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PROFILE: International academy teaches students more than a second language

In 2011, Bui’s parents wanted her to graduate high school and attend a post-secondary school in Canada. Her path to the Peel District School Board and Clarkson Secondary School was guided with the help of a relative, Bui’s aunt who lives in Mississauga. Bui is now in grade 12 at Clarkson and has enjoyed every minute of her time in Canada.

“The opportunity to study in an intimate environment makes it easier for students to be successful,” says Bui. “In Vietnam, 40 students is the typical class size and teachers are inaccessible to provide help to students. In Peel, teachers are passionate and care about students' learning, which breeds confidence to be successful.”

Next year, Bui is looking to apply to universities that specialize in life and health sciences, like the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM), to eventually achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. “Students need to have goals in place, ask questions if they are unsure and meet new friends,” she says, referring to when students come to a new country for the first time.

Bui also credits a six-week program at UTM that reinforced her passion for the medical field. On Saturday mornings, students volunteer and learn more about science and the field of health science. The program provided Bui with a chance to improve her leadership and teamwork skills, and an opportunity to meet fellow students from Mississauga. After the six-week program, Bui will share her knowledge and passion for science with local middle school students.

The Peel District School Board has been welcoming international students for more than nine years. The Peel Academy for International Students was established to enhance the level of support available to international students studying in the Greater Toronto Area. The Peel board has established partnerships with University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning to introduce students to the options available after high school and ensure motivated international students are prepared for post-secondary studies and success. International students are provided orientation and peer-mentoring programs designed to introduce and integrate them with their Canadian peers. Also, English language programs are custom-designed to help motivated international students acquire academic-level English.

International students are accommodated at Applewood Heights, Clarkson and Harold M. Brathwaite secondary schools. For more information about the Peel Academy for International Students, visit www.studyincanada-peel.ca.

Natalie Bui
"Teachers at Clarkson Secondary School have provided me with what I need to do to be successful in life. The staff provide advice to ensure I achieve my goals."