Jeff and Baron from Taiwan are so proud of themselves for completing their high school graduation programs in Saanich. “We have been here for four years, starting with grade nine. It was very hard at first but now we are glad we came.” Both students achieved University Entrance Graduation and received offers from several big schools. Jeff has decided on Georgia Tech in the U.S. where he will study Bio-Medical Engineering.
“I had many offers and narrowed it down to three or four but chose Georgia Tech as it is one of the top two in my interest area.” Baron will stay inVictoriato study Computer Science at UVic to start with. “I haven’t decided what my specialty will be, perhaps Engineering or Medicine or more Science. I also had offers from UBC and SFU but decided on UVic because I can continue with my Homestay and I am used to Victoria.
Jeff and Baron are glad they came to Saanich and would recommend the International Student Program to other students who are interested in studying inNorth America.“It is expensive to come here but it is worth it if the student works hard and tries to be part of the school. You will learn more about different cultures and this is important if you are going to stay.” (Jeff) “I would encourage all the International Students to go to a Canadian high school first before attending any North American university. With four years education in a Canadian secondary school on your transcript or CV, it will not just increase your chances of getting into some outstanding Canadian universities, but will boost your speaking, writing, listening and reading skills to ensure that you will satisfy the advanced literary skills at the university level in order to be successful for the future.” (Baron)
Both boys found school in Saanich so much different than inTaiwan. The style of teaching and learning is more student-friendly and the semester system makes it easier to focus on the four courses you are taking at any one time. “There is less pressure, you still have required courses, but you also get to choose the ones you are good at and like, so it is easier here.” (Jeff) “Classes are more hands-on. For instance, in Science we have lots of labs and other activities. InTaiwan, we have fewer presentations and group work compared to Canadian high schools, just endless homework, intense studying and rigid tests.” (Baron)
Because they are interested in careers in Science, Jeff and Baron chose senior Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology courses in grade 11 and 12 to prepare themselves for University entrance.
They also got involved in school activities and that helped them make friends and improve their everyday English. “When I first came here I was so nervous, I didn’t know where to go. I wasn’t outgoing and didn’t speak for the first month so I didn’t have any friends. Then learned I had to reach out and then I made a lot of friends.” (Jeff) “I couldn’t understand English so I didn’t hand in my homework and sometimes I was late for school because I stayed up late playing video games. Then my Advisor talked with me a lot and supported me and motivated me to do better. I learned to work hard and now I get A’s and B’s.” (Baron) “We joined the Key Club which does voluntary work in the school and the community. We really enjoyed helping out and working with teachers and students on interesting projects. It was also a good thing to have on our resumes when we applied for university.” Looking back on their experience in Saanich, Jeff and Baron have some good advice for future International Students.
“Study hard, don’t skip school, ask the teachers for help, ask anyone for help. People are friendly here so don’t be afraid to ask!” Congratulations to all thirty-one International Students who graduated from Saanich High Schools in June, 2012.