International Students in the ICP

In their own words: International Students in the ICP
Posted on 09/01/2023

Most issues of Global Connections highlight the experiences of OCENET international students studying in OCDSB schools or educators participating in one of OCENET’s teacher training programs.

Harris @ Gloucester HS


About to graduate from Grade 12, Harris has been an international student at Gloucester High School since Grade 9. He arrived in Ottawa during Covid and didn’t have many opportunities to get involved in school life apart from online classes, but when pandemic restrictions lifted Harris became very active, joining Link Crew, the International Certificate Program (ICP) and starting an International Friendship Club that meets on Fridays at lunch. Harris began with ESL (Level 3) and now is taking Grade 12 English classes. His level of spoken English has improved greatly and he likes that he has many options among courses to study. He studies approximately 3-4 hours per day. After visiting his family in Vietnam for the first time in 3.5 years this coming summer, Harris will study Bio-Technology at Algonquin College this September.

“I enjoy being at Gloucester High School because it is a multicultural community where I have met a lot of people, made many friends, and formed new connections...”
- Harris, International student from Vietnam

Laura @ Canterbury HS


Laura comes from Hamburg, Germany, and is in her second year as an international student, but this is her first year at an OCDSB high school. She enjoys Ottawa because it is not too large a city, but there is always lots to do. She chose to attend Canterbury HS in order to study Spanish as a course option. For Laura, a few of the biggest differences between high school in Germany and in Ontario include the daily schedule of classes and number of courses. She is impressed by the many school activities available to students here, and she has been involved in Key Club projects and joined the ICP because of her interest in travel and learning about different cultures. She has enjoyed making new friends from all over the world. Following her Grade 12 graduation this June, Laura’s plans include taking a gap year followed by university.

“Being an international students has been one of the best decisions I could have made; it has taught me how to overcome challenges and I have made friends that I know will last a lifetime.”
- Laura, International student from Germany

Emma @ Gloucester HS


An international student in Grade 11, Emma comes from Germany and started at Gloucester High School in Grade 9. She lives with her family who came to Ottawa for an overseas work placement. Emma had some initial challenges because the Covid online classes made it difficult to make new friends, but now she has some close friends. She feels her level of English has improved significantly and that she is more competent with her speaking skills in particular. Emma still does miss some German cuisine. She believes it is important for international students to get involved in school life and she is a member of both the school soccer team as well as an ICP candidate who attends the International Friendship Club meetings at Gloucester. Future plans include attending university in Germany after graduation next year.

“I really like interaction with other people from other countries; it's always interesting.”
- Emma, International student from Germany

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