(itchrinse) wrote in katimavik,
 
itchrinse
katimavik

Questions about the program (prior to applying)

I'm contemplating applying for Katimavik; I'm in my second year of university and this August will be turning 20. It's pretty much a "now or never" situation.

Questions for you guys:
  • Should I, or can I, book a medical appointment now (and book it for, say, mid-March) to speed up my application process? Similarly, can I request a criminal background check (or whatever it's called) now, so that my application will be finished sooner?
  • How far in advance were you notified you were selected? Assuming you weren't a replacement person, did they give you a month's notice, a few weeks, mere days, what?
  • Was it worth (more or less) putting your life on hold for nine months? What did you learn? Why did -you- do it?
  • the pre-registration thing listed 4 departure dates - 2 in September, 2 in October. Does this mean there aren't any January '09 departures at all? I think I'd prefer a January program, 'cause then I'd only miss one semester of classes... Though being in Katimavik for Xmas would be amazing.

    I think I'm blanking out on what else I meant to ask, so I'll edit this when more questions crop up.



    As I mentioned, I'm currently in University. My tuition is being paid for via a student line of credit (yay bank loans), save for 8k I received in OSAP for first year. Because I'm switching programs, it'll be a few years before I graduate. This is relevant because I'll be paying monthly interest while on Katimavik, and thusly lose money in the long run because it'll take me another year to get my degree.

    I currently "own" a rabbit ("own" because I don't believe animals can be owned, even though I bought her from a pet store...), she's adorable, was spayed last month, is 7 months old, and has a huge cage that my dad & I built. Obviously, I'd have to find someone to take care of her while on Katimavik (which links to my Q about advance notification), or find a family to place her with forever and ever. :( (Depends on WWOOFing desires/travel bug).

    My current housing situation is absolutely amazing - close to campus, a grocery store, and my rent is only $210/month + utilities (I live in a cube - floor-to-ceiling height is the width and length of my room). Because I'll be staying here (in Guelph) for the summer, and my lease is May -> May, I'll have signed a lease for while on Katimavik and will need to find someone to sublet. And I'll still be on Katimavik when my lease expires and therefore probably won't be able to keep this place for '09-'10. The lease issue also links to "should I really go on a free program when I have such a cheap rent? It'd be better to have my housing paid for if I had a $450/month rent..."

    There's also stuff about when courses are offered (for English, some are only offered in even numbered years or odd numbered years, or in the fall or winter. it's frustrating).

    I'm not sure what's happening with regards to employment; I miiiight have a chance at landing the Recycling Coordinator position - in which case, I wouldn't be able to go away for 9 months.

    There're some minimal issues about my continuation with belly dancing classes and desires to work with extracurricular on-campus groups (such as re-starting the U of G Lit & English Society in September).

    I'm well aware that these obstacles aren't insurmountable and just make things a bit difficult.

    I was considering Katimavik at the end of grade 12, but wound up getting an early acceptance so I jumped at that chance instead. I kinda wish I'd done Katimavik then, as I think I'd have gotten more out of it, but I'm content with the way my life's played out up till now.




    Why I'm interested in Katimavik:
    To learn to live a low-budget life.
    To learn more french :).
    To see more of Canada - I've never been west of Ontario.
    To try new foods/learn recipes.
    To beef up my resume.
    To learn, in general. Learn from others in the group, learn from my volunteer experiences, learn about my own capabilities, etc.
    To find out what it's like to, essentially, just walk out of my life. See who would keep in touch 'n stuff.

    Why I think it might not be worth it:
  • I'm already rather volunteer-oriented. I volunteer at a radio station, doing fill-ins and hosting my weekly show. If I wasn't taking 6 courses, I'd be doing a heck of a lot more! I want to volunteer at a senior's home, I want to tutor elementary/middle-school students, I want to meet people in my community.
  • I can learn recipes and stuff while sticking around here...
  • Living away from my parents for a year and a half has strengthened my independence and Katimavik wouldn't be as much of an experience with regards to the first-time-being-away-from-home-for-an-extended-duration thing.

    I in part feel that I need to go, because I'm somewhat apathetic about bothering to partake in post-secondary education and because I'm (very slightly) scared of the opportunity--what if I'm not accepted to the program, what if I end up dropping out of the program, what if my placements/group members are crummy--and in being a tad scared, I therefore Should do it, for that whole face-your-fears reason. And I really don't want to, later in my life, regret not having tried or not having done Katimavik.



