FS Emilia Gajda from 318 Sale Squadron recently returned from the trip of a lifetime on the International Air Cadet Exchange to Canada. Here's her write up of the adventure...
"Having recently just come off an 18-day exchange trip in Canada, it is safe to say that it is easily one of the best things I’ve done with the Air Cadets. It was an absolute honour to meet Air Cadets from eleven different countries, all with a large range of different backgrounds but with a common interest in aviation. I have met some truly incredible and unique individuals and have made lifelong friendships from all over the world.
The highlights of my trip included:
- Sinking Submarine Simulation; this involved being put into a container filled with slowly rising 3-5 °C water, with pressurised, freezing water gushing out from the holes in the inner pipework of the ‘submarine’ and having to patch these up as best we could with what we had in near darkness, as well as having to do CPR on a dummy casualty.
- Weekend stay with the Mino family (host family); situated right on the Rideau River meant that I got to experience paddle boarding, knee boarding and tubing for the first time in my life and it is something that I’ll never forget. Hitting speeds in excess of 30km/h, hanging on for dear life as you are thrown about from the wash of the boat is a completely breath-taking, heart-stopping experience.
- Griffin Flight at 430 Squadron; there's nothing that beats flying below the level of the treetops, just above a river, angled at 90° on one side with the door open and then having to suddenly go at a 45° angle vertically at some serious speed over the trees as the river ends.
- Ottawa Light Show; a stunning bilingual French/English light show projected directly onto Ottawa Parliament Building against the backdrop of the Rideau river that told the history of Canada through images and sound.
- Citadelle de Quebec and the changing of the guard; situated at the highest natural point in the area and home to the sole French speaking Royal 22nd Regiment, coupled with the regimental mascot – Batisse the goat, who is always present for the changing of the guard, the Canadian military base was a truly fantastic visit.
These are just a few of my many memorable and amazing experiences that I had during my time abroad. I can’t thank enough all the people who made the trip what it was and I thank my host family especially for taking five of us in for what was a truly incredible weekend. I’m proud to have been an ambassador for my country and to everyone out there, if you ever get the opportunity to apply for IACE, do so, because it is something that you will never, ever forget.