhaliwal's reason for wanting to go on a travel-study program to Spain was simple. She thought it would be a good experience and have a positive impact on her future studies.
Dhaliwal, 17-year-old Holy Trinity High School student, was one of two Canadians awarded a scholarship to study and travel in Spain, Costa Rica and Panama for six weeks. The program, Ruta Quetzal Argentaria, promotes the study of English and Spanish languages and cultures.
A total of 300 students from 44 countries participated in the trip, worth $14,000 per student.
The trip was part cultural experience, part study program.
"We learned about the environment, there were some conferences, but it wasn't like going to school or anything," Dhaliwal said.
One highlight was a visit to the shrine at Santiago de Compostelo, Spain.
"We went on a pilgrimage there," Dhaliwal said. "We saw these old churches. They were very beautiful."
The group camped out in tents and showers were a luxury.
The students were also on the look out for potentially dangerous insects and other creepy crawlies. In one campground, they had a visit from a wandering boa constrictor.
"I can't believe I touched that thing," she said of the snake.
What she did see were picturesque blue skies and endless oceans. She saw lush tropical forests and wildlife.
"It was a good summer," said Dhaliwal as she prepares for her final year of high school.
Dhaliwal herself is well-travelled. She spent a year as an exchange student in Mexico and has travelled to England and India. She plans to work towards a career in international business and marketing.