Jose Andre’s from Mexico and Kevin from China are enjoying their grade 8 year at Bayside Middle School in Saanich. Both boys appreciate the differences between their schools back home and what they are experiencing at Bayside. “School is simpler here, we only have four blocks a day and the classes are easier. We don’t have to wear uniforms, we can just wear ordinary clothes.” They also like the approach to learning at Bayside. “Our teachers are very nice, they help us a lot and take the time to answer our questions. We go on field trips and sometimes the teachers show movies that help us learn. That is better than listening to the teacher all the time. There is not so much homework here and it is more interesting. We do projects like biographies or posters so it is more enjoyable.”
Life outside of school is also easier in Saanich. Jose likes his homestay but Kevin lives with his mother who has also come to Canada. “My homestay family is really nice, we have a dog and I have two “brothers” to talk with. My family never says what I can’t do, they just want me to tell them what I am doing.” (Jose) “People are really kind here, when my mother goes shopping, people help her with the money and how to buy things.” (Kevin) Both boys feel very safe when they go out. “Security is good here, I can take a bus at any time and people will always help you if you don’t know where to go.” (Jose) “Back home you always have to be careful on the subway that someone will steal your money, but it’s not like that here in Canada.” (Kevin) The fresh, clean environment is also an advantage of living in Saanich.
“The weather here is not how other people think. It is not that cold, it is nice all day, as we get closer to Christmas it is getting cooler but most of the time it is quite warm here. I like to see the blue sky. People recycle here so there is not so much pollution.” (Jose) “The environment is very good here. In China there is always a haze from so many cars and all the pollution. But here I can see the stars at night. Also in China the summer and winter are too long and not very comfortable. The four seasons are better here.” (Kevin)
Jose will spend the entire 2013-14 school year at Bayside before returning to Mexico, but Kevin plans to stay for another four years to complete high school graduation in Saanich.
To see a short video of Jose and Kevin speaking about life in Saanich, go to our homepage.