Student Exchange Opportunities at LCSD

For a number of years, schools within Lakeland Catholic School District have been involved with a Student Exchange program. There are several educational, personal and long-term advantages to this highly enriching learning opportunity.

International learning and knowledge empowers students to be more accepting and understanding of different cultural perspectives. Students participating in this program acquire greater fluency in a second language through practical immersion. After completing the exchange, students will have deepened analytical and problem-solving skills.

During the first semester of this school year, École Notre Dame High School hosted three students. There was one student from Spain, Mireia Rodriguez and two students from France, Ellyn Robert and Capucine Hardy. The program these students participated in was a nine to eleven-week exchange from mid-August to November 2017.

Vice principal Jeff Cey said, “Ellyn, Capucine and Mireia were such a joy to host at École Notre Dame High School. They had the opportunity to be exposed to our Canadian and Bonnyville culture and they made a lot of new friends. Their fluency in English improved significantly after three months. Our students and staff really enjoyed having them with us.”

The students from Bonnyville will live with their European families from February to April 2018. The students who will be participating are Amelya Layne, Jacelyn Antoniuk and Kristen Antoniuk. All of the students are looking forward to reuniting with their exchange student and meeting their family. This is such an exciting learning opportunity for all of them to look forward to.

École Notre Dame High School is working with OSEF (Organisme de Séjours Educatifs Francophones) Student Exchange. This is a Belgian association that was founded in 1994 by Christine Lenfant. The organization promotes linguistic and cultural exchanges between France, Belgium and Spain and all Canadian provinces.

Interested families might be curious about how the matching process works. Finding the right partner is important. OSEF screens families to select and match appropriate exchange partners based on personality, lifestyle and

Sarah Teixeira, currently a grade eleven student at École Notre Dame High School participated in the program last year. Sarah’s mom Susy said, “the organization did a great job in matching our families.” Their exchange student Celia Fontan was a grade eleven student from France. Sarah loved going to France and attending school there. “She also had the opportunity to travel with Celia’s family to London England. The girls have established a lifelong friendship through this program and they both learned so much,” said Susy.

Several families have expressed an interest in having their child participate in the Summer Exchange program, which Sarah Teixeira and Celia
takes place in July and August. The Canadian students will Fontan live with their European families in July and host their exchange partners in August. Applications for this program will be accepted until April 1, 2018.

Obtaining international experience and global competence makes students more employable and it enhances everything in their learning and work environments now and in the future. Some of the many benefits resulting from this program include improved grades, more interest in global cultures, and motivation to work harder and
learn more.