Thousands of international students gathered in Canadian cities to celebrate World Student Day on Friday, July 7. The event was established by Languages Canada — the national association that represents over 210 English and French Language schools across the country.
Annually, World Student Day celebrations take place in locations across the country as a way to recognize the value of international students to Canada’s education system, culture, and economy. This year’s events were held in 14 locations, including Calgary, Cape Breton, Charlottetown, Halifax, London, Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, and Winnipeg.
In an exclusive interview with Canada Study News, Gonzalo Peralta, Executive Director of Languages Canada, spoke about the purpose and intention behind World Student Day.
“We started the event four years ago, and, as of this year 8,000 people across the country observed World Student Day. The event is growing and becoming more popular every year. It’s a great moment to celebrate, have fun, and thank international students who willingly choose Canada.
“This year’s biggest event was held at the University of Toronto, which is where I attended and met with many different students. There were approximately 3,000 students at the Toronto location. The students love it. They get to meet each other and connect with people all over the world beyond their school and program. It’s a great way for the students to kick off their summer,” added Peralta.
Various private and public member organizations, as well as language programs, hosted World Student Day activities this year. Guard.me, an international student insurance provider, held Brazilian capoeira lessons at the Toronto location. In Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Immigration Minster, Lena Diab, attended the event and addressed international language students who are attending English or French language programs in the Atlantic province.
When asked about the future of World Student Day, Mr Peralta said, “We will definitely continue hosting the same event. We have more organizations, stakeholders, sponsors, and government officials that want to become involved.
Students from different countries — Korea, China, Brazil, Mexico, France — they are all out there. People talk to some of these students and find out the real human stories behind their experiences instead of them being only numbers. World Student Day affords everybody the opportunity to make that personal connection and talk to students, such as program directors, activities coordinators, and home stay coordinators to say the least.”
Recent statistics from Languages Canada show that around 40 percent of all international students attending language programs intend to continue with post-secondary studies in Canada. Events like World Student Day may offer stakeholders an opportunity to better understand the needs of international students by socializing and connecting with them on an individual basis.
“In my time working with international students in Canada, one thing that I am constantly reminded of is how much these students appreciate Canada and all the opportunities they have here,” said Attorney Kara Crudo, who works with the Campbell Cohen Immigration law firm.
For Ms Crudo, “World Student Day was an opportunity for schools, local politicians, advocates, and others to return the favour and tell students that they have an important role here. It was a pleasure to meet students from diverse cultures and backgrounds, all celebrating Canada.”
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