    Responses are quite sincerely appreciated!

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    • 7 comments
    So my thoughts

    1. The only problem with booking your medical appointment early is this: They give you a form that your doctor has to fill out. Unless they changed things they don't give you that form until after your accepted. As for the criminal record check, it only takes about a week for them to get it done.

    2. I was in the first selection, so therefore knew of the probability then. I wasn't "officially" accepted until about July and I left the beginning of October. However, one of my group memebers was a replacement and she found out 3 days before she left.

    3. Honestly, yes and No. At the time it was what I needed and although I don't regret doing the program, as a result of post-katima experiances, and not making arrangements for school b/f I left I screwed myself over, but I had alot of extenuating circumstances.

    4. Only the dates listed, are the program dates. Honestly, I did Katimavik in X-mas and it brought us closer, I was also in Sydney NS, in Capebreton and a the local sobey donated us lots and lots of food.

    5. I'm not sure about the bank loan, but I'm pretty sure that if you talk to OSAP people you'll still be able to apply for interest relief. Also, talk to your counsellor at U of G (I'm assuming your at the University of Guelph, since your in Guelph at that's the only Uni there). You may be able to turn your Katima experiences into credits.

    6. As long as your not on the waiting list and someone drops out at the last minute, you should be given atleast a week learning.

    7. I'm not sure. But I am damn jealous.

    8. If this job is something you really want, then go for it. You can always apply for Katimavik, to keep your options.

    9. I was in the same postion as you in Grade 12, but chose katimavik instead, did I make the right decision? who knows?

    In terms of why you want to:
    1) Low budget-life thisa is a double edged sword. I personally didn't learn anything I didn't already know and it didn't teach me budgeting. However, others learned alot.

    2) To learn more french, to do this you really have to really work at it. Think of it this way 3 french people vs. 9 English speakers, and except for Quebec your PL's may not be bilingual. I'm not saying it can't be done, I had a couple of people in my group who really learned alot of french, others didn't. Also, it depends on your placement. My group was lucky and had a Quebec placement; Other's that had a non-quebec french palcement found they missed out on that aspect. I find it's all in your attitude, and how you approach it.

    3) I'll just say this I had a guy in my group who's main reason for going was to "see more of canada" and travel. He left because we weren't doing much travelling. Sure you'll go on "excursions" but all of those excursions have to be approved and fit in the budget. Expect to spend most of your time in your host community.

    4)Honestly I've gotten a few interviews and jobs as a result of my Katima experiences, I also got a reference letter that pretty much can guarantee me any job I want.

    5)You'll definitely learn alot, and what you learn may surprise you.

    6)Honestly, you'll find out who your "real" friends are.

    Inresponse why you think it might not be worth it:
    1) There was one guy in my group who only went on the program because of the volunteer aspect. Think of it this way volunteering in your own community is one thing but volunteering in another province with different types of people is completely a new and unique experiences

    2) You can learn recipes around here, but it's the fun of learning recipes from different cultures, first hand that is fun.

    3) It's not just the experience of living away from home, it's being halfway across the country and not being able to come home whenever you want.

    Anyways, hope that helps.








    Hey there possible future victim... I am going to do my best to answer your questions, and I'm sure many more will follow....


    Should I, or can I, book a medical appointment now (and book it for, say, mid-March) to speed up my application process? Similarly, can I request a criminal background check (or whatever it's called) now, so that my application will be finished sooner?

    You know, I wouldn't. Well, I didn't. I didn't book ahead. The main reason I didn't book ahead is cause Katimavik will send you a big info packet of stuff... including a specialized medical form, and a crim check that will allow you to get your check for free. You'll get this before you get your placement package.

    *You get three packages after your application: 1. with all the paperwork you need to fill out (including medical forms and record checks)that you need to send back by a certain date. 2. With your placements, departure dates, and all that stuff. 3. with your travel info, patches, etc.





    How far in advance were you notified you were selected? Assuming you weren't a replacement person, did they give you a month's notice, a few weeks, mere days, what?

    I was a bit of a last minute fill-in...I got a letter that said I should plan to be ready to go in a month, then a call that said they want to put me in the earlier start group, so I was notified 3 weeks in advance, but the people in my group had a lot more time than I did.




