Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen welcomed the 10 students from the State of Pernambuco who are attending Red Deer Public Schools (Hunting Hills High School and Lindsay Thurber High School) under a scholarship program known as ‘Win the World – Ganhe o Mundo’.
The Win the World program follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed in Rio de Janeiro between the State of Pernambuco, Brazil and the Canadian Bureau for International Education during the Governor General’s visit to Brazil in April 2012.
The Secretary of Education of Pernambuco opened up the process for public tender to educational agencies in Brazil who work with high school programs abroad and who are able to provide logistical services such as plane tickets, visas and support.
This program arose from a desire on the part of the local government to improve foreign language studies in its public high schools. There are 410 high school students attending the fall semester in high schools across Canada to learn English.
“You are the brave ambassadors who have taken on the challenge of not only learning another language in a different country, but also bringing those skills and connections back to Brazil to share with your families and your friends,” said Dreeshen. “The people to people links we create are truly the glue that binds countries together.”
Ingrid Neri de Arruda from Recife, Brazil is one of the new Grade 11 students at Lindsay Thurber for this past semester. She arrived in Canada on Sept. 20 and will return home on Feb. 5.
“While I am in Canada I want to learn English and culture and have fun.”
While attending Lindsay Thurber Ingrid has taken core classes such as sciences, social studies, math and English. If she passes the courses here, her credits can be put towards her education back in Brazil.
Similarly, more students back in Brazil are lining up to come to Canada to enhance their educations. “Brazilian students, with the university programs that they have lined up, they are anxious to come to Canada to learn their English skills and their French skills,” said Dreeshen.
Brazil is preparing to host the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Foreign language skills, particularly English, are a vital priority for increasing international commerce as well as receiving tourists for these events.
Overall, 1,000 students were selected from 20,000 to go abroad to Canada, the United States and New Zealand. These were all students in the public school system who could not afford to study English abroad. The selection process was conducted independently and neither the Consulate nor the Canadian provinces were involved.
The majority of the Brazilian students who came to Canada are studying in B.C.; however, the students are spread out across the country in all provinces except for Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
All of the provinces of Canada are now aware that there are Brazilian students studying in their respective provinces and a few have asked for more information on how to become involved in the selection process for the next year.
In addition to these scholarship students, Red Deer Public Schools currently has over 50 international students from Mexico, Venezuela, Honduras, Vietnam, China, Japan, Germany, Finland and Austria.
Red Deer Public Schools has operated an International Student Program for the past 10 years.