The Denis family at Kleanza Creek. They have decided to be a homestay family for the program. (Northwest Community College photo)

College to host 20 Mexican students this fall

An exchange program with the Northwest Community College will help Mexican students learn English

International students from Mexico looking to improve their English language skills are immersing themselves in Prince Rupert and Terrace for one month.

Residents of Prince Rupert and Terrace have the opportunity to bring the world to their front doors thanks to an innovative international education program at Northwest Community College (NWCC).

This fall, a group of students are visiting from Mexico as part of the country’s Proyecta 10,000 (Project 10,000) scholarship program, which sends 10,000 students abroad to improve their English. Twenty Mexican students are coming to NWCC for a four-week study program in October.

“International students on our campuses enrich the classroom environment and additional students will allow NWCC to offer new courses and subjects,” said Derek Lemieux, Director of International for NWCC. “For local students this means wider course selection and opportunity for evening and summer classes. Our communities benefit through increased engagement and small businesses see increased economic activity stemming from having more students in the community.”

The Canadian economy is boosted $8 billion annually from international student expenditures including tuition and living expenses according to the Canadian Bureau for International Education.

More than 96,000 international students choose British Columbia as their study destination each year.

With this influx of students, NWCC has partnered with the Canada Homestay Network to identify local families interested in hosting students. Hosts receive 24-hour per day assistance and an allowance to offset expenses. But hosts also add a valuable dimension to the students’ Canadian study experience, says Jennifer Wilson, Managing Director of CHN.

“The quality of the Canadian education system is the backbone of international education in this country,” Wilson said.

Homestay hosts offer students more than just room and board. Engaged, active families help students learn English by including them in their discussions, activities and excursions, and introduce them to the community and Canadian culture.

“We chose to become a homestay family because we felt we could provide a supportive and adventurous environment for an international student to learn and grow,” said Bruce Denis who lives in Terrace and works at NWCC. “We also felt that our kids would benefit from welcoming a foreign student into our family and learn about their culture. We are so excited to show off the amazing experience that Terrace and NWCC have to offer.”

The process to become a host family involves submitting an application, which is typically followed by a phone call or home visit. Families are also required to have a criminal record check.

For more information about the homestay host experience call 1-877-441-4443 ext. 2118. To apply to host, visit: www.whyihost.ca/princerupert.

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