    Was it worth (more or less) putting your life on hold for nine months? What did you learn? Why did -you- do it?

    It was literally the best decision of my life. My 2nd workplacement on Katimavik ended up hiring me in vancouver, So I moved to vancouver and worked there for 2 years (Home is Alberta). My entire life completely changed, and it was the greatest choice of my life. I haven't met anyone who has regretted Katimavik...

    Why did I do it? Because I was bored. I wanted a change, and I thought it would be cool, considering I loved to volunteer anyways. It was also a way of avoiding family responsibility, though I ended up gaining much more responsibility than planned. So great!!

    What did I learn?
    I learned so much, I don't even know where to start. I learned what my strengths and weaknesses are. I learned to love people more. I learned the definition of true friendship. That sounds really lame, I know, but you'll know what I'm talking about once you're in the program.




    the pre-registration thing listed 4 departure dates - 2 in September, 2 in October. Does this mean there aren't any January '09 departures at all? I think I'd prefer a January program, 'cause then I'd only miss one semester of classes... Though being in Katimavik for Xmas would be amazing.

    Katimavik Christmases are SO fun, but also kinda stressful/sad, but it's a new expierence and is totally worth it. Don't let the thought of a christmas without your family be a barrier to when you join.

    The departure dates change pretty often. Sometimes it depends on how much money the government has budgetted for Katimavik...and how many start dates they can have a year. Sometimes it's 4, sometimes it's two.





    oh, and just to add to the novel:

    My personal thoughts for you:
    1. you have no idea what the definition of living away from home is, until you're in charge of the household. The cleaning, the cooking, the budgetting, and the incredible stress. It's for 12 people total. Life is a breeze if you can learn to do it successfully.
    2. Don't come in with expectations of what you want your workplacements to be. You probably won't get them... because Katimavik is all about putting you in positions that you wouldn't expect yourself to be in. It's a really amazing thing about the program.

    3. All your fears are natural. You probably won't like everyone in your group, but you will love them. You won't be able to handle it. Don't go into the program thinking your going to quit. The first week is unbareably hard. You will want to drop out. Actually, all throughout the program you're going to have days where you'll want to quit... everyone does. It's just part of the lifestyle.

    I did leave the program. I left because I was offered a job, and I loved it so much I wanted to stay. I still stay in touch with everyone I worked with. In fact, I lived with my katimavik host family for a month upon returning to vancouver, until I found an apartment. It was pretty sweet.

    Any more questions, feel free to drop me a line at: bazmasterflash at gmail dot com. You can ask me as many questions as you want, cause I understand the curiousity.

    all the best!
    the criminal record check wasn't free for me at the time (2005?) and I'm from ontario. (how much it costs or whether it's free is different in every province)

    a crim- record check is only good for a year, so if you get it more than 3 months before leaving then you might run into trouble during your last work placement (if you're doing the 9 months)
    Actually it varies from city to city. For me (I`m also from Ontario and got it in 2005) It was free. Although, if I had gotten it in the next town over, they would of charged me. Also some towns will or won`t charge depending on what it`s for if it`s for work, they charge; If it`s for volunteer (like Katimavik) they don`t.

    Im on it right now and although I want to go home every couple days or so, Id say you should sign up and go. Sure you'll miss you family and friends but while on the program you will meet new ones. I mean, come on, you're in a house with 11 other kids you're gonna have to make friends. I have an excellent job placement-school. i teach english to a grade 6 class and they teach me french. but some of my roommates have shitty placements... you just have to keep a positive attitude. free food. free rent. free acivitities. because of katimavik i got to see quebec and the east coas (Im from AB) so now because of katimavik I have seen every province from the pacific to the atlantic ocean. and s<wam in both. gnarly. id say do it. whats stopping you. school schmool. its no or never. you have the rest of your life to go to school and stay home and be a responsible adult. join katimavik, meet people from around canada, help people in other communities. see the ''world''.
    These comments seem bulky enough to satisfy your question, so I'll just add...

    do it do it do it!

    It has been the best overall experience of my life, and I've done some pretty crazy things. I'm currently working for a year in Florida (in Walt Disney World) with a bunch of people from around the world and while this is still a barrel of monkeys, it pales in comparison to what Katimavik did for me.

    If it doesn't go through, well, it sounds like you've got a sweet situation going on for yourself anyway! And perhaps I'll see you on campus! I'm starting my first year at the U of G this September :)