On Monday, November 27, Golden Secondary welcomed 30 students from Moga, India for a special two week program.
The school held a special assembly that was attended by Mayor Ron Oszust, Baljit Rana from the Sikh community, AQG Canada president Gaurauv Kisan, and advisor for AQG Canada Shreya Kisan who came here from the UK.
The assembly was an opportunity for the different speakers to share their thoughts of the opportunity the students would be receiving. Oszust and Rana both spoke on the history of Indo-Canadians in the community and their contributions.
Plans for bringing the students to Canada began back in June of 2017. Things came together quickly because of the hard work of AQG and the Canadian High Commission in India.
Gaurav said that the Canadian High Commission has been tremendously good partners with AQG in helping make this possible.
Duncan MacLeod, International Education Manager in the Rocky Mountain school district, said this program is a landmark program, creating a short term study abroad program for students to experience a different culture.
“I think it’s exceptional, the type of program we’re trying to do,” McLeod said.
McLeod said that there are usually 25-30 international students at the school at any given time. However, these students are in their regular programs and are here to study anywhere from three to ten months, sometimes three years, while they go to school. These students live in homestays of the many volunteers in the community whereas the students from India will stay in a local hotel during their time here.
The new short term program is a new initiative the school district is pursuing. The students will be in an adjunct type program where they will be at the school, but not in regular classes. They will go to classes twice a week in the afternoon so they can get a taste of school life in Canada and then will have a specially designed syllabus they will do in the morning.
The other three days of the week is all about experiencing everything Golden has to offer in terms of activities in and around the community.
The Indian students were given buddies from the Golden high school prior to the program starting. The buddies attend classes together in the afternoon. They communicated with each other before coming here and by the time they were introduced in person were already well acquainted.
“I think it makes for a softer landing for the Indian students when they get here,” McLeod said.
McLeod says that for the school district, the program will be prominent in the students’ future and giving them the chance to meet and learn along with kids from India as a tremendous opportunity for them.
“For the Indian kids and for the International program I think its a chance for them to live and learn in one of the best school districts and in one of the best provinces in one of the best countries on the planet.”
Another opportunity is the chance for the students to learn about different cultures.
“Some of the students here have never stepped foot out of the country, so it will be a good opportunity for the kids to learn about Canada and India,” Gaura said.
One of the goals of the program is to encourage the Indian students to return to Canada for their college education.
“We are looking for the Indian students to learn about Canada, understand how things work here because things work differently in India. Then when they come back for college, they’ll integrate better and make good Canadian citizens,” Shreya said.
The students travelled here with two of their teachers Mangala Varma and P.C Sekar. After the two week program they will return home to India.