Not what she expected

Rotary exchange student gets a pleasant surprise in Canada

In Elsa van Ginniken’s mind, what she knew of Canada was this: a land of ice and snow, moose and Mounties.

This tall, willowy 18-year-old arrived in Qualicum Beach in late August as a Rotary exchange student from the Netherlands to find no snow, no moose and no scarlet-coated Mounties. What she is enjoying however, is the natural beauty of British Columbia’s West Coast, the charm of Qualicum Beach, and, of course, our renowned Oceanside hospitality.

Having lived in the community of Naarden/Bussum (population 32,000), only 20 minutes from the thriving metropolis of Amsterdam, van Ginniken confesses that the slower pace of Island life has taken some getting used to.


Easily accessible public transportation and the omnipresent bicycle were very much part of her busy social life in Holland. Here she relies on her Qualicum Beach host families, her Rotary Club extended family and her school friends with ‘wheels’ as she enjoys her new life with us.

van Ginniken’s interests in and outside the classroom are biology, food and nutrition, art, field hockey, tennis, basketball, yoga and horseback riding.


When she completes her studies in Holland, following her year as our Qualicum Beach Rotary Club Youth Exchange student, she is considering a career as an event organiser.

Welkom, Elsa!


­— Submitted by Qualicum Beach Rotary Club


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