Forging Lasting Friendships

Forging Lasting Friendships

By Sonya Chwyl

Host sisters Kaja and Ismay (Grade 10) have only known each other since September, but they've already become fast friends.

Originally form Hamburg, Germany, Kaja joined GNS in September as an international student. She's currently staying with the Macklin-Davey family through the Family Boarding Program.

Though she was initially a little worried about not clicking with her host family or classmates, her fears were quickly disproven.

"We get along really well," says Kaja of her host sister Ismay. "We pretty much don't do anything without each other."

"We're a little bit inseparable," Ismay agrees.

Though the two don't have many of the same classes, they still have fun doing homework together, and Ismay often helps Kaja her English essays. "One time I helped her and she got a higher mark on the essay than I did!" Ismay says.

Though the girls sometimes tease each other ("in a nice way," according to Kaja), the transition from strangers to sisters has been virtually seamless. They hang out frequently, and can often be found cozied up watching their favourite TV shows together to unwind after a busy day of school and homework. (They recently finished How I Met Your Mother, and are now on the sixth season of Gilmore Girls. "Not the best season, but still good," says Ismay.)

So far Kaja is enjoying GNS life, and says that even though it's a change from her school in Germany, the differences are positive and it has been easy to adjust—except, of course, when it comes to Victoria's rainy weather.

While Kaja is heading back to Germany for the holidays once the term is over, she and Ismay still have lots of Christmas activities planned before she goes.

"I wanted to start doing things a while ago, but she wouldn't let me," Ismay says.

"We have to wait until December!" Kaja explains.

On Friday, December first, the girls will officially ring in the season by decorating the house, baking cookies, and—of course—watching Christmas movies.

As far as the future goes, Kaja and Ismay see themselves remaining friends for a long time. Next year, Ismay hopes to travel to Germany to spend Christmas with Kaja and her family.

Rachel Davey and Toby Macklin, Ismay's parents, have hosted international students before, and plan to continue hosting for the foreseeable future. In addition to Kaja, they currently also host Jamaica, a Grade 12 International Student from Vietnam. For their family, hosting has been a wonderful way to broaden their horizons and make connections all over the world.

For more information on Family Boarding and to find out how you can become a host parent, visit

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