A program bringing foreign students to Conception, Trinity and Placentia areas a success
An international educational program that was discontinued by the former Eastern School Board has been rejuvenated.
© Photo by Melissa Jenkins
Twenty-two Brazillian students are attending high school in the Trinity, Conception and Placentia regions until January to experience different culture and learn the English language. Those students are (by school) Carbonear Collegiate — Deoverspm Reinan, Ahedja Galvao, Igor Da Silva, Priscila De Barrros Moura, Rodrigo De lira and Thais De Lima; Crescent Collegiate — Emmanuel Lopes, Maria De melo ilva, Anderson Bezzerra, Daniele Lima, Eduarda Araujo and Laumer Silva; Ascension Collegiate — Renata Ferreira, Ariely Caricio, Isabela Gomes, Jhonatas da Silva, Renan Da Silva and Thayna Oliveira; Laval High School — Vanessa Da Silva Souzza; and Baccalieu Collegiate — Anaina De Souza, Isis Moreir and Yolanda Ribeiro.
The homestay portion of the Newfoundland International Student Education Program (NISEP) sees students from all over the world attend school and live with a host family in Newfoundland for five months of the school year — either September to January, or February to June. It gives students the chance to integrate with a family and learn English in a natural environment, while taking in the culture of this province and sharing culture from their home countries.
Students in the program come from Germany, Brazil, China, Korea and many more foreign countries.
This programs does not have an exchange component, where other students trade places, so it does not require a specific number of participants.
Trinity, Conception and Placentia
Twenty-Two Level II students arrived late August to Newfoundland from Brazil to take part in the homestay program in the Trinity, Conception and Placentia Bay areas of the province.
They are currently attending school at Ascension Collegiate, Baccalieu Collegiate, Carbonear Collegiate, Crescent Collegiate and Laval High School until January.
Carbonear resident Christine Power is the coordinator for the region, and has also taken in students for many years because of her passion for the program.
The students meet one a month to celebrate and connect with each other. It also allowed host families to talk about their experiences.
Brazil does not celebrate Halloween, so the October event consisted of a Halloween party and dance for the students, host families and their children.
The students dressed in costumes, were surrounded by traditional décor — including spider webs and ghoulish figurines — and snacked on Halloween treats.
Students get chosen
Traditionally students who are in the program have to pay to take part, resulting in wealthier families having an advantage for their children to take part in the program.
The students from Brazil are quite different. The Brazilian government sponsors underprivileged and lower income students to attend the program in Atlantic Canada, said Power. The students are also selected on academic performance.
“It is an excellent opportunity for these students to take part in something they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to,” Power said. “And the goal is for them to speak and understand English.”
Many of the students at the Halloween party spoke their native language, Portuguese, while spending time with those from Brazil, but would revert to English while speaking with host families.
Growth of the program
“It has gained popularity,” Power said. “There were seven students this time last year, and there are 22 this year.”
There have been several new families join the program this year, and each one was ecstatic when they stopped to chat with Power for a few minutes during the party, many of them saying they will be doing it again.
"We have never lost a (host) family because they did not enjoy (the program)," Power said, "And we have never sent a student home."
Power described the students as well-mannered and well-behaved with a keen interest in learning, while the families exclaimed their want to continue hosting children.
The program is, however, looking for several more host families for the February to June months in the Placentia area for Laval and on the north shore of Trinity Conception for Baccalieu.
The NISEP website includes details on how to become a host family.
"Host families are chosen for their interest in international students and their willingness to include students in daily family life. Not only are they willing to help students experience the Canadian culture, they are interested in learning about the culture of the student's home country as well."
Families that may be interested can contact Christine Power at (709) 596-3659 or 573-1442.