By Adam Brazeau
S,D&G – Local high schools will be sharing their classrooms with international guests this school season. 30 Brazilian students descended upon Cornwall and the surrounding areas to boost their English language skills and gain world experience.
Pictured (left): 17-year-old Larissa Ribeiro Gomes da Cruz (Brazilian student) stands beside her 'homestay mother' Susan Jacob-Laforest and her homestay sister. Larissa arrived in Canada on her birthday – Sat., Sept. 7. She will be attending Russell High School.
The international students are part of the 'Win the World' program, supported by the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, in partnership with the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). The program offers children from underprivileged families enhanced educational opportunities and covers the cost of travel and enrolment fees.
While studying in parts of Cornwall, the counties and even Brockville, the Brazilian students are being welcomed by families into their homes.
"Our communities are very welcoming of international students," said UCDSB marketing coordinator Jayna Hart. "Our homestay families have welcomed them into their homes with open hearts."
The new students, many traveling outside their state for the first time, will be hitting the books at Cornwall Collegiate Vocational School, St. Lawrence Secondary School and Tagwi Secondary School, amongst others.
"Canadian students benefit from having international students in their classes, as the students bring an international perspective to classroom discussions," said Hart. "Students also benefit from learning about new cultures, new languages and in making international connections."
All 30 students will be in the area over the next five months, as Brazil prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Olympic Summer Games in 2016. Once they return home, many of them will be future ambassadors in their communities, when these major sporting events take place.
Hart said community members can welcome students by greeting them with a smile, engaging in conversation and in sharing our wonderful communities with the students.
In 2012, UCDSB had a large group of 42 Colombian students in the area.