Abbey Christ-Rowling is about to embark on an adventure of a lifetime as she travels to school in Swaziland. (Photo submitted)

Royal Bay student bound for Swaziland

World College admission brings surprise destination

Abbey Christ-Rowling has no idea who she will be when she returns from Swaziland.

The 17-year-old Royal Bay Secondary School student is about to embark on what many would characterize as the adventure of a lifetime, but for Christ-Rowling, it’s a natural thing to do and completely in line with her own world view.

It’s also only the begining of her life adventure. “I really don’t know how this will change me. All I know is that I have so many different interests – places I want to see and things I want to do. I want my eyes opened to the opportunities out there,” Christ-Rowling said.

“This is an amazing educational experience and sort of marks the beginning of the life I’ve always imagined.”

Christ-Rowling’s adventure began last year when, after spending a month at the United World College at Pearson College, she emerged determined to seek admission to a United World College somewhere in the world.

Her first choices would have been Norway or Italy but, after an eight-month selection process and being selected for an interview by the national committee in Canada, she participated in an interview with the organization.

It was soon determined that her character and sense of adventure made her qualified to attend school at a far more exotic location than the choices she’d first listed.

“I’ll be going to Waterford Kamhlaba in Swaziland, a school under the umbrella of United World Colleges, South Africa. It’s rated as one of the best schools in all of Africa, so I’m very excited to have been given the opportunity,” Christ-Rowling said.

Her two years at the school will be a part of the international baccalaureate (IB) program, a program designed to develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills needed in an increasingly globalized world. She’ll emerge with her high school certificate as well as credits toward any post-secondary schools she may attend in the future.

Christ-Rowling is aware that the cultural shift involved in living in a country that is one of the last monarchies and where primary elections occur at the chiefdom level will be substantial. It is also a country with the highest rate of HIV infection in the world (64 per cent of all deaths in the country are caused by AIDS), and one that has had a history of protests and the call for political reforms.

“I’m aware that there are some security issues, but the school has a really good reputation where security is involved and, honestly, there are risks everywhere. It’s all part of the education; I’m sure my eyes are going to be opened to a lot of things,” she said.

Christ-Rowling comes by her sense of adventure honestly.

Her mother Danya, received some of her own education as an exchange student in Denmark, some 30 years ago, and her brother Lucas, just returned to attend the University of Victoria after a year at a school in Colombia.

“I’ll confess that a part of me is a bit concerned. It’s a very different culture there and it’s so very far away, but I also know that there is no holding this girl back,” Danya said.

“The national committee saw that and felt confident sending her to Swaziland. I won’t stand in her way.”

There was one issue that might have made Christ-Rowling’s dreams difficult to achieve was the tuition and expenses of the learning experience, for which she was personally responsible.

That issue, however, was unexpectedly resolved.

“I was working and saving, trying to earn enough to pay for the first semester when I was told that I had a sponsor,” Christ-Rowling explained.

“An anonymous sponsor came forward and donated enough money for my entire first year – $25,000. No one knows who it was, and I am so grateful for the help. Hopefully, one day in the future, I can do the same for another student.”

That future is still unwritten, but Christ-Rowling said she has an interest in social development issues and human rights, as well as law.

“I’m not certain what I’ll end up doing, but I know this experience will help show me options that I’ve never even considered in the past.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

editor@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

Temperature records broken in Esquimalt Harbour and four other B.C. cities

The last temperature record in Esquimalt Harbour was set in 1999

Pearkes book sale will have 15,000 titles

Some seek volume of books while others hunt early editions in annual Saanich sale

Gingerbread Showcase returns for another year of delicious fun in Victoria

Funds raised from the event support Habitat for Humanity Victoria’s build in Central Saanich

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Greater Victoria holiday craft fair roundup for Nov. 16 to 18

Check off all of the items on your shopping list at these great events

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

B.C. teacher’s Amazing Race takes students on Canada-wide adventure

Agassiz high school students say they had the experience of a life time

Don’t sign USMCA until LGBTQ language excised, U.S. lawmakers urge Trump

The trade agreement, forged after 13 months of tense negotiations between Canada and the U.S. is scheduled for Nov. 30

US official: US intel says prince ordered Khashoggi killing

Vice-President Mike Pence told reporters that ‘the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity.’

Most Read