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    Covid-19 and International Students

    We have all been stretched and challenged lately. Not only with Covid-19
    but with all the adjustments we have had to make for all students to continue to receive a quality education.

    As we begin 2021, we need to evaluate how well we are supporting our international students and explore what we can do better.

    Our international students and their families have had to adjust and make difficult decisions whether they would continue their studies in Canada. Some have made the difficult decision to return home while others remained. Those who remain are not only dealing with the challenges of studying and living in Canada but are dealing with the stress of not being able to see their families and the uncertainty of when they can go home. Our experienced and competent International Student Program staff are doing an excellent job of supporting our students; however, this job has its stresses, and it is incumbent upon us to be very intentional about acknowledging their unique struggles.

    This is not only a good time to reassess our policies regarding enrolment and homestay but also ensure that these policies align with the mission and vision of your school. One of the key areas that is worth exploring is: how your school’s Homestay program guideline aligns with your vision and mission. Are you ensuring that host families are supportive of the school and are providing a nurturing and caring environment? Our students are at a vulnerable time in their lives and it is important they receive the care and nurture needed to thrive.

    Are we also recognizing the diversity of cultures represented within our school body? Are we being sensitive to the cultural differences? As school leaders it is important that teachers and staff are encouraged to be mindful of the diversity of perspectives that may be in their classrooms and that they find creative ways for students to share their thoughts and experiences.

    As we continue into 2021 let us move ahead knowing that God is in control, that He knows the outcome of the events happening in our world and that ultimately His perfect redemptive plan for His people is being accomplished. My prayer is that every aspect of our programs will reflect that we are serving a God who has all things in His control.

    Marlene Bylenga
    Interim International Student Program Coordinator