A world-class equestrian program, an intensive ESL curriculum and a secure learning environment located in Canada’s verdant British Columbia: welcome to Queen Margaret’s School.

Nestled in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, the 27-acre campus is located within walking distance of shopping, sports centers and activities of the town of Duncan, BC, along with proximity to skiing, lakes, rivers and the Pacific Ocean.

The school welcomes students from all over the world into its boarding program, and the intensive ESL courses allows students improve their English skills quickly and prepare for university in a rigorous and structured academic environment. QMS’ comprehensive scholastic and extracurricular programs provide opportunities for achievement and personal growth through sports, visual and performing arts, information technology, and riding.

QMS is home to Canada’s only fully integrated equestrian and pre-veterinary equine sciences curriculum, providing training opportunities for recreational riders to learn how to ride safely and for elite equestrian athletes to improve their skill and compete in shows in Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Catching up with two former students

Rii Fuji

Rii Fuji at a competition in Mérida, Mexico

We spoke with two alumnae—Yumina Nagahata and Rii Fuji—to find out more about what their QMS experience meant to them. Yumina explained, “the most valuable thing I learned from QMS is a sense of creativity, independence and open-mindedness towards other cultures.” She appreciated learning how to express herself and exercise her creativity: for example, making a poetry book in a literature class was something she didn’t think she would have been able to do at a Japanese school. Inspired by the creative environment at QMS, Yumina is currently doing internships at various art galleries around Tokyo, and she is planning to pursue graduate studies and a career in the arts. “Being abroad made me want to learn even more about my own culture. I’m now studying Art History and Japanese traditions and customs at university,” she said.

Rii was drawn to QMS because of the equestrian program; she is an experienced rider and she participated in worldwide competitions during her time there. But one of the big surprises for her was the international group of lifelong friends she bonded with: “There were no tensions between all the different nationalities, and the atmosphere was so relaxed and friendly,” she explained. She also loved the peaceful surroundings of Vancouver Island. Rii began a nursing school program in Japan last year, and after the four-year program, she plans to return to Canada and work there.

Queen Margaret’s School’s Associate Director of Admissions, Mr. Iqbal Parekh, will be visiting Tokyo to meet prospective students and their families in February 2014. To book your appointment, connect with him at [email protected].

Main image: New graduates, from right to left: Michiko, Yumina, and Rii