North York Mirror
The maple syrup has been licked, the poutine sampled, the Canadian cookies munched.
The 33 young Beijing, China students on an exchange program with the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) experienced a little taste of Canadian cuisine during the three weeks they will be in the city.
The students, who arrived July 12, were recognized during a ceremony at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, where students were taking classes, Wednesday, July 18.
“This is our pilot project,” said Alex Mazzucco, co-ordinator of cultural education with the TCDSB. “I think it’s a great learning opportunity for everybody.”
Students from Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in Etobicoke will then travel to Beijing in the fall for two weeks, he said.
The Beijing students, who range in age from seven to 13, will take in some cultural sites, such as the CN Tower, the ROM, the Hockey Hall of Fame and Niagara Falls, while working on their English skills, Mazzucco said.
Bao Ning, one of the parent chaperones, said she was enjoying her first time in Toronto.
“I like the city very much,” she said. “It’s a very valuable experience.”
Coco Hou said she didn’t know much about Canada prior to visiting.
“I’m very happy,” the 10-year-old said. “I’m here to learn English.”
Alyson Sobol, a teacher who is assisting the exchange students with their studies here, said the youngsters were eager to see what a North American classroom looked like.
“There is a nice balance between instruction and excursions,” she said. “We are teaching them about Canadian culture. After we go on trips, they describe in English what they saw, how they felt. It’s a great program.”
During the ceremony, students sang songs and played instruments, and a video shot by one of the students of their time in the city was played.
The students have been put up in hotels or with host TCDSB staff during their stay.