International Education Program
In the spring of 2015, the Board approved the implementation of an International Education program for the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, to begin in the fall of 2015. The program accepts students from across the world to enjoy the benefits of the first class Catholic education system available through the CDSBEO. As well, it provides our own students with the opportunity to benefit from daily interactions with International students.
Principal of Hanley Hall School of Alternative and Continuing Education, Dave Chaplin, presented information on the continued growth of the program to the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Chaplin began, “The program has experienced a lot of growth over the three years, and we are pleased with its overall success. I am happy to be here this evening to share the details of International Education in the CDSBEO.”
“The International program is an opportunity for students from across the globe to enjoy the benefits of a first class Catholic education system. The program also provides our own students with the opportunity to benefit from daily interactions with international students. It is our hope that this learning opportunity will bring a global perspective into the classroom, and help promote diversity and foster cultural awareness in CDSBEO schools.”
Staff and students are very excited to welcome international students to their schools and communities. During the 2017-2018 school year, 93 students from nine countries will attend CDSBEO schools. This number is up from 71 students in 2016-2017.
Principals and staff have played an important role in welcoming the students and ensuring their wellbeing, and the experience has been extremely positive.
“We have had more students asking about international exchange opportunities, and it has helped to open their minds about globalization and a larger world. Both parties are learning, from one another,” continued Mr. Chaplin. “We’ve formed great relationships with other international schools and organizations, and we are finding that there are a lot of options for program expansion.”
International students coming into the Board have the opportunity to enhance their language skills, and experience the richness of Canadian culture. Moving forward, the Board will continue to support current partners, and will expand and develop new partnerships in South East Asia (Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand), South America (Brazil, Columbia, Chile), and Europe (Germany, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Italy).
Student Ana Paula Juarez Mendoza from Monterey, north of Mexico City, spoke to the Board about her most memorable moments.
“I wanted to study abroad because my older brother went to study in France, and he told me about his experiences. When he came back I noticed a change in him – he was more mature. I wanted a similar experience,” she explained. “In Mexico, there is no such thing as a locker, and I didn’t know how to open a lock! Since arriving here, I have become more independent, and my English has improved. The people at Notre Dame where I am studying are really nice, and I like that people are interested in learning about my culture and where I am from.”
Juan Demetrio Martinez Sandin from Madrid, Spain noted that he likes the way that students learn in Canada.
“In Spain we spend more time studying and listening, but here we speak more, and do more projects, and less exams and tests, so, I prefer that type of learning.”
Xiyan (Leo) Li from Beijing, China noted that his parents really wanted him to learn through experiences.
“My parents really wanted me to see more and to learn abroad. I really like the school in Canada because we go for a six hour school day, and in China we have a 16 hour school day! My teachers are friendly, and I really feel the sense of community at Notre Dame. I also really like my host family. It’s been a really, really great experience to meet all of these new friends here in Canada.”
He continued, “I do find that it’s really, really cold here – in Beijing -10 is just -10, it’s not -10 but feels like its -20! And also, I really don’t like the snow in Canada, but my favourite thing in Canada is snow days!”
“Thank you all, so much, for sharing your experiences with us. It has certainly been a pleasure hearing your stories,” noted Chair Lalonde.