VSB attracts record number of international students

VSB International Students
VSB International Students get ready for a great year.

As word continues to spread about the opportunities that come from an education with the Vancouver School Board, a growing number of students are travelling from all over the world to enroll in district schools. This year’s international student class was composed of learners from over 28 different countries.

It is a banner year for VSB International Education. During the 2013-2014 school year, the district will host 1,300 international students who will be spread across the district’s elementary, secondary schools and adult education centres. This year’s cohort makes VSB International Education the largest K-12 international program in the country.

“I want to encourage all our new international students to take full advantage of all the supports that VSB offers: their school international student advisor, counselor, teachers, multicultural workers, custodians and host parents,” says Mike Lombardi, Vice-Chair of the Vancouver School Board. “We are all here to help them have a successful and happy year!”

To get new students familiarized with the district’s schools and classrooms, International Education staff held an Orientation at Killarney Secondary on Monday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 27. The day long orientation session included exams and workshops to get new students up to speed. All orientation sessions were led by VSB teachers, counsellors, international program staff and multicultural liaison workers.

These staff members were supported by dozens of returning students (680 VSB international students are returning this year) who provided peer and language support for the new students.

William Park, a Grade 12 student studying at University Hill Secondary, was one of the many international student volunteers who was back at Killarney during the orientation to support newcomers.

Park, who is from Seoul, Korea says he was planning to study in Vancouver for only one year, but he liked it so much that he decided to stay on and now plans to graduate from the VSB. He says the things he likes most about Vancouver schools is that they are clean, safe and a great place to make new friends. 

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What about the specialty programs?

There is a VSB-UBC program called University Transitions, which is intended to take 10 of the brightest students from the Lower Mainland and 10 from the rest of the BC and give them the opportunity to compress five years of high school into two. They can they go into UBC and graduate with a Bachelor's degree at 18.

I attended an info session on the program and was shocked to hear one of the teachers talking about students who go home to Hing Kong and Macau for holidays. I thought it was a program for British Columbians. This is a unique program that only takes 20 students a year. Has it become a cash cow for VSB???