Kathleen Boies

My fellow Crossroaders were much older than me, well travelled, and of course, fluent in English. But they welcomed me with acceptance and openness I had never experienced before.

I remember feeling very self conscious and insecure attending the first local Crossroads committee meeting. I was 19 and the youngest one present. Worse still, I didn’t speak English very well. My fellow Crossroaders were much older than me, well travelled, and of course, fluent in English. But they welcomed me with acceptance and openness I had never experienced before.

While my placement was certainly interesting, the true discovery for me was meeting people from my own country. I went to Indonesia with a group of Crossroaders from all over Canada – the Northwest Territories, Newfoundland, the Prairies and Ontario. These connections were even more powerful for me than the cross cultural experience. I had never traveled outside of Quebec. For me, there was Quebec, and then the ROC as we used to say, the “rest of Canada”. I had no idea of what existed outside of Quebec.

I learned an enormous amount from these Crossroaders, not to mention English. There are probably 100 Indonesians running around speaking English with a French accent because of me!

These values of acceptance and openness had a lasting effect on me that has stayed with me, and I try to reproduce it my own life. When I returned from Indonesia I wanted to stay in touch with the organization, and as it turned out, my newly found bilingual skills were in big demand. At that time, the organization didn’t have regional offices and there was a lot of internal consultation which needed translation. I volunteered as a simultaneous translator for many years, and then later became a member of the board. I continue to be encouraged by the organization’s vision. Crossroads pays an enormous amount of attention to diversity and inclusiveness, always encouraging diversity of opinion. Because profound experiences can come from unexpected places – often from our own neighbours.

 

Crossroads International gratefully acknowledges the support of: