LBPSB shares Holiday cheer with international students – Montreal

Foreign students studying in Montreal can find it difficult to be away from home at this time of year. This year, because of the pandemic, many students will stay in the city for the holidays.

But thanks to the Lester B Pearson School Board’s International Youth Program (LBPSB) staff, students will have a little more fun during the holidays. Earlier this week, workers held a Christmas cookie decorating session.

“We really wanted to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere and make them feel as if this was a home away from home,” said Shalini Dowlani, LBPSB International Youth Program manager.

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Fourteen students participated in the evening held at the John Killingbeck international pavilion dormitory in Pointe Claire. Among them was Mahshad Taleb Zadeh, 16, from Iran, who said the operation was not as easy as she thought.

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“I found out that I’m not very creative,” she said, laughing. “But it’s good. I’m not good at art and things like this, but here I’ve experienced a lot of things and I’m going to get better.”

Students come from all over the world and enroll in the program for a minimum of one school year, attending high schools within the board’s jurisdiction. According to Dowlani, last year the hostel had to close due to COVID.

“It’s really great to have students come back to the building and liven up the place,” she laughs.

She said one way to help them integrate is to get them involved in aspects of Canadian culture, such as decorating Christmas cookies, but there are other ways.

“For Halloween, for example, we have pumpkin carvings,” says Taleb Zadeh, pointing to photos on the bulletin board of her dorm and others with carved gourds.

Some students, like Nano Leeteerachot, 16 years old from Thailand, have never done some activities. However, in addition to activities, he has to adapt to other aspects of life in Canada.

“Like how people are open to talking to you about anything,” he said. “I think that’s pretty new to me.”

Learning how to interact with people was his biggest challenge, he said.

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“Because in Thailand, most people live privately and they don’t talk much about things like here,” he said.

Leeteerachot and other students emphasized that the cultural ties and friendships they had formed were the best parts of the experience. LBPSB shares Holiday cheer with international students – Montreal


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