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Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools welcome hundreds of international students this fall

Local high schools will have majority of incoming foreign students from 25 countries
Students in the international program can either enroll for 5 months, 1 year, and long-term until graduation. (Maple Ridge - Pitt Meadows International Program Facebook/Special to The News)

School District 42 is celebrating more than a quarter-century of educating international students as part of their international program, which resumes this September.

Tricia McCuaig, president of the international program, said the school district is expecting 581 students from 25 different countries to enroll in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows schools this fall.

RELATED: International students in Canada struggling with COVID, inflation

However, some students have already arrived in the community as part of the pre-academic summer program and are currently getting to better know Canada and Ridge Meadows.

“Our pre-academic program starts in mid-August and offers students the opportunity to arrive early and settle in with host families and the community,” said McCuaig.

“Students learn and practise English and can see a little of what the lower mainland has to offer. This allows them to adjust to Canadian culture and to the classroom learning experience.”

As part of the program, students are placed with host families that house and care for them while they’re in the district studying.

“Connections between students and host families can last a lifetime,” said superintendent of schools for School District 43, Patricia Gartland.

While some school districts in the province are struggling to find enough host families for their international students, School District 42 is not facing that issue.

“We are fortunate to be in a position where all students have been accommodated with homestay placements,” said McCuaig. “However, we are always happy to welcome great new hosting families to the program.”

RELATED: Maple Ridge secondary student wins $110,000 scholarship

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About the Author: Brandon Tucker

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