International Students in the ICP

In their own words: International students enrolled in the ICP

Each issue of Global Connections highlights the experiences of international students or educators who visit Ottawa and attend OCDSB schools through OCENET. In this issue the focus is on three international students from Gloucester High School, one who stayed in Ottawa, one who returned home, and one who recently graduated.


Tomona from Japan


An international student from Japan, Tomona has been in Canada for one year. She is in Grade 10 at Bell HS. Tomona became interested in studying in Ottawa because of its cultural diversity; she also likes that her school allows her to choose her courses of study and that Ottawa is a safe place to live. Despite arriving shortly after the Covid lockdown started last year, Tomona has adjusted very well, including enjoying living with her Canadian host family. For the first several months she had to attend all her classes online which made it difficult to make new friends, but since September she has been attending in person classes. She feels that her English language skills have improved immensely and is getting more and more confident with her speaking skills every day. She continues to improve her language level by reading books and watching movies and TV series in English. She says that she has not felt homesick since she keeps regular contact with family and friends. Tomona is also getting involved in school life, and recently served as a presenter in an orientation program for new international students. In the future, she intends to study social sciences at university.

Kaining from China


Kaining is from China and excited to be studying in Canada because of its natural environment and his wish to experience the world from a different perspective. His reasons for wanting to study in Ottawa: “I was fascinated with the history of the city of Ottawa as well as its importance in Canada and around the world.” He was also keen to learn in Ontario’s highly regarded school system since it allows students to choose their own courses tailored to individual interests and academic strengths. The National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature are two of his favourite places to visit in Ottawa. Kaining has found the pandemic a challenge as it severely limited opportunities to make new friends at school. While he liked some of the flexibility that online learning provided, he is now pleased to be attending in school classes. When not completing school homework, he has found that keeping active through running, hiking, and cycling has helped him during Covid, as well as frequent phone calls to family and friends. While the isolation during the lockdown was not always the best, he feels it provided him time alone to think about his goals for the future.

Cindy from Vietnam


In Grade 12 at Gloucester HS, Cindy has been an international student in Ottawa for two years and she will be graduating this year. Her home country is Vietnam, and originally, she intended to come to Canada to study at university, but instead chose to come to Ottawa early to help prepare herself for future university studies in Canada. Cindy decided to stay in Canada throughout the pandemic lockdown early last year and participated in online learning. She found online learning challenging at times, and now is attending in person classes. She finds her teachers very helpful: “My teachers are always available to answer any of my questions after class.” Cindy has made friends at school and consequently she uses English a lot more and her English language skills have improved. She is also very actively involved in school life at Gloucester HS. Cindy is a member of the Key Club, Link Crew, and she is also enrolled in the International Certificate Program (ICP): “I want to have as many experiences as possible throughout my high school time. I find the ICP interesting because I have a chance to know more about other cultures and languages.” Cindy plans to pursue a degree in accounting after graduation this year.

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