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Learn more about International Education Program at VSB

About the Vancouver School Board and its International Education Program

The Vancouver School Board’s International Education Program allows international students to study at a local school (elementary and secondary) or to graduate from a Canadian school with a Grade 12 diploma. 

Vancouver School Board Logo

The Vancouver School Board is one of the largest school districts in western Canada:

There are 18 secondary schools and 90 elementary schools equipped with modern computer technology and innovative programs, enrolling 48000 students in kindergarten to grade 12 programs.  Among these students, 1300 are international students coming from over 35 countries.

All Vancouver schools offer English language support with the following semester systems:

  • Secondary schools (Grades 8-12) follow a semester system with entry points in September and February.  
  • Elementary schools (Grades K-7) are all linear, with September as the entry point.  

2 adult high schools in the Vancouver School District provide students, who are generally aged 18 or above, with courses from the literacy level to secondary school completion. Often, students attend adult high school after their grade 12 year when they still have a few courses to complete or want to improve their marks to prepare for post-secondary.

Credentials earned in the Vancouver School District are recognized worldwide.  Upon graduation, international students continue their education at universities or colleges in North America, while others pursue their studies and careers in their home countries. 

About Vancouver School Board Schools

Here are some facts about many Vancouver schools.

  • The academic year begins in early September and ends in late June.  
  • Each school has a library resource centre, modern computer labs, a gymnasium, a cafeteria for lunches, and a school nurse. 
  • These schools also provide counsellors to assist all students in course planning, university, and college applications, study skills, and personal problems. 

Each school offers a variety of extra-curricular activities and clubs, which helps many students improve their language skills in a friendly environment. Some activities include the following:

  1. Drama 
  2. Orchestra
  3. Robotics
  4. Yearbook 
  5. Mathematics 
  6. Soccer
  7. Volleyball 
  8. Basketball
  9. Table tennis
  10. Track and field

Academic Programs

Vancouver schools offer international students a culturally rich cross-section of students, instructors and counsellors who contribute to the high quality of education in the schools.  The Vancouver School District boasts a proud history of helping English language learners acquire English language skills successfully. 

Students can enroll in a wide variety of excellent academic, fine arts, business, language, and computer studies programs, offering many excellent elective programs in the following: 

  • Art
  • Dance
  • Film
  • Drama
  • Band
  • Choir
  • Musicals
  • Orchestra
  • Information Technology (visual and graphic arts, CAD design, and robotics)

Some of the listed examples above are only a few popular academic, fine arts, business, and language and computer programs that are offered. Other elective programs are also provided to students, such as biology, anatomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and more.

Sports and fitness are popular elective programs among Vancouver students.  Languages which students can take as credits toward graduation include the following examples:

  • French
  • Spanish
  • Japanese
  • Mandarin 

Students with proficient academic achievement may study Advanced Placement courses in calculus, computer studies, literature, history, and sciences at some schools.

High School Clubs and Activities

Many schools have Clubs Day in September.  At Clubs Day, students can meet with club members and ask questions before deciding on which clubs to join.  Students can also ask their advisors about how to join a school club, improve language skills, have fun and make new friends.  Examples of some of the clubs include: 

  1. Photography Club
  2. Environmental club Community volunteer
  3. Ski/snowboard club
  4. Jazz band 

Vancouver secondary schools offer students the opportunity to take part in recreational and competitive sports teams.  Recreational sports are for students who want to play sports within their school in a less competitive environment.  These sports are offered during lunch hours or the school day, such as:

  • Tennis
  • Field Hockey
  • Badminton
  • And more

Competitive sports are for students to join a team of students of their age in their schools to compete with teams from other schools.  These sports involve a significant time commitment, and the teams travel after school and on weekends, which include: 

  • Basketball
  • Track and Field
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • And more 

Support for International Students

International students get support from dedicated teachers, staff, counselors, senior students, and the International Education Program staff who work together to help students gain a positive and successful educational experience.  An international student counsellor and contact teacher within each secondary school provide ongoing support for the student’s well-being and academic performance. 

A district orientation and a school base orientation for new students are scheduled a week before the program commencement.

Many Field trips are provided for students to enhance their learning experience and facilitate friendship-building among international students., Students will be able to participate in and visit these fun events and locations:

  1. Vancouver’s Playlands Halloween Fright Night
  2. Vancouver Islands
  3. Grouse Mountain
  4. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  5. Pro sports games such as Vancouver Canucks, NHL hockey, and Vancouver Whitecaps MLS Soccer

Students from grades 10-12 are invited to an annual Post-Secondary Information Day arranged by the International Education Program. Canadian colleges and universities, such as the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, University of Victoria, Langara College, and others, present their international student programs.

Outstanding international students with good academic achievement and contributions to the community are eligible for scholarships sponsored by the Vancouver School Board. 

If you want to learn more about the Vancouver School Board?

Vancouver’s Mini School for Advanced Students

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Source: Vancouver School Board official website, VSB international education

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