World traveller returns
Priscilla Kuksuk completes a Canada World Youth exchange

ARVIAT (Mar 03/97) - Spending Christmas in a foreign land was worth it, says 21-year-old Pricilla Kuksuk, who a week ago returned from a six-month visit to Poland.

Part of a Canada World Youth exchange ,the Grade 12 student, through a program run by the Canadian International Agency for the Development of Education (CIDA) made Niepolomice, Poland her homee for six months.

"I just wanted to experience something new and I wasn't let down," Kuksuk said shortly after returning to Canada last week. "I knew it would help me prepare for my future which will be, now that I've been to Polland, something to do with the environment."

Kuksuk says it was after spending the first few weeks working at an seniors home that she realized she wasn't gaining too much and decided to go to work for her host parents, who ran a local book store.

"When we were at the seniors home we were totally isolated, when I started at the book store I really became integrated and learned a lot, met lots and lots of very unique people."

Similarities, Kuksuk found in northern Poland included the overcrowded housing (she stayed with her counterpart who had four children), alcohol problems and major unemployment, all problems that exist in Arviat.

Kuksuk says her fondest memory will be of meeting and getting to know her counterpart, 19-year-old Dorota Czarzasta from southern Poland.

"It was tough at the beginning because we were so different, but we talked a lot and things got good. We became really good friends."

Her host family, being tutored in English for only 15 hours, prior to her arrival, also made her visit challenging, where Kuksuk found "my dictionary and phrase book became my bible."

"It's a lot like Arviat where there's not a lot of English spoken. But it made things very interesting. I was never bored."

Kuksuk also got a chance to travel, where she admits she was amazed at how populated rural Poland is.

"We'd go only three kilometres, and there'd be yet another village. They were everywhere."

As for being home, she adds, "I'm very happy to be home, but I'm very sad at the same time as I miss my new friends I made there."