It is that time of year again, students embark on a new journey and school year. The backpacks are packed with laptops,books and pens. Students are excited for new experiences. This year Vancouver and the province of BC have welcomed the highest number of international students of all time.
Anyone going through the international arrivals section of the Vancouver airport last weekend would have noticed a peculiar sight: a wall of parents and families holding up name cards.
They were waiting for some of the thousands of international students, most of them in high school, from around the world, here to strengthen their English skills and learn about Canadian culture.
“It’s enjoyable. It’s like having an extension to our kids,” said Lynn Lenaghan, who was at the airport with her husband, Terry, to pick up a Grade 12 student from Italy who will be living with them for the next six months.
This will be the couple’s 15th year hosting high school kids in their home.
“We started doing it years ago when our kids were young, just for the cultural experience,” Lynn said.
According to the B.C. Ministry of Education, the number of international kindergarten to Grade 12 students coming into the province has grown by 50 per cent in the past five years, with about 20,000 of them pouring into public and private schools last year.