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Foreign exchange students living in Bay Roberts discuss N.L. experience

Cheryl Smith (left) has offered her home to both Sofia Garcia (middle) and Emma Vienerius – foreign students looking to experience Newfoundland for a year. The three made presentations to the International Friendship League in Clarke’s Beach.
Cheryl Smith (left) has offered her home to both Sofia Garcia (middle) and Emma Vienerius – foreign students looking to experience Newfoundland for a year. The three made presentations to the International Friendship League in Clarke’s Beach.

CLARKE’S BEACH, NL — Two foreign students from Spain and Germany were invited to take part in an annual World Peace Day celebration.

Canada’s only International Friendship League chapter, based in Clarke’s Beach, got a special presentation from the students, Sofia Garcia, and Emma Vienerius, at the event, held in the Clarke’s Beach town hall.

The Gathering saw the majority of the League’s members present for a belated celebration of World Peace Day, which was on Sept. 21. The group joined together last Wednesday in celebration of worldwide peace and friendship in the town hall, which was adorned with homemade decorations, alongside posters dotted with photos from previous international trips the League has taken to places like Africa and Europe.

Garcia and Vienerius spoke about their homes, why they decided to come and live in Newfoundland, and the major differences they see between the two countries.

Cheryl Smith of Bay Roberts is hosting the two girls.

“I’ve had nine different students living with me over the years,” Smith explained. “Each time is different, but each one has been such a wonderful experience. They learn so much while they’re here, but you also learn so much from them, so it’s really rewarding that way.”

Smith also described some of the difficulties that come with a language barrier, noting that although both Garcia and Vienerius have a firm grasp on the English language, Smith has used Google translate to communicate with students in the past.

Garcia and Vienerius are fans of Newfoundland's education system. In comparing Canadian school structure to that of their home countries of Spain and Germany, both noted the freedom they felt in school here as opposed to home.

“It’s like the teachers really care about you, and what you’re doing, who you are. They don’t just worry about your grades,” Garcia explained. “Of course, they still teach us, and make sure we understand, but it doesn’t feel like they’re just there for their job, they’re there because they want to be, and they want to help you.”

Aspiring to be an educator herself, Garcia said she chose to come to Canada to experience the education system, noting that she felt it was one of the best.

Vienerius, who came from Germany, agreed. She said one of the major differences she’s seen is the emphasis on practical work, rather than theoretical.

“In Germany, it is not like this,” she explained. “We do mostly theory over there. It is a very different system than here, and I feel a lot more freedom to focus on things that I like. When I first came here, I was like, ‘wow.’ I could pick and choose different classes. That was awesome.”

Last Wednesday's event raised $365 for the Anderson Memorial Orphanage in India.

chris.lewis@cbncompass.ca

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