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Experience Academic Life in Burnaby

About Burnaby

Located in the heart of Metro Vancouver, Burnaby is the third-largest city in British Columbia by population (after Vancouver and Surrey), and currently has around 250,000 residents. Although not as popular or well-known as Vancouver, Burnaby has some impressive feats to boast about. For one, it’s home to B.C.’s largest shopping mall, Metropolis at Metrotown. There, you can find a wide selection of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and services. Burnaby’s ratio of parkland to residents is also one of the highest in North America. Approximately 25 percent of Burnaby’s land is made up of parks and open spaces. With state-of-the-art transit systems, world-class universities, top technology and gaming companies, and expressive performances all located right in the city, Burnaby draws in both a unique and diverse crowd. 

Burnaby School District 41

As the fourth largest school district in British Columbia, the Burnaby School District (SD41) is home to 41 elementary and eight secondary schools, where they provide world-class education to over 25,000 domestic and international students. 4,000 dedicated employees, including district members, school teachers, principals, librarians, and staff members are tasked with ensuring and helping improve student achievement in all areas of academic life. The School District also offers Experience Programs for international students. These programs focus on learning Canadian culture, improving language skills, and providing elective courses for 5-month and 10-month terms. 

Academic Programs 

In addition to excellent academic courses, Burnaby’s schools offer a wide variety of innovative and high-quality programs. These include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP)
    • Calculus, Statistics, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Psychology, Music Theory, Chinese Language and Culture, etc.
  • Visual and Performing Arts
    • Arts: 2D and 3D visual art, fabric arts, television production, photography, photojournalism, desktop publishing, etc.
    • Music: Orchestra, concert choir, vocal jazz, music composition, etc.
    • Drama: Dance, technical theatre, directing and scriptwriting, acting for television and film, etc.
  • French Immersion
    • Enter in either kindergarten or Grade 6
    • Follows B.C. curriculum while classes are taught in French
    • Students receive a bilingual designation on a secondary school diploma
  • Athletics and Sports Academies
    • Ice Hockey 
    • Soccer 
    • Volleyball
  • School Clubs
    • Examples include (but are not limited to) Japanese Culture club, lego club, UNICEF club, eSports club, photography club, chess club, debate club, STEM club, career club, etc.

International students can also join clubs and volunteer in their local communities to gain leadership experience. Participating in academic workshops and school events is also recommended, as they can add to the educational experience in Canada. 

Students who are considering applying to postsecondary institutions/programs in Canada, North America or other countries should obtain the British Columbia graduation diploma. 

Experience Programs

The Burnaby School District’s Experience Programs help international students integrate into regular Burnaby classrooms while providing unforgettable experiences. 

5-Month & 10-Month Programs

In high school, students take up to eight classes in an academic year. However, international students who are here to study for the short-term can instead opt for the 5-Month or 10-Month Program alongside local Canadian students. For the 10-Month Program, students will be enrolled from September to June, while for the 5-Month Program, students will be enrolled from February to June. 

English Language Training Program

Students who are looking to improve their English language skills (speaking, listening, writing, etc.) can join an English language training program. During orientation week, students will be assessed, so that they can be placed at the appropriate level for training. The assessment will also determine whether students can take a combination of English (ELL) and regular classes. 

School Clubs & Extracurricular Activities

International students of all ages are strongly encouraged to join clubs and extracurricular activities. This way, they can make plenty of friends and practice their English language skills while having fun at the same time. At the elementary level, students can join clubs that focus on hobbies, friends, food, and so on, while secondary level students can join clubs that focus on academics, passions, sports, and more. Clubs are typically free to join and are always sponsored and monitored by a staff member. 

Schools in Burnaby

International students can study at one of the eight secondary schools or 41 elementary schools in Burnaby. 

Secondary schools’ courses include:

  • Business Education
  • English/ELL
  • Leadership
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Home Economics
  • Physical Education
  • Sciences
  • Technology Education
  • Visual & Performing Arts
  • Career Preparation

Secondary schools’ facilities include: 

  • Cafeteria with a large selection of food
  • Computer labs
  • Art studios
  • Dance studio
  • Weight/exercise room
  • Home Economics lab
  • Library 
  • Sports fields
  • School store
  • Science labs
  • Gymnasium
  • Music rooms

*Courses and facilities in elementary schools typically vary. 

Why study in Burnaby?

Burnaby has it all: excellent schools, competitive academic programs and opportunities, modern facilities, and a vibrant community, all located within a city surrounded by green spaces, modern shopping malls, safe residential neighbourhoods, and state-of-the-art public transit. Most of all, the Burnaby School District is the proud winner of the 2016 ST Star High School Award and the 2017 ST Star High School Award. They were also shortlisted for the ST High School Chains & Groups Award in both 2018 and 2019. In short, Burnaby is a leading public school district and a great place to learn about Canada. 

If you want to learn more about Burnaby School District 41?


Burnaby School District Summer Session for Secondary Students

Burnaby School District Summer Session for Elementary Students

Source: Study in Burnaby, Canada

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