Jeff and Baron are originally from Taiwan and graduated from their Canadian High School in Saanich. They started their Canadian high school education in Grade 9 and graduated with offers from many big schools. Jeff is going to Georgia Tech in the US while Baron will stay in Canada. Baron chose to go to the University of Victoria because that’s where he is more comfortable. After all, that’s where he’s lived for the past years. But it wasn’t always that easy.
Being a new student in a new school is tough. This is especially true in Jeff and Baron’s case because they’re in a whole new environment. Jeff recounts those days. “When I first came here I was so nervous, I didn’t know where to go. I wasn’t outgoing and didn’t speak for the first month so I didn’t have any friends. Then I learned I had to reach out and then I made a lot of friends.” Baron had a similar story. “I couldn’t understand English so I didn’t hand in my homework and sometimes I was late for school because I stayed up late playing video games. Then my Advisor talked with me a lot and supported me and motivated me to do better. I learned to work hard and now I get A’s and B’s.” The two eventually joined the Key Club. And here, they did volunteer work in the school and community. They enjoyed their time in Key Club because of the different projects they were able to be a part of. But it was also an advantage for them when it came to applying for universities. So they were able to add that to their resumes.
Both Jeff and Baron high encourage international students to take a leap of faith and try studying abroad. Additionally, they encourage students to come earlier like they did. Baron says, “I would encourage all the International Students to go to a Canadian high school first before attending any North American university. With four years education in a Canadian secondary school on your transcript or CV, it will not just increase your chances of getting into some outstanding Canadian universities, but will boost your speaking, writing, listening and reading skills to ensure that you will satisfy the advanced literary skills at the university level in order to be successful for the future.”
After high school, the two are getting ready for university life. Jeff chose Georgia Tech because it was one of his top choices for his area of interest. On the other hand, Baron hasn’t decided on his specialization yet. “I haven’t decided what my specialty will be, perhaps Engineering or Medicine or more Science. I also had offers from UBC and SFU but decided on UVic because I can continue with my Homestay and I am used to Victoria.” Despite their different paths, they’ve never regretted their decision to go to a Canadian high school. And with that, here is their final piece of advice for international students: “People are friendly here so don’t be afraid to ask!”
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