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

Grizzlies make an impact in the community

The team travels to elementary and middle schools to spend time with the students

Well-used bathing service receives much-needed upgrade

Bathing program expands room on Goldstream Avenue

Thrilling finish to Royals weekend in Victoria

WHL club hosts Portland for a pair this Friday and Saturday at Save-On Centre

Man flees Bay Centre after daytime sexual assault in downtown Victoria

The suspect physically and sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl shopping with a friend

Chinese New Year takes to the streets of Victoria

Hundreds brave chilly temperatures to usher in the Year of the Dog

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

North Island Bantam Eagles chop down Sooke Thunderbirds in semi-final showdown

It was another do or die playoff game for the North Island Bantam Eagles last Saturday.

Federal government to fight solitary confinement ruling from B.C. court

B.C. Supreme Court decided to end the practice of solitary confinement in Canadian prisons

Hedley withdraws from Junos, plans to discuss ‘how we have let some people down’

Hedley was dropped by their label last week after sexual misconduct accusations

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: B.C. takes home gold in two-man bobsleigh

Women’s hockey team beats Russia 5-0, Comox skier takes home best qualifying score

Wounded Warrior Run 2018 leaves Port Hardy

The Wounded Warrior Run is a relay run where a group of runners cover Vancouver Island in seven days

Calgary man dies in Mexico following sudden illness

Troy Black was with his wife, Lindsay, in Puerto Vallarta when he began vomiting blood on Thursday

Virtue and Moir break their own world record

Virtue and Moir break short dance record to sit first in ice dance at Olympics

Trump gets angry about election meddling, but not at Russia

‘Weirdest thing’: Trump expresses anger, but not over Russian election-meddling

Most Read